In March, take Grapefruit League wins and losses with a grain of salt, but make sure division rivals are thinking twice about what they’re seeing.
That plan seems to be working accordingly for the Yankees, as their archenemy’s president of baseball operations has taken notice of New York’s 15-5 spring record.
“I sure do look at them as a legitimate threat,” Boston’s Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand in a recent Q&A. “And Brian [Cashman] wants you to think that they’re not a legitimate threat. But they are a legitimate threat and they want to sneak up on you. They wouldn’t make some of the moves that they did unless they felt they had a chance to win, because they’ve added some people, too.”
The Red Sox are coming off a 93-win campaign in which they were awarded the American League East crown. The divisional round of the postseason didn’t play out in Boston’s favor last October, but the team has been recognized as heavy favorites to repeat as division champs, largely in credit to the acquisition of former Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale.
But questions surrounding Boston’s legitimacy as a championship contender have surfaced. With the latest injury to David Price’s elbow, some analysts believe the team’s pitching staff lacks depth. The regular season will also begin and end without David Ortiz, whose presence in the lineup and in the city can’t be duplicated. Much of the team’s weight will be placed on the shoulders of outfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who played spectacularly in the field and at the plate in 2016.
The Yankees are currently in the process of molding young talent to compete for divisional titles and more, and Dombrowski believes their odds of playing spoiler in 2017 should be high.
“Brian Cashman is a very good general manager, an outstanding general manager,” Dombrowksi said. “He’s done it for a long time; he’s built world championship clubs and I thought they really did a nice job this wintertime in collecting some young players over the winter and at the Trade Deadline last year. I think they’re in a spot that they have a good club right now, they’re going to get better with some of the young players and I don’t think anybody should take them for granted.”
The first true get-together between the Yankees and Red Sox will take place on April 25 at Fenway Park.