At the end of 2015, PSA writer Kunj Shah offered up some possible New Year’s resolutions for the Yankees in 2016. Although there have been a number of goals suggested for this upcoming year, doing so can often be a fruitless endeavor—as many resolutions usually are anyway. How did the Yankees do with the goals set for 2016?
Mark Teixeira: Stay healthy for a full season.
Well, Tex ended up playing more games in 2016 than 2015; the problem is that he only beat that total by five (116 to 111). He missed a good chunk of June with a tear in his knee and battled aches and pains throughout the season, which really wasn’t that surprising for a 36-year-old.
Teixeira’s performance only made matters worse, as given his 143 OPS+ in 2015, it was reasonable to hope that while there would almost certainly be a dip, he would at least be a league-average hitter when he was on the field. Instead, he played terribly and ended up hitting .204/.292/.362 with a dismal 76 wRC+. Ouch.
Chase Headley: Remember how to throw to first base.
Headley’s offensive numbers have been somewhat frustrating the past few years, but his defense was never really a problem until 2015. A former Gold Glover with the Padres who actually had reason to deserve the honor, Headley inexplicably became a nightmare at the hot corner that year.
While errors are far from the best defensive metric, they do tell the story here. He never had more than 13 errors in a season before 2015, when he committed a staggering 23, and would have had more had it not been for Teixeira’s superlative stretches at first base. Thankfully, Headley did turn it around and went back to his normal awesome self on defense with just 10 errors. Now, if he could just hit a little better...
Alex Rodriguez: Make 2015 A-Rod the 2016 and beyond A-Rod.
Accomplished? Gods, no.
This just makes me sad. A-Rod went from a roaring 33-homer comeback in 2015 to released by mid-August with just six dingers in 65 games and even worse numbers than Teixeira. Baseball is brutal for forty-somethings.
Carlos Beltran: Have offensive positives outweigh defensive negatives.
The nine-time All-Star saved his best performance in pinstripes for last. He was easily the Yankees’ best hitter in the first half, batting .304/.344/.546 with 22 homers in just 99 games. Beltran’s defense was again shaky, but it hardly mattered given that output. He played so well that they were able to flip two months of him to the Rangers for Dillon Tate, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, and two other pitching prospects. There’s a decent chance that none of them pan out, but for a soon-to-be 40-year-old free agent? The Yankees signed up for that in a heartbeat.
Chasen Shreve: Stay on the cliff.
In the first half of 2015, Shreve turned out to be a surprising find who actually had a decent All-Star case. Then his game completely went to hell, and he wasn’t even included on the Yankees’ playoff roster. There was some hope that maybe he was just exhausted in September and some rest would bring him back to form.
That just didn’t happen in 2016, as he rode the Scranton Shuttle and finished the year with a 5.18 ERA and a 5.75 FIP in 33 innings. His Yankees career isn’t over yet, but he is going to have to fight for a bullpen spot in 2017, even without much competition in middle relief.
Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury: Highlight first half from 2015, copy and paste for both halves of 2016.
These disappointing results can be captured simply in a few stat lines:
Gardner (4/6/15-7/12/15): 82 G, .302/.377/.484, .861 OPS, 15 SB
Ellsbury (4/6/15-7/12/15): 42 G, .318/.399/.376, .775 OPS, 14 SB
Gardner (7/17/15-10/2/16): 217 G, .244/.335/.340, .675 OPS, 21 SB
Ellsbury (7/17/15-10/2/16): 217 G, .248/.309/.358, .666 OPS, 27 SB
Welp. The wonder twins at the top of the lineup are far from that.
The Starting Rotation (Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia): Health, length, and consistency.
Tanaka and Sabathia? Yes.
Everyone else? Not even close. I guess Pineda had health in 2016 but definitely not length or consistency. Eovaldi was underwhelming and then blew out his elbow. Severino was such a nightmare that he was demoted to Scranton. It was not a banner year for the Yankees’ rotation, and it is absolutely their Achilles heel heading into 2017.