The New York Yankees will begin their season on Tuesday afternoon at home against the Houston Astros. It will be the exact same matchup as was the final game for the Yankees of last season. Masahiro Tanaka vs. Dallas Keuchel ended the Yankees season last October in the wild card playoff game. The Yankees will be looking for some revenge in this one and feel they are better equipped this season to face left handed pitchers.
The Yankees didn't sign any free agents which is something they basically never do. They did make a couple of trades though. They traded for second baseman Starlin Castro from the Cubs and gave up Adam Warren who was a very valuable arm for them last season. They also acquired closer Aroldis Chapman who will sit out the first month of the season after being suspended for an incident that took place in December at his home with his girlfriend. The Yankees will have Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances coming back to be in the back end of the bullpen and then when he comes back they are expected to slide back an inning with him taking over the closer role. Chasen Shreve will fill in as the seventh inning guy until then and then slide back himself when Chapman comes back. The Yankees did have a couple surprises this season with Luis Cessa and Johnny Barbato making the pen and Ivan Nova serving as the long man instead of the fifth starter. CC Sabathia will be the fifth starter even though Nova outpitched him this spring.
The Yankees offense looks pretty good with Teixeria, Beltran and Arod back in the middle of the order. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner once again will be the table setters and expect bigger years from them. Chase Headley, Castro and Didi Gregorius will be at the bottom of the order and that seems to be a pretty good 7-9 in the lineup. Brian McCann had a big year power wise last year and will look to follow that up and maybe not wear out as much in the end of the season. The Yankees bench looks to be better than it has been in years. Aaron Hicks will be the fourth outfielder with Dustin Ackley being the backup first baseman and second baseman. Ronald Torreyes is the utility infielder with Austin Romine as the backup catcher. I would expect the bench to be used quite often this season as they look to rest their veteran players hoping they won't be so worn out at the end of the season.
The Yankees rotation is filled with questions but mainly with them staying healthy and not how good they can be. Tanaka will lead the rotation followed by Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Luis Severino. Sabathia will be the fifth starter for now and Nova will be in the bullpen but ready to step in if need be. Bryan Mitchell also pitched great this spring but was injured in the final weekend of spring training. He broke his toe and will be out at least three months. He was going to be a valuable member of the bullpen.
I am expecting the Yankees to take a hard fought division and the Toronto Blue Jays to be one of the wild card teams. I wouldn't be surprised if it went the other way though. I also think the Cleveland Indians will be a wild card team with that good young pitching. I am picking the Royals in the Central and the Astros in the west with the Rangers being a contender all the way also.