(Photo via hngn.com)
The team everyone loves to hate, the New York Yankees, stocked up this 2015-2016 off-season to make another potential run at lucky number 28. This off-season, the Bronx Bombers acquired all-star Starling Castro and flamethrower Aroldis Chapman to fix holes that severely hindered the team last year.
“The Yankees traded for Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman on Monday. He joins Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller to give New York on paper, at least one of the most daunting bullpens in Major League history. With Chapman on board, it’s feasible that the Yankees could become the first team in history to record 600 relief strikeouts.” These were the words by sports writer AJ Cassavell on MLB.com on the 28th of December. Life as a Yankee fan was looking quite promising.
This all ended Wednesday.
After his first pitch thrown to the Atlanta Braves, trusted closer Andrew Miller took a line drive off of his wrist which chipped a bone in his wrist and will put him on the disabled list to start the season. About 30 minutes after this, Bryan Mitchell goes down with a big toe injury. The team already knew Chapman was going to be suspended the first 30 games for forgetting that choking his girlfriend wasn’t allowed.
Should the Yankees and Yankee fans be worried? Well, a little, but not too worried. The Yankees still have one of the deepest bullpens in the league. The starting rotation is healthier than last year, with Nova and Pineda back, and Sabathia back from alcohol rehab. Aaron Hicks seems to be an immediate improvement from Chris Young last year as the Yankees’ fourth outfielder. Even though Betances only had 10 saves last year, I’m more than confident that he can hold down the fort for a few weeks until Miller and Chapman return, along with keeping young lefty Chasen Shreve at the 8th inning spot.
This is a bad time to panic. Miller and Mitchell will most likely be fine in no time. Having Dellin Betances be himself will suffice at the closer role to get the Yanks in good positioning for the first month of the season. Chapman comes back throwing 106 mph fastballs and the Yankees become untouchable.
But what happens if it doesn’t go OK? This bullpen was supposed to be historic and go down along with the late 90s teams in the halls of greatness. But right now, it’s looking like one big injured mess, at the wrong time in the year.
Let’s watch and wait.
– M. Fritz