The beginning of the year is coming, and with it comes New Year's resolutions. I like the premise of starting the season fresh with a new set of goals. So, what should the Yankees' resolutions be? Rather than assign each player their own resolution, I figured I would just assign some to the team as a whole.
For some reason, the Yankees have been hit especially hard by the injury bug over the past two years. The injuries have probably been some bad combination of bad luck, regular wear and tear and old age. This is purely speculation, but poor conditioning could also be to blame in the sense that some players might not be showing up to spring training in shape or working to maintain that during the regular season (Joe Girardi indicated that this was true in his leaked clubhouse speech back in September). With the addition of younger players like Didi Gregorius, the team may be able to stay healthier in 2015 just because they aren't going to be putting so many old veterans on the field each day. The number of injured players on the disabled list should also go down now that Francisco Cervelli is off of the team, since that man was just a magnet to the DL. Some players, such as Mark Teixeira have already stated that they started working out early in the offseason to try and stay healthier during the season. While it's unrealistic to hope that the entire team stays healthy all season, just think of how good last year's original rotation could have been if that had been the case. Maybe the team needs to stretch more before games, condition differently, rest the older players more, rest everyone more. Whatever they do, the team's success next season is very dependent on the health of the players and they need to figure out something to do differently to prevent this season from being a repeat of 2014.
The past two seasons have heavily featured the Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter goodbye tours, which may or may not have been a distraction to the team. Jeter's certainly impacted how much playing time he got, as Girardi acknowledged that it was difficult to give him many nights off, and it's obvious that Jeter's presence wasn't helping the lineup. Every away team that the Yankees played had to do some sort of pre-game ceremony which may have been a distraction from pre-game preparations. Then there's the ever-present drama surrounding Alex Rodriguez, the Biogenesis scandal and the long suspension that he earned. Now that the retirement tours are over, and A-Rod is returning, hopefully the team can renew their focus on winning baseball games. A-Rod could continue to be a distraction, but at least they've relegated him to the role of DH well before the season starts, and maybe the drama and fascination surrounding him will die down by the end of spring training.
P.S. Mark Teixeira, if you aren't going to be a very good baseball player anymore (or try to beat the shift, or stay healthy), the least you could do is give us more Foul Territory episodes.
What do you think the Yankees' resolutions should be? Feel free to assign them to individual players as well.