Some people say that players play for money. Others claim they're in it for glory and fame. Idealists cite pure love of the game. The real truth, though, is that players spend years training, grinding and crisscrossing the country mostly for the short blurbs that pop on on ballpark scoreboards when they reach career milestones. Caitlin Rogers has already covered the staggering heights that Alex Rodriguez is set to reach during the 2016 season, but hes not the only Yankee who could be blurb-worthy at some point during the year. As a team that features several older players filling key roles the Yankees are flush with guys nearing impressive career accomplishments.
Besides being the unofficial all-time leader in kale shakes consumed, Teixeira needs six home runs to reach 400, which would make him the 54th player to manage that. He'd be the fourth switch hitter in the 400 club, joining Hall-of-Famers Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray, and soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones. First basemen are known as great power hitters, but exceptional fielding first basemen, not so much. Teixeira would be the only first baseman with 400 homers and five Gold Gloves and the seventh player to do that at any position, infiltrating a group that includes Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Schmidt, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski and Andre Dawson - all Cooperstown residents.
Neck and neck with Teixeira in the race to 400 is Beltran enters 2016 only eight dingers away. He, too, would be the fourth (or fifth) switch hitter to 400, and he'd also become the fifth player with 400 homers and 300 steals, joining Mays, Dawson, A-Rod and Barry Bonds. Beltran would be the third player born in Puerto Rico to reach 400, along with Carlos Delgado and Juan Gonzalez. With 66 RBI, he'd become the all-time leader from the island in that category.
Beltran is 46 hits short of 2,500, an admirable number for a guy with a 10.2 percent career walk rate. He needs 51 runs scored and 57 RBI to become the 36th player in history with 1,500 of each.
Still shy of his 32nd birthday, McCann is hardly old, so it comes as a surprise what rarefied air he's already in among power hitting catchers. He's currently twelfth on the all-time list for catcher home runs with 216. If he hits 16 this season, he'll pass Gabby Hartnett for eleventh. 24 would crack the top ten and bump Hall-of-Famer Roy Campanella out and 28 would snag the ninth spot over Braves predecessor Javy Lopez. McCann has never hit 30 home runs in a season, but if he somehow does that, he'll tie Jorge Posada for eighth. Incidentally he's already second among lefty-hitting catchers, trailing only the great Yogi Berra.
Gardner needs 32 steals to enter the top five in Yankee history by edging Roy White. Gardner's only spent five seasons as a full-time player, so it's hard to imagine him that high on any list for a club that's been around since 1903, but the Yankees don't exactly have a rich history when it comes to base stealing. Rickey Henderson, who played just four and a half years in pinstripes, is second, and he's not far behind the leader, Derek Jeter.
If CC was an action figure, there'd be a sticker on his box that says "Now with knee brace!" The brace-ified Sabathia will try and reclaim some of his past prowess this season. If he can he stands to level up among some elite company on all-time charts.
At 214, CC needs just one win to claim sole possession of the MLB lead since 2000. With three he'll become the 17th pitcher to win 100 games in a Yankee uniform. He's four wins behind Bartolo Colon for first place among active players, and he's got a good chance of taking that spot over since the Mets figure to use Colon at least partly in relief. Nine wins puts Sabathia 17th all-time for lefties. Ten moves him up 19 spots overall to 70th in history.
95 strikeouts would bump CC up five spots all-time as he'd pass Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Tom Glavine, Chuck Finley and David Cone. 98 K's would get him into sixth place on the Yankee list and scoot him ahead of Mike Mussina and Mel Stottlemyre.