For the New York Yankees, the 2015 season was successful, yet very frustrating towards the end.
After taking the first AL Wild Card spot, the Yankees had a quick postseason exit, with a 3-0 loss to the upstart Houston Astros.
So what’s next for the Yankees, you might ask? Since there are still some veterans scheduled to return in 2016 (and owed a ton of money), it’s more than likely the roster will stay intact. If you are a fan expecting them to go on another spending spree, it won’t happen but if they follow some key points, there’s a chance they might be able to contend next season.
1. Acquire a starting pitcher
Most experts, if not, all thought the Yankees would go all-in at the trade deadline, considering they were a season-high seven games up in the division on July 28th, but they didn’t. Their biggest need at the deadline was a reliable starting pitcher since there were question marks surrounding their current rotation, but the Yankees decided not to make a move that would require giving up multiple top prospects. Brian Cashman has a chance to redeem himself by opening up the wallet and spending money on an ace to form a 1-2 combination with Masahiro Tanaka. Some free-agent pitchers on the market this offseason to name a few are David Price, Jordan Zimmerman, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija – who the Yankees are likely to pursue this winter, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
2. Acquire a second baseman
Stephen Drew started most of the season, 123 games, at second base but he hit an abysmal .201, with 17 home runs and 44 RBI. That’s not enough production. There’s only two internal options they can go unless they choose to go an external route. The first option is Rob Refsnyder. He performed well in a limited role this season by hitting .302 with two homers in 43 at-bats and can hit for average (career .290 average in the minor leagues), but don’t expect much pop out of his bat over a full season, as he hit just 33 home runs in 433 games in the minors. The second option is Dustin Ackley, who the team acquired at the trade deadline from the Mariners. The 27-year-old former top pick appeared to have found his swing as he hit four home runs with a .288 average in 52 at-bats. Perhaps playing in New York is what Ackley needs to find his true potential. If the Yankees want to look outside, Howie Kendrick, Ben Zobrist, Martin Prado, Chase Utley, Daniel Murphy, and Asdrubal Cabrera will be available in the free agent market.
3. Stay healthy
This one is easier said than done but injuries to Mark Teixeira (shin), Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) and Carlos Beltran (oblique) limited their impact in the lineup. Tanaka (elbow, hamstring) also struggled to stay healthy, missing several key starts down the stretch. Alex Rodriguez had a stellar first half, hitting .278 with 51 RBI, however, he ended the season in a slump batting just .216 in the second half. Getting those guys healthy, along with getting A-Rod’s stamina back, is the key to success in 2016. Additionally, CC Sabathia‘s off-field health will be a priority as he addresses his alcohol addiction in rehab.