Yankees head to spring training eyeing World Series title

ByRyan McGriff WABC logo
Monday, February 12, 2018
(Matt Rourke - AP)
(Willie J. Allen Jr. - AP)
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge fouls off a pitch from Oakland Athletics' Sonny Gray during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Oakland, Calif.
New York Yankees' Gleyber Torres during a spring training baseball workout Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(Kathy Willens - Associated Press)
(Kathy Willens - AP)
New York Yankees' Gary Sanchez hits a two-run scoring double during the eighth inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.
Yankees' Didi Gregorius is tagged out by Athletics' Yonder Alonso after being caught in a rundown during a game on April 19, 2016, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo)
Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman throws during a spring training baseball workout, in Tampa, Fla.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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Yankees head to spring training eyeing World Series title(Matt Rourke - AP)
Matt Rourke - AP

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York Yankees finished one win shy of a trip to the World Series in 2017, but the addition of reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, has the team believing they can go all the way this year.

As Yankee players and personnel make their way to spring training camp in Tampa, Florida, here are the biggest questions that the team faces in their quest for a 28th World Series title.

How will rookie manager Aaron Boone perform in his first year with the Yankees?

Aaron Boone was Brian Cashman's slam-dunk choice to take over as Yankee manager after Joe Girardi was let go, but it wasn't a total slam-dunk for fans. With no big league coaching experience, Boone will be tasked with managing a team of young stars with championship aspirations, and fans will have high expectations.

What Boone does bring is his knowledge of analytics, a familiarity with the Yankee organization and their winning tradition, strong communication skills, and his life-long connection to the game through his family's baseball lineage. Boone has said all the right things so far; the question is if he'll make the right decisions once the games count.

Will Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton be able to coexist on the same team?

With two larger-than-life outfielders in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, is there enough room in the Bronx for the both of them? The pair seem to be getting along just fine this offseason, but with the two sluggers likely to split time between right field and designated hitter, it remains to be seen how well they adjust to playing a few games a week as a DH and potentially the other two outfield positions.

Can Dellin Betances overcome the command issues that plagued the reliever late in the season?

This was probably a question going into spring training last year too, but because Betances' ineffectiveness forced Joe Girardi to avoid the reliever in the postseason all together, the right-hander's struggles were even more apparent.

When Betances is right, he's one of the best relievers in baseball, averaging nearly 15 strikeouts per nine innings. If the four-time all-star can get back to his dominant ways on the mound, the Yankees' bullpen may go down as one of the best in the history of the game.

Who will be the Yankees' opening day starting second and third baseman?

Trading Starlin Castro and Chase Headley left the Yankees with vacancies at both second and third base. There's a chance that the Yankees could still acquire an infielder between now and the start of the season, but if not, the team will look to fill the positions with some combination of Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes, Thairo Estrada, Jace Peterson and Danny Espinosa.

The popular choice would be for the teams' top prospects, Torres and Andujar, to crack the opening day roster, but Torres is coming off Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm and Andujar is still a question mark with his defense at third. There's no slam dunk choice at the moment, so second and third base should be the most interesting position battles this spring.

Which version of Greg Bird will the Yankees get this season?

Remember when everybody couldn't stop talking about Greg Bird's sensational spring last year? That seems like a long time ago, but the Yankees haven't stopped believing in that version of Bird, who smacked eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats.

After multiple injuries and setbacks during the regular season, Bird returned in late August and rewarded the teams' faith in him by providing an enormous boost to the Yankees' offense, especially in the playoffs. If the team can get that production from the 25-year-old first baseman for a full season, 2018 might be the year that Bird puts it all together.

How will Aaron Boone fill out his lineup card?

First-time managers like Aaron Boone don't normally get this lucky. For 162 games regular season games, Boone will get to mix, match and piece together a lineup which includes: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius and more. Will Judge and Stanton hit back-to-back, or will their right-handed bats be separated with a lefty like Bird or Gregorius? Boone will be faced with a lot of tough questions, but count this as one he'll have fun with.