Believe it or not, Major League Baseball spring training is right around the corner. Both New York teams are coming off disappointing seasons and are looking to bounce back in 2017. The future does look bright for both the Yankees and Mets, so let’s look at what the teams did while their fan bases were in hibernation.
Coming off a disappointing 2016 season that was riddled with injuries, the Mets look primed and ready for a World Series run in 2017.The Amazin’s return one of baseballs best starting five headed by Twitter troll Noah Syndergaard, along with a healthy Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey. Zack Wheeler, who has come out and said that he is feeling 100 percent healthy, will look to join the rotation but there may be times when Terry Collins has him come out of the bullpen to limit his innings.
In free agency, the Mets brought back Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker, but lost Bartolo Colon to the Braves and James Loney to the Rangers. We can expect Cespedes to play left field in an already crowded outfield. Keeping to the outfield, there are rumors that Juan Lagares is drawing interest on the trade market and could end up on the move to make room for Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson.
The Captain, David Wright, will return to his post on the hot corner after spinal stenosis caused him to miss a large portion of the 2016 season. Mets fans know that we are going to get leadership, heart and a Gold Glove from Wright - but the question is, how will his back hold up at the plate?
Players to keep an eye on during spring training are going to be Seth Lugo, Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith. Rosario will be at spring training on the 40-man roster, while Smith will be a non-roster invitee. They are the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in the Mets farm system and shined in the 2016 Futures Game. According to reports, Lugo’s curveball is off the charts right now, and he credits playing frisbee golf to improving the snap on the pitch.
As a Mets fan, I have my hopes up for 2017. Now onto “The Evil Empire” uptown.
After a season of replenishing their farm system with trades, the Yankees are looking to 2017 focusing on the future. Gary Sanchez is coming off a monster rookie campaign and will taking over full-time catching duties after the Yankees traded Brian McCann to the Astros for pitching prospects.To go along with Sanchez, the baby boom in the Bronx includes Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres and Justus Sheffield - who will all be at spring training as non-roster invitees looking to make big impressions on the organization.
On the topic of veterans, the Yankees lost two big clubhouse guys from their 2016 roster. As mentioned before, McCann was traded to the Astros and Mark Teixeira opted for retirement and a desk job as an analyst for ESPN. You can say what you want about their production on the field, but they both played a big role in the confidence of the younger Yankees last season.
Over the winter in free agency, the Yankees signed former All-Star Matt Holliday - who hit .246 and 20 home runs in 110 games with the Cardinals last season. They also brought back a now World Series champion in Aroldis Chapman after trading him to the Cubs last season in return for Torres.
One thing the Yankees won’t have to worry about in 2017 is their bullpen. Joe Giradi is one of the best bullpen managers in baseball and gets one of baseball’s best weapons back in Chapman to go along with All-Star Dellin Betances.
Baseball is back baby. It’s spectacular!