The Yankees are about to embark on the 114th season in franchise history and while the past two seasons have been less than inspiring, there's no better time to be hopeful about what lies ahead. So here goes.
The wrist tendon injury that has plagued Mark Teixeira for the past two seasons is finally behind him. Hitting into the shift won't matter because he can finally put the ball in the seats with regularity again. With a full spring training under his belt, Stephen Drew is ready to perform like the player who had a key role in winning the World Series in 2013. Didi Gregorius will not be intimidated by Derek Jeter's shadow, thanks in part to Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field. Chase Headley will prove that all his career needed was a change in scenery and will pay immediate dividends on the Yankees' investment in him this off-season. The new contract jitters are over for Brian McCann. He's learned that he can't hit the five-run home run and will re-discover a sensible approach at the plate.
After a full year of physical and mental recuperation, Alex Rodriguez has made peace with the demons of his past. He's poised to become the American League's comeback player of the year in 2015. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury will remain healthy and build off of the success they found in 2014. With a stronger heart of the order hitting after them this year they can generate more runs with their speed. Now healthy after successful elbow surgery, Carlos Beltran will mash from both sides of the plate this season and fans will forget about how much money the Yankees are paying him.
The decision to forgo surgery last year will prove to be the right one for Masahiro Tanaka as he anchors the best starting rotation in the AL East. With his knee issues behind him, CC Sabathia is healthy enough to pitch more like the 2012 version of himself than the broken down pitcher we've seen over the past two years. Michael Pineda made a successful comeback last year after two seasons away from the major leagues. If he can lay off the pine tar he will be in the running for the AL Cy Young by season's end. Under the tutelage of Larry Rothschild, Nathan Eovaldi can finally fulfill the potential that his live arm has always had. After paying his dues in the bullpen last year, Adam Warren will reward the Yankees' confidence in him and become a reliable fifth starter. The strength of last year's team was in the bullpen and thanks to the return of Dellin Betances and the arrival of Andrew Miller, nothing about that should change.
This will all add up to 105 wins, an American League pennant and a World Series Championship. Qapla'!