Regardless of your allegiances within New York baseball, you have to admit that the Yankees' run to the ALCS was a captivating one. A team that was expected to rebuild this season took Major League Baseball by surprise and came to within one win of a World Series appearance.
Their core of young stars provides the promise that postseason success will become commonplace in the Bronx, but that still doesn't mean that everything is perfect and ready to go for 2018. The Yankees have some work to do and some tough decisions to make. Here are a few issues that they could face this winter:
What will be done with CC Sabathia?
The 37-year-old southpaw's contract is officially up after putting together a solid 14-5 campaign with a 3.69 ERA. While his future with the team looked very uncertain coming into the season, he showed just how important he was to the team down the stretch.
Sabathia was the man to get the ball in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians and Game 7 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros as the Yankees put all their faith in him. In two starts during the ALCS, he allowed just one earned run in 9.1 innings of work.
If the Yankees can bring him back cheap on a one or two-year deal, re-signing Sabathia is most certainly an option worth exploring.
How will Gary Sanchez improve his defense?
Catcher Gary Sanchez is one of the best catchers in baseball because of his bat after slugging 33 home runs in his first full season in the majors. His glove, on the other hand, is not up to snuff.
On countless occasions this season, Judge's glove looked slow behind the plate and his blocking of low or wild pitches was subpar. He was put under the microscope following Game 2 of the ALCS when he was unable to reel in a relay throw from Didi Gregorius that would have nailed Jose Altuve, the game-winning run in the bottom-of-the-ninth, at the plate.
If the Yankees are committed to keeping him at catcher, defense has to come first this winter. If not, then he needs to be the team's full-time DH.
What becomes of Todd Frazier?
Todd Frazier quickly became a fan favorite after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in July. He quickly fell in love with the Yankees, his boyhood team, making it known whenever he had the chance just how much he enjoyed playing in pinstripes.
With top prospect Gleyber Torres set to make his MLB debut in 2018 after recovering from Tommy John surgery, the free-agent Frazier's spot at third base is in jeopardy and makes him expendable. Frazier is a low-average guy with 40-home-run potential, but if the Yankees don't see a way to keep he and Torres in the lineup in 2018, they might just let the 31-year-old walk.
How can Aaron Judge's strikeouts go down?
Aaron Judge is on the verge of becoming baseball's new "feast or famine" slugger.
While hitting a rookie record 52 home runs, Judge led the league with 208 strikeouts and continued fanning in the postseason, setting a league record with 27 punchouts.
The league has figured Judge out, ensuring they keep most of their pitches of the offspeed variety and on the outer half of the plate. It will be up to Judge to make the necessary adjustments needed to get to those outside pitches. If not, he is in danger of becoming the kind of player that can hit you 40 home runs, but bat just .230.