For Yankees fans, the franchise’s ownership and front office executives, it’s all or nothing. They expect to contend for and win the World Series. There are no moral victories. Losing is intolerable.
The Yankees are scheduled to begin their new quest for another championship today in the Bronx, weather permitting. Rain may delay Opening Day at Yankee Stadium and the team’s meeting with their arch rivals, the Boston Red Sox. With a one-day break tomorrow, the three-game series resumes on Saturday and ends on Sunday. The Yanks will then host the Toronto Blue Jays for a four-game series Monday through Thursday.
They have been a wild-card team four out of the past five seasons, including going 92-70 last year, losing to the Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game 6-2 at Fenway Park. The Yankees haven’t won a World Series championship since defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games in 2009. A 13-year drought.
They’ll need another big season from outfielder Aaron Judge to accomplish that goal. But he may not be a Yankee beyond this season. The three-time All-Star, who will turn 30 on April 26, will become a free-agent at the end of this season if he doesn’t sign a long-term deal with the team. There have been multiple media reports that the Yankees offered Judge a $30 million per year deal for up to seven years earlier this week.
The Yankees won’t look much different than they did last season because the roster hasn’t significantly changed. But despite the Yankees’ lack of a blockbuster deal this off season, their manager Aaron Boone, in his fifth season leading the team, is somewhat content with his current group of players.
“I think we’re a better team right now than we were at any point last year,” said Boone on Sunday. “I would say a more complete team. But it’s April 3rd so that’s great and all, but we have to do it.”
Former Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who was a target of the fans’ frustration for his inconsistent bat and poor defense, was traded last month along with infielder Gio Urshela to the Minnesota Twins for third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Clint Frazier, Corey Kluber and Luke Voit are also gone.
Outfielder Brett Gardner, 38, who’s been a Yankee since they selected him in the 2005 Major League Baseball draft, wasn’t re-signed and remains a free agent.