Opening Day is unique each year because it represents a time when fans of all 30 MLB teams have the chance to believe this could be their year. That hope fades at different speeds for different teams as the season progresses. Being a Yankee fan spoils everyone, because that hope of competing for a World Series has rarely been taken away anything resembling early in quite some time.
After (finally!) making it back into the playoffs in 2015, the Yankees certainly have a team that is capable of playing October baseball again. A rotation of Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Nathan Eovaldi, and Michael Pineda is good enough to go up against nearly any pitching staff when fully healthy. The bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, and Andrew Miller are as formidable as any bullpen in baseball.
Offensively, the Yankees improved by subtracting Stephen Drew and adding Starlin Castro at second base. Castro has had a tremendous spring training and could be poised for a great year in pinstripes. Didi Gregorius should be more comfortable at shortstop after having already spent a season there. Alex Rodriguez has looked strong in spring, hopefully indicating he has another tremendous season left in him like he did in 2015.
The AL East has no team that cannot be stopped. Toronto has a very dangerous offense, but their rotation is full of question marks. Can the Rays depend on superhuman production from a core of great players in a sea of not-so-great? The Orioles kept Chris Davis, but their rotation depends on production from Ubaldo Jimenez. The Red Sox were an awful team in 2016, and David Price probably can't fix that by himself.
That isn't to say that the Yankees are a perfect team, but there is no reason why they can't win the division. They are, at the very least, as good as their competition. With health on their side, you could probably argue that the Yankees are a team with a relatively high floor. Disaster scenarios seem to only apply if multiple players suffer devastating injuries.
There is a lot to be hopeful about with the Yankees in 2016. They play in a division they can easily win with a team that should be pretty formidable. Severino and Eovaldi, in particular, look like they could be ready to take a big step forward. Prospects from the farm system are finally graduating into big league options, and more should be on the way before long.
Should everything fall into place ideally, there's no reason the Yankees can't win the World Series in 2016. They have the pitching and the offense to do major damage. Keeping players healthy, as usual, will be the biggest concern, but isn't it about time that we didn't have to talk about that for once? It would be some sweet karmic payback for this older, injury-prone team to stay healthy all the way through to the end. Imagine Rob Manfred handing A-Rod the World Series trophy. It could happen! It really could.
Yankee fans rarely have reason not to look forward to the season ahead, but the best case scenario for the team this year is certainly bright. Of course, there is no guarantee that the best case scenario will be the one that comes to be, but it's March and now is the time for hopeful optimism. Looking through those rose colored glasses, everything seems to be just fine.