For the first time since 1990, the New York Yankees will not have a player on the field named Williams, Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, or Posada. We were all very lucky to witness this once-in-a-lifetime dynasty and playoff run. The numbers are astounding, five World Series trophies, 17 playoff appearances in 20 seasons, two sure-fire hall of famers and a hall of fame manager. How will the next era begin? Who will be the next group of core players?
While the Yankees don’t have a core group of young homegrown players on the roster, they do have talent. On the position side, the team can build around Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. All three of them are in their primes and should provide peak value over the next two years. The pitching staff, of course, starts with ace Masahiro Tanaka, as well as Shane Greene, Michael Pineda and Dellin Betances. Unfortunately, they will need to address the holes left at third base, shortstop, right field as well as in the rotation. Another major issue is declining performances and the albatross contracts of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia. This offseason is going to be huge for this team, as they approach a crossroads. Either they need to focus on rebuilding or double-down and continue down the path of big contracts and older players. After missing the postseason for the second year, I’m betting on the latter.
Realistically, we may never see the likes of the "Core Four" and Bernie Williams all come together at one time again. However, they do have some players in the minor leagues that may make solid contributions over the next few seasons. For the first time in awhile, it appears that the organization has a solid, power-hitting outfielder on the way in Aaron Judge. The infield has Eric Jagielo, Rob Refsnyder, and Greg Bird looking like promising options for the Yankees. Luis Severino stormed onto the scene in 2014 and is on the fast track to be a future front-of-the-rotation arm that the team sorely needs. Ty Hensley is finally healthy, and Ian Clarkin is another name to watch as potential middle-of-the-rotation arms. Even as fickle as relievers can be, the Yankees have Jacob Lindgren and Tyler Webb headlining a deep crop of bullpen arms ready to make major league contributions.
The future is cloudy for the first time in many years and to have expectations for another dynasty just isn’t realistic. We all witnessed history during this unprecedented run and as fans we should reflect and be thankful for what we’ve seen, as no other team has given their fan base what this team and its players have. While we may never see the same success again, the Steinbrenners will always keep the Yankees in the playoff hunt. For that we should all be thankful.