Yankees fans can (and do) rue over what is happening to the promise of what Judge and Stanton can deliver to the team. But this can’t go on forever.
Yankees fans can most likely recall the morning of December 12, 2017, when they first learned that Brian Cashman had moved in like a stealth bomber to “relieve” Derek Jeter and his Miami Marlins from the $325 million contract belonging to Giancarlo Stanton.
All the Yankees needed to possess was some starting pitching – and the Evil Empire was back.
And near euphoria broke out when on April 3 of the 2018 season, when the Yankees trio all went yard within the first four innings of the game. Ironically, this followed a game in which Stanton struck out five times. But who cared? It was showtime at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees And A Dream All But Shattered
Well…do I have to tell you how that scene compares to where we are today with Stanton and Judge – and even more of concern – where the Yankees will be tomorrow?
Both players will not be in the Yankees lineup when the team takes the field to open the 2020 season in Baltimore.
The Yankees have enough depth to fill their absence using a combination of Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, and Miguel Andujar to more than keeping the team afloat in what should be a romp to the title in the American League East.
Now, almost assured will be Brian Cashman’s tracking of possible trades to add a seasoned outfielder to the clubhouse.
Yankees: Beyond The Now Is The Future
But beyond the now is the future, and for the Yankees that is fast becoming a problem they would rather avoid, but which increasingly says they can’t.
Do you want to call it injury prone? Or maybe a football body stuffed awkwardly into a baseball body?
Who knows, but all the Yankees can do is count the number of games their lineup is not at full strength.
An article I wrote earlier today centered on the Yankee’s inattention to what their players are doing during the offseason, and how that dysfunction is hurting them now.
But the real issue is the two elephants in the room – Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.
For the organization, each is a public relations problem, as well as a complicated financial issue no one wishes to confront.
Aaron Judge is the face of the New York Yankees. He has been widely spoken of as the next Captain of the team. He is wonderful. He does everything right (the “Yankees” way).
Giancarlo Stanton is the Everready Bunny when it comes to smiling. In essence, always upbeat and seemingly having no need to engage Judge in a “Derek Jeter vs. Alex Rodriguez” tug of war to be The Yankee.
How Much Is Enough And What To Do
But how much is enough? Short of trading Stanton, the team has little recourse in being able to balance their books on Stanton. He’s owed roughly $200 million that will bring him to the ripe old age of 38 in a Yankees uniform.
With Aaron Judge, the Yankees have the upper hand as his $8.5 million settlement is the first of the arbitration years before Judge reaches free agency.
No play – no pay can be the Yankee’s stance, but at what cost? We’re talking about Aaron Judge here and not Yoenis Cespedes, who (finally) was forced to succumb to reality with a team-favorable renegotiated contract for this year.
I don’t have the answers. All I can do is point out the problem, and from there, it’s Brian Cashman’s job to take over, finding something that works for all parties.
Or, will the Yankees put the blinders on, hoping beyond hope these two remarkably specimens of humankind can somehow rebound to become reliable contributors to a team still seeking their first World Title in more than a decade.
Tell me, Brian. All I know is this just ain’t working.