Yankee fans, you didn’t get to see another World Series title despite the lineup looking like one that could do it. But, this holiday season, there is still a lot to be thankful for with this team.
Here are five things Yankees fans should be grateful for following the shortened 2020 season and heading into next year:
1) There was baseball
Remember when the game actually may not have been played? Being able to have a safe season amidst this pandemic seemed improbable, but MLB figured it out with an entirely new format, including expanded playoffs. All 60 games were played, and the postseason bubble was put in place.
So the fact that the Yankees actually played baseball and were able to travel to San Diego to play in the postseason is something to be thankful for in itself.
2) Gerrit Cole was the as-advertised ace
Cole’s first season with the Yankees was always going to be under a ginormous microscope, and he didn’t care. The spotlight is something he thrives in and it showed all season long.
Yes, he had an issue with the long ball (14 allowed in the regular season). But he still finished with a 2.84 ERA over 12 starts, which included two complete games and one shutout, over 73 innings of work.
Of course, Cole would’ve loved to close out Game 5 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, but he wasn’t pitching on short rest to begin with. Either way, Cole performed when he needed to, gave the Yankees the innings depth that he has throughout his career, and pitched at an ace-like level all season.
It was a great start, and with many more years to come, having Cole in the rotation long-term makes you sleep a little better at night.
3) DJ LeMahieu – no matter what happens in free agency
LeMahieu’s free agent status is something that might be uneasy. It might even be a topic of conversation at the dinner table tonight.
But no matter what happens in the race to land LeMahieu’s services, be thankful that he has been the Yankees’ MVP for the last two seasons.
That consistent, clutch hitting he gave whenever he stepped to the plate was something that awed every fan in 2019. They knew he was good with the Rockies, but he took a big leap when he put the pinstripes on. LeMahieu was easily the Yankees’ best player during their 2019 playoff run, and it could be argued for last season as well after winning the AL batting title.
GM Brian Cashman is working hard to sign him yet again, but there are other suitors out there. No fan wants to say goodbye to that sweet swing and trusty glove, but even if it is so, LeMahieu truly gave his all for the Bombers.
4) Gio Urshela
What isn’t there to be thankful about regarding this guy? He’s a vacuum cleaner at third base, sometimes making plays that just make you wonder if your eyes are deceiving you. And then he gets to the plate and ropes a double or a home run.
Remember, this was a player who came over to the Yankees for peanuts and has developed into someone that Miguel Andujar, the runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting two seasons ago, can’t beat out in spring training.
Urshela has become such an asset for this Yankees team and secures one of the hardest positions to play in the sport. And he does so with the biggest smile on his face because playing for the Yanks is a dream job. A hat tip to you, Gio.
5) The future
Down the road, Yankee fans should be thankful for the prospects that the front office has been able to secure. We’ve already seen the likes of Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt and others during this 2020 season that shows some promise.
But what about the “next Mike Trout” in Jasson Dominguez, who is the team’ No. 1 prospect? There’s also tons of hard-throwing pitchers in the system like Luis Gil, Alexander Vizcaino and more. Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza are middle infielders in the Top 10, too.
While the Yankees’ lineup is already one of the best in the game, these young prospects are extremely solid and it’s always good to be able to feel happy about what the future might hold.