Blue Jays: Assessing the AL East after the 2019 campaign

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Tyler Wade #14 of the New York Yankees slides home past Luke Maile #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays for a run in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Tyler Wade #14 of the New York Yankees slides home past Luke Maile #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays for a run in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 15: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 15: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

New York Yankees (103-59

Last but not least, the AL East division rival that came the closest to winning a championship this season. The New York Yankees had a very impressive campaign, finishing with a record of 103-59 despite missing a record number of games to the IL, including for many of their most significant stars. Luis Severino missed most of the season, Giancarlo Stanton hardly factored at all, and the list goes on and on.

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Despite all of that, the Bronx Bombers were just two wins away from making the World Series, and there’s every reason to believe that they’ll be in the mix again in 2020 and beyond. Their offence is as good as anyone in baseball when everyone is healthy, and guys like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks, Stanton, and more will be around for several more years to come.

It’s the pitching staff that could be a little bit vulnerable going forward, but that could change in a hurry this off-season. The Yankees are among the expected suitors for Gerrit Cole, and they’ll still return a starting group that features Severino, James Paxton, another season of Masahiro Tanaka, and eventually Domingo German. Their bullpen will be a strength even if Aroldis Chapman opts out of his current deal, which seems pretty unlikely anyway.

You can point to any one of the foundational pieces the Yankees currently have in place as the strength of this team, but I would argue that their greatest asset is in the front office in Brian Cashman. The long-time GM has done a masterful job of rebuilding the Yankees, balancing a young core with future payroll space, making them a serious contender right now as we saw in 2019, and one that should be sustainable for several years.

Next. An opportunity to take advantage of the Yankees. dark

I really do believe that the Blue Jays are going to contend for a division title within a few seasons, but I believe that road will still go through the Yankees when they’re ready for that step. It’s a familiar tale in the AL East, and one that I don’t anticipate will change any time soon.

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