New York Yankees’ New Years Resolutions for 2022
Hopefully MLB players and owners will come to terms with a new collective agreement, allowing the 2022 season to start on time.
But we have strong doubts.
Either way, a full list of New Year’s resolutions will be rolling out this week, and here are our top 10 annual resolutions for the New York Yankees:
1. Gerrit Cole
To go beyond the sticky stuff
Perhaps a legalized form of pitching tack, used to improve their grip on baseballs, will come with the new CBA.
The Yankees ace was at the forefront of that issue, and his 2021 regular season stats tell a story.
Cole posted a 2.31 ERA with an opponent’s OPS of 0.554 in 14 starts before the sticky-stuff ban was enforced and of 4.12 0.716 in 16 starts thereafter.
2. Gleyber Torres
To recover your All-Star status
Torres slipped during the abridged 2020 season, when his conditioning was called into question, and he’s generally regressed into a troubling 2021.
Perhaps the return to second base from the shortstop, which was unsuitable defensively, will have a positive impact on his offense.
Decide to post something closer to his .849 OPS in his first two All-Star seasons, not the .703 pedestrian he’s compiled over the past two years.
3. Aaron Hicks
Be a reliable regular
The switching center outfielder begins his season at the age of 32 after left wrist surgery that ended his 2021 season in mid-May.
Injuries have defined his career with the Yankees since signing a seven-year, $ 70 million contract heading into the 2019 season.
It might be a modest goal, but the Yanks would benefit greatly if Hicks could reliably stay on the pitch and deliver reasonable production at a position that might require an upgrade sooner rather than later.
4. Aroldis Chapman
To fully exploit his command
After the closest flamethrower left-hander posted a 0.39 ERA in his first 23 games of 2001, his command became AWOL in his next 23 games, compiling an 8.05 ERA.
The timing of Chapman’s wild slide coincided with the ban on pitcher’s grip aids, but he dismissed any ideas he was relying on sticky stuff.
Chapman has posted a 1.88 ERA in his last 15 games, and the goal for 2022 should be to find that kind of consistency – while trusting his new splitter – over a full season.
5. Giancarlo Stanton
To make 50 field trips
Well, 40 starts might be a more realistic goal, but why not aim high?
Stanton made 26 field starts, all from July 30, in a healthy and largely productive 2021 season that restored his overall value.
If he can maintain that good health and make occasional starts to the outfield, the Yankees benefit by having a more flexible designated hitter situation.
6. DJ Le Mahieu
Be DJ LeMahieu again
In his first 195 games as a Yankee, the Bronx saw the best version of LeMahieu, cutting .336 / .386 / .536 and finishing two times in the top four in the AL MVP vote.
Something was wrong in 2021, with LeMahieu’s .268 / .349 / .362 line in 150 games, and by the end of the year a reason emerged.
LeMahieu underwent surgery in October for a sports hernia, a condition that caused him to miss the AL Wild Card match but which could explain his slowdown in 2021.
7. Joey Gallo
To learn to kiss New York
Easier said than done following a tough two-month audition in the Bronx, anticipating the backlash from the crowd to his first 0v4 and three strikeout strikeouts.
These will be plentiful, but Gallo should know how quickly he can win them back with a long homerun, left field ball toss or some other simple, well-placed bunt.
Find peace with traffic patterns (or an apartment closer to Yankee Stadium), feed yourself on (even negative) energy, and aim for a great year of free agent walking.
8. Jonathan Loaisiga
To keep raising the bar
An injury-ridden starter early in his professional career, Loaisiga has the makings and the guts to become one of the league’s elite relievers.
In 2021, Loaisiga posted a 2.17 ERA and a 1.019 WHIP in 70.2 innings (57 games), already All-Star-caliber stats.
Loaisiga, 27, is a candidate to become the closest in 2023 (Chapman is in his year of walking free agent), but his value now is as a man of vital set-up and multi-sleeve.
9. Aaron judge
Become team captain
That doesn’t mean pushing for Derek Jeter’s last title.
But through action and example, Judge can continue to show the Yankees that he is their clear leader.
Maybe one day ownership and management will give the judge that official designation, but that requires agreeing on a long-term extension.
10. Brian Cashman
To be creative
Baseball executives will be hyperactive once the lockdown is over, with tons of lists to fill out in a short window before opening day.
Cashman has a lot on his list; a shortstop, a first baseman, a front row starter and maybe another quality outfielder and reliever.
Beyond exploring obvious names in the free agent market, the CEO will be challenged to create impactful business offerings, with intriguing potential targets such as Oakland’s Matt Olson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa of the Texas or Luis Castillo from Cincinnati.
What about the Yankees’ 2021 New Years Resolutions?
Here’s how our 2021 Yankees New Years Resolutions went:
Clint Frazier: Have a full season.
It was a complete failure. Frazier struggled shortly after his first opening day as a regular outfielder and finally ended his season on June 30, due to concussion-related symptoms.
Designated for a mission in November, Frazier signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Gary Sanchez: To catch the fastball.
After a brutal 49-game offense in the shortened 2020 season, Sanchez’s .204 / .307 / .423 line in 117 games has meant improvement.
But that hasn’t changed the belief that Sanchez – a free agent after this season – will have a new address by 2023.
Aaron Judge: To stay off the injured list.
The right-handed outfielder has had his healthiest and most productive season since 2017, playing 148 games. He missed nine team games in July due to a positive COVID test.
Giancarlo Stanton: To recover his All-Star status.
DH still hasn’t made an All-Star team since 2017, his National League MVP season, but Stanton has had his healthiest and most productive offensive year since 2018.
Gerrit Cole: So that Gary Sanchez would catch him every now and then.
We sold this not as a resolution but as a reaffirmation of the club’s commitment to Sanchez’s new start.
Well, Kyle Higashioka caught 27 of Cole’s 31 starts, including the Wild Card loss.
Gleyber Torres: To get to camp in great shape.
It was not a problem. But his production fell again (.697 OPS) and Torres’ defensive issues throughout the year on shortstop led to a return to second base in September.
Aroldis Chapman: For a change of scenery in October.
Due to the Yanks’ unique playoff appearance, the Closest never got a chance to write a new chapter after handing memorable home runs to Jose Altuve (2019) and Mike Brosseau (2020).
Clarke Schmidt: To rotate out of camp.
The young right-hander injured his elbow early in spring training and made just two appearances and one start for the 2021 Yanks in September.
Aaron Boone: Managing in a World Series.
As the head of a perennial pennant contender, Boone went 0 to 4 in this department during his initial contract. In October, he signed a new three-year contract with a club option for 2025.
Brian Cashman: To add the pitch.
At the end of January, the CEO brought in James Taillon via an exchange from Pittsburgh and signed free agent Corey Kluber. Now Kluber is with the Tampa Bay Rays and Cashman is expected to resume the search for another front row starter once the lockdown is over.
Pete Caldera is the Yankees Beat Writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, transactions and more, please register today and download our app.