Self-reflection and self-improvement can be hard. As my therapist likes to say, “I think we can fix you, but you might cry a bit”. Still, we do it, and every year one exercise in self-reflection is the setting of New Year’s resolutions. What kind of goals do you set for yourself, and since this is a Yankee blog, what kind of goals are the Yankees setting in 2019?
For CC Sabathia, resolve to stay as healthy as possible
I don’t really mean stay healthy in a baseball sense, although that would be wonderful. Baseball injuries, while painful and damaging to on-field performance, don’t usually have the worst long term health implications. Concussions and catastrophe aside, a player might never rebuild his command after Tommy John surgery, but a surgically repaired UCL won’t have a huge impact in life outside baseball.
For Sabathia, a recent patient of heart surgery, that’s not true. There’s nothing more important than long term health, in a real life sense. I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping CC’s recovery is successful and the big man’s heart scare fades away.
For James Paxton, resolve to be the pitcher we know you can be
The best move of Brian Cashman’s offseason so far was trading for James Paxton, who is among the best pitchers in baseball on a per-inning rate. Of course, his biggest drawback has been that he’s never pitched a “full” season, logging a career high in innings pitched in 2018 with 160.1.
If Paxton manages to get that number up to 175-180 innings pitched, while striking out 12 men per 9 innings like he did this year, he’d become pretty much the best pitcher in the American League. While we should all expect a couple missed starts for Big Maple, if they don’t come, he’ll be one of the best trades of Cashman’s career.
For Gary Sanchez, leave 2018 behind you
This past year was a lost one for the Kraken. He was both bad and terribly unlucky at the plate and his defense left a lot to be desired as well. Yet, Gary enjoys the confidence of GM Brian Cashman, and there’s a lot still to like about his pure batted ball performance in 2018.
Sanchez has to keep his sights on 2019. He’ll be the starting catcher and hopefully healthy for the whole year - notice how much that “if” keeps popping up - and he still carries all the potential in the world.
For Dellin Betances, have a contract year
Dellin might be my favorite current Yankee, and if you need to know why, well:
Dellin Betances, 98mph Fastball and 86mph Curveball, Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 8, 2018
Betances regularly does things with a baseball that stretch the limits of physics, and it’s wonderful to watch. He had himself another stellar year in 2018, and is entering his last year of team control. It’s unclear at this point how much the Yankees will want to bring him back as a free agent, but if he puts up a three-win season, it’d be hard for the team to watch him walk.
For Aaron Boone, don’t get in the way
This was my initial thought when the team hired Boone last winter. The Yankees were already a talented club and needed a manager to make the right calls without actively hurting the team. For the most part, I think Boone did that, and I’m not one in the FIUR BOONE camp.
And then the playoffs happened, and we saw Lance Lynn come into a high-leverage situation in relief. That wasn’t even the only bullpen blunder Boone built, in just five postseason games.
Bullpen decisions are hard, and sometimes even the right call doesn’t go your way. Still, moves like bringing in Lance Lynn with the game still in hand fall squarely into the category of “getting in your own way”, and for the Yankees to be successful, they can’t have their manager do that.
For Brian Cashman, resolve to be bold
The Yankees have a talented roster already, and especially on the offensive side will return most of the players that brought 100 wins to the Bronx. Now is the time for the team to make big moves that really raise the ceiling.
Cashman pulled off one such move with the trade for Paxton, and he can do the same with a big free agent signing or two. Manny Machado obviously raises the ceiling by five or six wins. Go do that.
For Michael Kay, please calm down on the radio
I actually think Michael Kay is fine as a play by play guy. He’s not the best in baseball, but he’s not the most objectionable. There is however, a firm distinction between Michael Kay on TV and Michael Kay on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN.
Aside from my general belief that the rise of talk radio as a whole has led to a general disinterest in fact and objectivity, while simultaneously reducing the quality of public discourse, TMKS is usually devoid of good analysis or prudent suggestions for the team to get better. It is the dictionary definition of filler. Very rarely is sports talk radio significantly constructive, but Kay is smart enough and the Yankees have enough resources to make that happen.
What other resolutions should the team and organization set for themselves? What are your resolutions? Let us know in the comments below, and have a happy, healthy New Year!