In the first half of the season, the Yankees main story-lines have been about Derek Jeter, Masahiro Tanaka, the multiple injuries surrounding the team and the inconsistency of the lineup. With the first half behind us, let’s take a look at some story-lines that are still recurring in the second half of the season, as well as some new ones.
1. Where will Derek Jeter’s final season end?
We’re well aware this is Derek Jeter’s final season, but the main question is where will his final season end? Will it end in Boston in late-September, will the Yankees find a way to sneak themselves into the postseason to ultimately fall in the ALDS/ALCS or will the Yankees re-surge and become a consistent team, leading them all the way to a World Series championship? If I was writing this story-line, I’d say a World Series but just because I wish it, it doesn’t mean it will happen.
2. Will Masahiro Tanaka avoid Tommy John Surgery?
We already know Masahiro Tanaka is going to be out for quite a while, at least a minimum of six weeks due to a partial tear in his UCL, but the main question is will rehab be enough for Tanaka to avoid surgery and will he come back in time for the home stretch of the season?
3. Can Brett Gardner keep up with his impressive 2014 season?
Let’s face it, the best position player signing of the offseason wasn’t Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann or Jacoby Ellsbury; it was the contract extension of Brett Gardner. Gardner has easily been the Yankees best position player and it will be interesting to see if he can continue his impressive season in the second half of the season. He’s been known to be streaky but he’s uncharacteristically been consistent, which is a pleasant surprise.
Michael Pineda seems to be making progress and barring another setback, he should be back by late-August. CC Sabathia is a different story; he’s dealing with a knee injury and he’s already faced multiple setbacks. Will we see Sabathia before the seasons over or have we seen the last of Sabathia in 2014?
5. Will the Yankees find consistency within their lineup?
I wouldn’t say the first half of the season was a disaster–but the Yankees have had troubles with consistency from their lineup. Oh sure, the Yankees have consistently left runners in scoring position but that’s not the consistency I’m talking about. If they want to have any chance of making a run for the postseason then they have to all contribute…and if they can’t, well that bring us to our last question.
6. Will the Yankees be buyers by the deadline or sellers?
As of right now, Brian Cashman said the Yankees are going to be buyers as the trade deadline comes near. But if the Yankees continue to struggle during the season will they suddenly become sellers and try again next year? And if the Yankees do become sellers, which players would they be willing to part with?