Over the past couple of days, it has been reported that MLB and the MLBPA have discussed the framework to return to the field for the 2021 season. Apparently, the two sides are discussing delaying the start of the season by about a month, playing 154 games and pushing the end of the season by a week. The two sides are also discussing the possibility of continuing expanded playoffs.
MLB on Friday proposed to the union a 154-game schedule with full pay, delayed by a month and extended by a week, sources say. Also, with expanded postseason. Union considering.
While I am writing this article, the Northeast is currently getting pounded by a blizzard. Currently, the Bronx should see over a foot of snow over the next couple of days. While this weather and news can make baseball seem far away, we are actually rounding the bases as we approach the 2021 season.
Pitchers and Catchers
As of now, the Yankees pitchers and catchers are expected to report to Tampa on Feb. 15 and it marks the unofficial beginning of the 2021 season. With it comes a pretty different Yankees rotation. For the first time as a Yankee, we will see former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Joining him is Jameson Taillon who hopefully will create a dominant 1-2-3 with ace Gerrit Cole.
Position players are currently scheduled to arrive the following week on Feb. 21. After a brief impasse this offseason, it will be refreshing to see DJ LeMahieu trot out to second base. This spring will once again be all about health and getting into “baseball shape” for the season. The lineup from last year is basically intact but there is still time for some final moves.
As many fans know, the biggest issue for the Yankees has been the health (or lackthereof) of the team. Last year Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and many others found themselves missing large portions of the season. Hopefully with a normal offseason we can finally see the impact of Eric Cressey. Hired before the 2020 season, Cressey didn’t quite make the impact that we hoped he would last year.
The Return of Luis Severino
At some point over the summer, the Yankees pitching staff should be welcoming back former ace Luis Severino. Severino could potentially be used in the rotation, the bullpen or as an opener as he works his arm back from Tommy John surgery.
Cashman believes Severino being back by the end of July is a "safe range." He said as the months go on, they will deploy him as a weapon as they see fit. Bullpen piece maybe?
Due to his recent injuries, its easy to forget how dominant of a pitcher Severino has been. And still at just 27 years old it will be nice to see him work to return to form.
Return to the Stadium
One of the things that made 2020 so frustrating was the inability to watch baseball in person. Hopefully, we are rounding third with the pandemic and can get back to the Stadium, in some capacity, this season. If the start is pushed back a month, it should help to further combat the virus and allow more fans to watch baseball at the Stadium. If just over 6,000 fans watched the Bills host the Colts in the NFL playoffs, then there should be a safe way to get more fans to Yankees games over the summer.
The Collective Next Step
Finally, this season we should hopefully see this Yankees team make the next step.We know that Judge and Stanton can play at an MVP-caliber level. Gerrit Cole should further settle-in as the ace of this team and hopefully win his first Cy Young. DJLM should continue his incredible hitting, Aaron Hicks should keep getting on base and Luke Voit should continue to mash.
This is a really good Yankees team but teams and players don’t get remembered for being “really good.” In 2021 it will be up to Aaron Boone and his roster to take the next step in securing the 28th World Series in franchise history.
This team has the talent to do it, and that is why I am excited for the 2021 season.