Had a little time and saw some of you talking about whether or not the Yanks can compete when they are "more than one player away." I think the answer is maybe. As it stands now the Yanks have uncertainty in their starting rotation, a sinister 1-2 punch in their bullpen, and a lineup that should be chockfull of patience and pop for the first time in some time. They also finally have a farm system that is deep in pitchers and hitters - some of whom might even force their ways to the majors this year. So they might just compete, but it really will depend on the kids.
I think we can all agree that the Yanks are cannot expect much from Ellsbury (who will miss time and thus give time to a kid) and whom they cannot trade, but Headley and or Gardy could still be flipped for more young players, creating more room for kids.
In the rotation there are Tanaka, CC, and maybe Pineda (who has been insanely inconsistent). That leaves Severino, Cessa, Mitchell, and Green, with possibly Enns and Montgomery showing enough in camp to earn a spot. Severino is once again the key here. He was supposed to break out last year, but he got so much stronger than he lost the feel for his change up. This year could be the year he puts it all together, and thankfully, Cash is willing to send him to AAA and NOT THE BULLPEN if he's not ready to start.
Both Cessa and Green showed at times last season and could improve. And there's always the chance that Chance Adams or James Kaprielian put an added charge in the rotation at some point.
There are literally scores of arms available to build a bridge from the rotation to Betances and Chapman. The Yanks, in fact, seem so comfortable with their rack of relief talent, they let Lindgren go for nothing and Nick Goody for cash or a PTBNL. So the cupboard is loaded and the only way they will have problems is if Girardi auditions so many that the 40 man roster once again becomes the kind of mess where we can lose a Lindgren or a Torrens.
As for the line-up, we've always wanted the Yanks to start developing kids with both patience and pop. They're now doing that again and Sanchez and Judge, especially, have plus plus power potential, and homeruns can undo a both the other team's and your so so pitching. I do believe Aaron Judge will make the adjustment he made at AAA and become a very dangerous man. What's more, having him in right field instead of 135 games or whatever of Beltran out there should save some runs.
Mason Williams is probably the best defensive CF on the team at this point - defenitely if they trade Gardy, we'll see if they make him split left with Austin or let him play CF and Ellsbury LF (or CF when Austin plays LF).
Bird and Austin have also shown patience and pop in the system, and could also really contribute at first and some DH in a three way rotation with Holliday.
I'm still concerned with having Castro at second (or third should Headley be moved) because he has pop but no patience, and Didi, who can field and has pop but also lacks patience and the Yanks could do well by trading him if either Gleyber or one of the other SS prospects shows they're ready at some point this season. I don't know how they'll move Castro. Meanwhile they should bat 8th and 9th for the foreseeable.
Higgy should beat out Romine at back up catcher, because he is better at hitting and on defense. But because they let Torrens go, they are now bereft of C depth in the minors and might decide to keep Romine at back up and Higgy in the minors - just to have someone there. Though that wouldn't help the majorl league team one lick.
Meanwhile, down on the farm they now have so much talent, we could see any number of lights go on and surprises, so it should be fun down there too.
So can the Yanks compete this year? It will be largely up to the kids, and they are talented.