The 2015 New York Yankees will be under new leadership after their captain and shortstop, Derek Jeter, retired after last season. All Yankees fans will miss Jeter, but fans are eager for the team to return to its winning ways. New York has missed the playoffs two straight years and will need several key returning players to step up in 2015. New York added several new players via trades and in free agency, so these players will need to produce right away.
New York’s infield is anchored by catcher Brian McCann and first baseman Mark Teixeira. The rest of the infield will be comprised of new faces. Third baseman Chase Headley and shortstop Didi Gregorious will anchor the left side of the infield while New York will hold an open competition at second base. Expect Brendan Ryan and Jose Pirela to battle for the starting spot during Spring Training. Alex Rodriguez will be slated as New York’s designated hitter while the outfield will be made up of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran. Here are the five things to watch during New York Yankees Spring Training:
Storyline #1: The Health of Tanaka and Sabathia
Both Tanaka and Sabathia dealt with injuries during 2014. New York’s general manager, Brian Cashman, declared that both pitchers are healthy, but that remains to be seen. New York will need both of its aces to perform well.
Storyline #2: Battle for Second Base
New York has had trouble filling its hole at second base after Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2014. There was expected to be a battle between Brendan Ryan and Jose Pirela during spring training, but the Yankees recently re-signed Stephen Drew to a one-year/$5 million contract. Drew looks to be pencilled in as the starter at second, but that could change in the spring.
Storyline #3: The Emergence of Dellin Betances
Betances was one of New York’s biggest surprises last season, striking out 147 hitters in 97 2/3 innings. Betances brought stability to the eighth inning and may have an opportunity to close games during 2015. New York did not re-sign incumbent closer David Robertson, but opted to sign reliever Andrew Miller. Fans are hoping Betances can take another step forward during 2015.
Storyline #4: Alex Rodriguez
The lightning rod known as ‘A-Rod’ will return in 2015. New York opted to re-sign third baseman Chase Headley during the off-season, so A-Rod will serve as New York’s designated hitter. Derek Jeter is no longer around, so all eyes will be on A-Rod.
Storyline #5: Is Joe Girardi Feeling the Pressure?
Manager Joe Girardi led New York to a World Series title in 2009, but the team has missed the playoffs in two consecutive years. Can Girardi restore New York to its winning ways?
Many Yankees spring training tickets go on sale Friday and they currently have an average price of $66.10 on the secondary market.