You decided to stand pat, a bold move from a boldly conservative GM, as you’ve proven yourself to be. But your patience is rewarded, as Corey Kluber returns to form in late May and Jose Ramirez returns a little later than expected, early in July, but he returns healthy and fully Jose — which is to say, good. His return buoys the lineup as the White Sox start to flag, their lack of depth becoming an issue as the season goes on.
By September, the AL Central is easily within reach when disaster strikes: Brad Hand’s shoulder doesn’t feel right and a shoulder impingement is diagnosed, sidelining the closer with no timetable for return. As no additions are possible, you call up a slew of pitching depth from Columbus to rest the starters prior to the playoffs. The bullpening strategy works well enough, allowing you to clinch the division and prepare for the division series against the Red Sox.
The Red Sox similarly ignored the bullpen in the offseason, but did reach out to grab Will Smith in a trade with the Giants and add some insurance. Nonetheless, the Tribe’s rested starters overpower (or have better luck than) the Sox powerful hitters and make it through to the ALCS in four games. Waiting, is the evil empire, as the Yankees swept the Astros in dominating fashion. The Bronx Bombers continue to romp against the Indians, with Kluber’s poor postseason of 2018 rearing it’s ugly head again.
In four games, the Yankees are through, sweeping their way to the WS.