Five storylines going into Spring Training 12


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Spring Training is approximately two weeks away, and while everyone is gearing up towards the baseball season, the Yankees find themselves in a situation where new and recurring storylines are once again taking form. But what are the five biggest storylines coming into camp this season?

1. Can Alex Rodriguez return to form after a year-long suspension?

Last season, there wasn’t a media circus and Chase Headley was manning third base for a good portion of the year. Why? Because Alex Rodriguez was suspended due to his involvement in a steroid scandal that saw multiple players barred from baseball for 50 games. Rodriguez g0t the lengthiest punishment of all the players, sitting out for the entire 2014 campaign and the postseason if the Yankees had made it that far. Rodriguez comes into camp with one thing in mind: redemption. However, with the media circus on his tail and him being out of the game for almost two years, is Rodriguez truly able to compete at the Major League level?

2. Will Masahiro Tanaka‘s elbow hold up?

Masahiro Tanaka started off 2014 great for the Yankees, until he had a small UCL tear in his elbow and was forced to sit out for most of July, all of August and most of September. Tanaka made two starts at the end of the season, but there wasn’t enough assurance Tanaka’s elbow will hold up for the entire 2015 season. So far, he says his elbow is in good shape, but will the tear in Tanaka’s elbow get to the point where he’ll eventually need Tommy John Surgery?

3. Who will be the closer?

Around this time last year, the answer would of been David Robertson. This year, there is no Robertson after he signed a four-year deal with the Chicago White Sox. The Yankees have options such as Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, although most are rooting for Betances after a dazzling 2014 campaign. The decision will be up to the Yankees to decide and we may not have an answer until the final week of Spring Training.

4. Can the Yankees turn Nathan Eovaldi into a top-flight starting pitcher?

The Yankees shocked everyone this offseason when they packaged Martin Prado and David Phelps and sent them to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Garrett Jones and Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi shows potential, but was inconsistent with the Marlins in 2014. The Yankees hope with a bit of tinkering, Eovaldi can become a top-flight pitcher in their rotation. But can the Yankees actually pull it off and turn Eovaldi into a major threat? Or will Eovaldi end up being terribly inconsistent to the point where the Yankees look to shop him?

5. Who will replace Derek Jeter?

Technically on the field the answer is Didi Gregorius, but who will fill Derek Jeter’s shoes when it comes to taking a leadership role? Will it be Brian McCann who has show leadership skills with the pitching staff? Will it be CC Sabathia who was the “ace” of the staff until the last two seasons when injuries plagued him? Or will it be Brett Gardner, a homegrown player who learned all of his leadership skills from the captain himself, and emerged into a great everyday player? No one will be the captain, but someone has to be the new leader. The question is, who?


12 thoughts on “Five storylines going into Spring Training

  • Jim P

    Remember A-Rod was on the dope in 2010, 11, & 12 (can't remember if he admitted to '13). So on top of the age, full year plus layoff, there's the fact that he was already on the edge of non-productivity even with that 'extra' boost. He ain't returning to form: expect him to be able to DH against lefties, and then to get injured before long into the season. Without PEDs he's not only toast, he's long-been toast.

    • YankeezFan

      What makes you think he still wont use them… MLB drug testing program is a joke, and has only caught Braun, and Caberra in the last 5 years, there are more users than that in the Majors, and the players know how to get around the testing. Personally, I think ARod will still be using it, he had a previous exemption taken away from him by the MLB when he was able to take a certain steriod with league consent. The only problem is that the Yankees have 2 third baseman making almost 35M combined, or a 3rd baseman and DH. It wasnt a smart move to sign Headley to the contract that he got, should have put the money into another position player or pitcher, just my opinion, but just DUMB.

  • YankeezFan

    From all indications that I've seen posted is Alex is in the same shape he was when he cam back from injury in 2013, that being said he's also 40. But didn't Pete Rose play 3rd base until 45? If ARod can give us a .250/.340./780 slash line then i think the Yankees should be happy, if he also shows he can field then the Yankees signing of Headley looks dumb and a waste of money. Tanaka's injury closely related to Adam Wainwrights before he had Tommy John surgury, and he had the injury for 5 years, so yea i think Tanaka's elbow can hold up, only time will tell. Closer has to be decided in spring training, Miller and Betances will have adequate opportunities to win the role, only Joe G knows for sure at this point. Evoldi will become the next version of Phil Hughes, same type of pitcher, same type of results. Probably going to have Beltran, and Sabathia become more of an influence on the leadership of this team, McCann will also hopefully provide that as well. Beltran to the latino players, Sabathia to the pitching staff as a whole and McCann to the whole team. Yankees need McCann to step up here and take the lead in order for the team to have a decent season.

    • Rob Abruzzese

      Eovaldi is nothing like Phil Hughes. Eovaldi gets groundballs at a 44.5% rate and had a HR/9 ratio of 0.65. Meanwhile, Hughes only gets groundballs 34.2% and has a HR/9 of 2.37.

      • YankeezFan

        Evoldi pitched in a pitchers ball park, and gave up the most hits in one of the weakest divisions in the MLB, meanwhile Hughes pitched in telephone booth ball parks, like YANKEE STADIUM, you may have missed that comparision. Dont be surprised if his HR total doubles next year with that short porch…. like i said he's the same pitcher, its just some flyballs in Miami stay in the park and hit the wall for doubles. GET REAL!

    • hotdog

      Phil Hughes had the tools, he just could not handle New York…i don't know if Eovaldi has the tools and who knows what playing for the Yankees will do for him…

      • YankeezFan

        Well all the Yankee fans knew what Shawn Green did for them last year, and the Yankees sent him off to Detroit for a Brendan Ryan clone that hits left. Nice trade. Greene was under more years of control and a cheeper option, and we would still have Prado at 2nd or 3rd if Alex fails. There was no need to sign Headley, should have signed Robertson with that money, and had a 3 headed monster in the BP. This year will be tough to watch….. buy lots of beer guys.

        • hotdog

          would have much preferred Shane Greene to Chris Capuano…i would imagine that Cashman has more faith in Gregorius than many of us Yankee fans…Gregorius is more likely to become a utility infielder than a mainstay in New York…Shane Greene, although not a marquee pitcher, outdid himself in New York in his rookie year…i would rather have Shane Greene than Gregorius but I'm not the GM and privy to the scouting reports these guys have…it's going to be awhile until the Yankees find someone to replace Jeter (albeit, no one can do that) at short and I doubt his name is Didi Gregorius…maybe there's someone in the system that can make strides in 2015…

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