Well folks, you're almost out of time to get your hottest hot take in before the season starts. What do you think?
I think a lot of things.
I think the ovations for Andy, Bernie and Jorge on their respective days might be the most sustained cheering of the season. I think the fact that the front office is going to retire all three numbers in one year, rather than spreading them out a little bit, is a sign that they suspect they need to do something to shore up ticket sales.
I think CC Sabathia will be the first member of the rotation to hit the DL. That's not a wish, but it's a concession to his age and his recent history. I think we'll know by the end of spring training whether or not Masahiro Tanaka is going to be a force in his second season, or whether he'll be visiting Dr. Andrews. If he makes it through spring training, then I'll have legitimate hope that he'll stay injury free. I think the odds of Michael Pineda staying off the DL are slightly south of 1%.
My big prediction:
I think Carlos Beltran will lead the team in RBIs. I think that even faded as far as he has from his glory days, he's the best hitter on this underwhelming offense. I'm betting on him to lead a bunch of Yankee hitters in beating their projections (.259/.321/.434 for Beltran).
He was so obviously hampered by the elbow problem that cost him nearly half of the season. HIs BABIP was a career low .251 even though his LD% was only a few points off of his career mark. His contact rates and chase rates were right in line with his career pace. Because his injury was caused by a specific, unusual play, he's my pick to survive the 2015 Humbler.
Beltran's not been handicapped by a dominant shift like Tex and McCann, and his injuries aren't the signs of systemic breakdown like A-Rod's hips. While critics are sure to point out that 11 of his 15 homers came at Yankee Stadium, it's not like the rest of the AL East is particularly hard on hitters. While I am concerned that he hit homers 3 times more often as a lefty than as a righty, in this era of shifts and specialized relievers, there are very few "complete" hitters in the style I grew up with. I've got to believe someone will step up if the Yankees are going to do well this year, and I'm putting my faith in Beltran.
I think the Yankees are going to claw their way into the playoffs this year with fewer than 90 wins, and then all bets will be off.