The New Year is upon us, which means that baseball is right around the corner. One of the best things about looking ahead to the 2019 season is the general feeling of hope that comes with it. We have no idea how anything will shake out, but the possibilities are endless. All teams start on an even playing field, and even an Orioles fan has things to be excited about (like that their team isn’t in a 100-game hole...yet).
Before anything has a chance to go wrong, or we hear any new injury updates, let’s consider everything that Yankees fans have to look forward to in 2019:
- Whatever pending move Brian Cashman has up his sleeve. Ninja Cash can always be counted on to pull a shockingly good trade out of nowhere. We already got the James Paxton deal, but he’s sure to surprise us with something else between now and the trade deadline.
- Pitchers and catchers reporting on February 13th. That’s just six weeks away!
- The start of spring training games. The best thing about spring training is that news starts flowing again, and we finally get player updates. The second best thing is that some of these games are televised. After four plus months of no baseball, I will take two innings of watching Jacoby Ellsbury stand in the outfield if that’s all that I can get.
- A healthy Aaron Judge. I know that he came back towards the end of 2018, but those nearly two months without him were brutal. I missed this guy. Fingers crossed that he can stay healthy all year and have another 2017-esque season.
- The reawakening of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Not everyone will agree with this, but the rivalry with Boston was feeling rather stale until 2018. It had been years since the two teams had both been good at the same time, and I think that has a lot to do with it. The thumping the Red Sox dished out in the ALDS, coupled with their World Series win, has made the rivalry feel exciting again. I hope the Yankees destroy them in 2019.
- Our first look at James Paxton in pinstripes. This is the most exciting thing to happen during the offseason so far (the Manny Machado decision still hasn’t been made at the time of this writing). I can’t wait to see Big Maple in action.
- Not having Sonny Gray on the team (probably). It just hasn’t worked out for Gray in the Bronx, and Cashman made it clear that he wants to trade him. Although he hasn’t been moved yet, I think we can all look forward to not seeing him implode every five days.
- A healthy Clint Frazier. What was it with this team and outfield injuries last year? After his spring training concussion, 2018 ended up being a lost year for Red Thunder. The exciting news is that he has resumed baseball activities and should be good to go come spring training. Maybe he’ll even steal the starting job from Brett Gardner.
- A fixed Luis Severino (hopefully). After a brilliant first half of the season, Sevy fell off a cliff after the All-Star break. The Yankees knew he had an issue with tipping pitches, and that should all be straightened out by the time the season starts. Here’s hoping for more consistency this year.
- Full seasons of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. The kids were far better in 2018 than most of us ever could have dreamed. They both even worked their way into the Rookie of the Year discussion. Now they’ll have the chance to play the full year in the bigs (assuming that Andujar doesn’t get traded). They could be even better in 2019.
- A clean slate for Gary Sanchez. It was a rough season for the catcher. He missed several months with a groin injury, and when he was healthy, he played poorly. Sanchez did resemble his former self during the postseason though. Now he has the chance to turn the page on 2018 and have a bounce back performance.
- The Yankees-Red Sox games in London. Because of the time differences, these may not be convenient to watch (or recap) but it’s still exciting that the Yankees will be playing baseball across the pond.
- A new and improved rotation. There weren’t any ace pitchers to be found on the market this offseason. However, the additions of Paxton and J.A. Happ put the Bombers in a better place than they were with Gray/Domingo German/Lance Lynn.
- Didi Gregorius’ eventual return. The news of the shortstop’s Tommy John surgery came as a big surprise. Remember when he got off to a red-hot start last year? It’s really too bad that he is expected to miss so much time. He better do victory tweets from the DL.
15. Dingers. Considering just how many key players spent time on the disabled list last year (Judge, Sanchez, Torres, Gregorius), you have to imagine that the 2018 Yankees could have hit way more home runs if healthy. It’s entirely possible that we’ll see them set a new record in 2019.
16. A wiser Aaron Boone. Now that the Yankees skipper has his first year of managing behind him, we can only hope that he learned a lot, did a lot of reflecting, and won’t repeat past mistakes again.
17. More Masahiro Tanaka Instagram posts (and mistranslations). Tanaka doesn’t post to his social media accounts super often, but there are some real gems in there.
18. Getting back to the playoffs. We can probably anticipate a knock-down, drag-out fight between the Yankees and Red Sox lasting all season long. It’d be fun to see the Bombers take the lead and create a huge gap in the standings, but they might be fighting for a Wild Card spot once again.
19. The Yankees’ next World Series title. Who knows what will happen in October 2019, but it’s fun to daydream about them winning it all.
What are you most looking forward to in 2019? Let us know in the comments.