Sure, the defending World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox, are the favorites to once again win the American League East title come the end of September. It’s no surprise that David Ortiz and company will most likely be in the mix for a second straight run towards the Fall Classic. However, one shouldn’t count out their archrival in the New York Yankees. Although they lost a fantastic talent in Robinson Cano over the offseason, the Bronx Bombers are always in the playoff mix, and there’s no reason to believe that this will change in 2014.
Although the Yankees took the loss in today’s Grapefruit League contest against the Toronto Blue Jays, the middle of the lineup especially showed just how quick they can jump out to an early lead. The Yankees were all over Jays ace R.A. Dickey right from the get-go and forced the knuckleballer out of the game after just three innings. Once the rest of the lineup gets going, the Yankees will undoubtedly be a force in the AL East.
It comes as a complete surprise to me that so many are counting out the Yankees when it comes down to who will be left standing in the very tough AL East after game No. 162 has been played for each team. The front office did a very nice job acquiring some prized players that any major league ball club would love to have on their team. Just because they weren’t able to acquire a star second baseman to take the place of Cano, by no means does it mean the Yankees will not be competitive.
With the departure of Cano to the Seattle Mariners, people find it easy to forget about the big names that have made their way to the Yankees both before and since Cano skipped town.
The addition of Jacoby Ellsbury is a massive acquisition that will help the Yankees on the base paths as well as on defense in center field. Ellsbury will serve as a great compliment to the speedy Brett Gardiner both in the outfield and at the top of the order.
The Yankees also upgraded their situation behind the plate when they signed reliable catching star Brian McCann. It doesn’t end there. McCann will have the pleasure of catching Japanese pitching sensation, Masahiro Tanaka, who the Yankees payed an arm and a leg for to bring the righty to the Bronx.
Moving further, one can’t forget about the acquisition of savvy veteran, Carlos Beltran, a player who believes he can still be one of the most consistent hitters in the game. Do the Yankees still sound like a team that will finish at the bottom of the barrel? Not to my knowledge.
Heading into 2014, the Yankees shouldn’t be taken lightly due to Cano’s departure. They still have the speed, they still possess the firepower and if their pitching shows up, they will be in each and every game they are involved in. There’s a reason why they are one of the most successful franchises in all of sports. No matter how much you think they have gotten worse as a team, you always seem to see them knocking on the door of the playoffs, year after year. The Bronx Bombers are still very much alive and well.