Keidel: Yankees Should Benefit From Delayed Season Start

Bronx Bombers Could Be Healthy When We Make It To Opening Day

Jason Keidel
March 18, 2020 - 1:48 pm
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The start of the MLB season has been kicked down the calendar, with Opening Day a floating variable. But if we can look around the reason for the delay, it's fair to wonder who benefits from this. 

The Yankees should raise their hands.

Whether it's two weeks or two months, a truncated baseball season with a late-spring start should do wonders for the Bronx Bombers. After smashing the all-time record for injured players, with 39 trips to the IL in 2019, the Yankees picked up this year where they left off last year. 

Long before COVID-19 knocked the nation on its backside, there were big-time Yankees falling like dominos in spring training. Luis Severino tore the UCL on his pitching elbow and is gone for the year. Fellow starter Domingo German's suspension will be pushed back to the fit the reconfigured season. We also learned that Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton have injuries that rendered them unready for April. And now they could all be ready for the new Opening Day, whenever that is. 

Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge
Kim Klement/USA TODAY Images

The Yankees had all kinds of karmic momentum entering the season before it was pushed back. Sign-stealing scandals have torn through the Astros and Boston Red Sox, costing both teams their respective managers. The Red Sox even traded their best all-around player in a generation, Mookie Betts, to the Los Angeles Dodgers, all but waving the white flag on the 2020 season. 

This was one of the rare times the Yankees would be seen as sympathetic, the victim of Houston's and Boston's vice. It was not absurd to wonder if the Yanks would have won the 2017 or 2018 World Series if not for the secret, electronic malfeasance from their top-two AL foes.  

Maybe this coronavirus flattens the PR playing field. Maybe we become so united as a people that we just cheer for baseball as much as we do for a particular team. But that will melt away and fans will once again live or die with laundry. 

No matter which angle we take, a shortened season can't help but help the Yankees. Unless this coronavirus rips through baseball and cancels a World Series for the second time in history (1994 being the first), the Yankees are the chalk to walk to the AL pennant. Even if the season miraculously starts in six weeks, the Yankees have shown an impenetrable cool under a comically high rate of injuries. An article from The New York Times on April 21, 2019 reported that Aaron Judge just became the 13th Yankee to hit the IL, just three weeks into last season. Yet the Yanks won 103 games, moonwalked to the AL East crown, and lost to a dubious Astros team in the ALCS. 

Still, it would be nice to see how these Yankees would look when they're loaded, without all the limping trips to the IL. Imagine Judge and Stanton at full Herculean strength. Imagine a rotation with Cole, Tanaka, Paxton and German. The Bombers had MLB's best bullpen last year (according to FanGraphs) and should have it this year, even without Dellin Betances (who only appeared in one game during 2019). 

Sure, it's hard to think of balls and strikes when soap and water are the words of the world. But someday we will have an Opening Day. And no team should be more psyched or stacked than the New York Yankees. 

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonKeidel

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