Josh Hader from Yankees, J.A. Happ intrigue looms over hectic off-season

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<pre><pre>Josh Hader from Yankees, J.A. Happ intrigue looms over hectic off-season

It is time to turn off the Christmas lights and stop the hot stove jokes in the hallway, for example that the Yankees get an extremely expensive lump of cole in their stockings (Credit Scott Boras) or the Mets Myrrhe-Isnick (Credit) get your hands on nobody).

On the occasion of this first full working week of the new year, reset the subway series. An updated assessment of what New York's rivals did in the off-season makes them optimistic and pessimistic about what they may be doing, and gives a look at their rivals in the division to ultimately determine whether they have improved since or have finished completing their 2019 runs.

Here's a look at the Yankees:

Reasons for hope: The 12 most valuable yankees of 2019 according to the WAR measurement by Baseball-Reference.com are now available for 2020. And if Gerrit Cole had performed with the Yankees like with the Astros, he would have more value than all 12 returnees. This roster looks absolutely stacked again, and new training and conditioning teams are making sure they stay healthier this time.

Reasons for concern: Neither Dellin Betances nor Didi Gregorius have contributed much in the past season, but their retirement from the Mets and Phillies are removing interesting potential rebound cases and popular figures from the clubhouse. Long-time backup catcher Austin Romine's move to the Tigers questions Kyle Higashioka when Gary Sanchez wears out his inevitable injuries.

Possible remaining moves: More bullpen help (they have expressed interest in acting for Josh Hader of the Brewers), more infield help and a veteran catcher on a minor league deal to keep Higashioka honest in spring training. Less J.A. Happ when a team shows enough interest in dealing with the veteran left-hander.

The competition: The Rays have done their typical under-the-radar moves like adding outfield players Hunter Renfroe and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and are likely to scare the Yankees of their annual fright. The Red Sox are likely to lose some salary (and talent) before spring training, thanks to new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. The Blue Jays did some real pitching with Hyun-Jin Ryu, while the Orioles could be worse.

Better or worse? Better because of the uncertainty in Boston and the loss of personnel from Astros (including Cole) and the upcoming discipline for multiple scandals, such as the Yankees' import of Cole and the retention of Aroldis Chapman and Brett Gardner.