This Yankees team isn’t doing it. Spin Doctor Aaron Boone says it’s only temporary, and numbers don’t lie – roster changes are needed – now!
Author’s Note: I wrote this Yankees piece two weeks ago but put it aside thinking it’s early. Let’s see what happens. Today, we are 9-13, in last place, 4-7 at home, with a division worst -21 run differential…
The Yankees are sputtering. Rougned Odor has been picked up from the Texas Rangers to solidify on the infield, Tyler Wade has been shuffled off to the Taxi Squad, Ditto Domingo German, Gleyber Torres continues to not impress at shortstop, Luke Voit can’t stand on his own two feet for very long – and Gary Sanchez is still Gary Sanchez behind the plate in a critical position – but not to worry – Spin Doctor Aaron Boone sees the cup half full.
Yes, yes, we know the season is only but a few games old, and there are “still plenty of games to be played,” blah, blah, blah.
But you see, that’s the problem if the Yankees continue to believe they are the elite of the American League East, even in the face of the Tampa Bay Rays who are playing with the loss of Charlie Morton and Blake Snell, and an always payroll reduced but still capable team.
The Boston Red Sox? What do they have, and where did they come from?
What Will The Yankees Team Look Like In The Year 2025?
But this is not about today as much as it is about tomorrow when the Yankees will be faced with the rising arbitration costs and impending free agency of Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Judge.
Add to those decisions is their “walk-crazy” centerfielder, Aaron Hicks, who is batting in a lineup in dire need of left-handed power (he’s a switch-hitter) and carrying the brunt of a seven-year $70 million contract that doesn’t expire until 2025.
In the year 2025…remember the song? Who could think then we were on the brink of knowing it was coming soon?
My question, and the one I’m thinking the Yankees are kicking the can down the road on, and what will the Yankees roster look like then?
Furthermore, what is their thinking now in aggressively making those hard and difficult choices sooner rather than later?
Yankees: Are They A Daring Or Staid Organization
We’ve been down the Gary Sanchez road many times before, almost to the point of ad nausea, but the fact is he’s still on the team, and he still draws the incessant raves of a belief that he will be a major – and not just a contributor – to the Yankees team – today!
Ditto Gleyber Torres, who we remember as being “stolen” from the Chicago Cubs for Aroldis Chapman as they were in the proverbial baseball “all-out” mode to win a World Title.
Would the Yankees dare trade Gleyber Torres at this stage of his defensive woes at shortstop, but with the prospect of his value still being high – or wait to hold onto the belief he’s still the most prized player during his years in their Cubs, they thought they were getting?
Or, will the Yankees let the dance continue to next year when Torres reaches arbitration status, and those seemingly automatic raises begin to pile up? (see Aaron Judge’s meteor-like rise in salary despite limited playing time).
The risk versus the reward, that is always the question in baseball when GMs ponder their team.
Yankees: The Risk Versus The Reward
We like this guy, we always have, and we still believe…
But when does a team like the Yankees take a harsh look at reality in someone like Aroldis Chapman, who not once but twice has sent the Yankees home after surrendering walk-off home runs in the players?
What do you say – he had an excellent regular season? Do you attempt to trade him? Or do you hold on to the belief and prayer that three times is the lucky charm?
The same for Luke Voit, who is beginning to look like the second coming of Greg Bird with unique and ongoing trouble with his feet?
We sometimes assume first base is a gimme position – anyone can play there – but the grind on a player’s feet and legs takes its toll, especially when holding a runner and moving into fielding position happens every pitch,
Here’s another player in Voit whom the Yankees should have as part of their assessment for their future. Two consecutive seasons with feet and leg-related issues tell a story.
Again, do the Yankees hold on because they can and still win more than they lose, or do they make a move with Voit now while his value remains high?
As the list goes on with a player who was lights out in 2019, Miguel Andujar finished second win a disputed vote for the Rookie Of The Year Award that went to Shoei Ohtani but since then has digressed health-wise while still never mastering play at third base.
The Yankees have fielded numerous calls on Andujar, and all have been rejected by Brian Cashman and the Yankees with a “thanks, but I think we’ll keep him” response. Again, when do the Yankees pull the plug?
Yankees: When Is It Time To Pull The Plug
We speak only of position players ignoring the pitching staff because a team’s starting lineup comprises the best players on a team. One that religiously is out there every day, save for managerial decisions to rest player(s) of his choice.
Pitching staffs and especially starters are subject to the whims of injury. They come, and they go. Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon may or not be on the Yankees playoff roster come October. Ditto Domingo German and Luis Severino when he makes his comeback start mid-summer.
The Yankees know and expect the need for some juggling when it comes to their starters. Deivi Garcia and Michael King wait in the wings, but there is no assurance they are fully ready to tackle the job either.
So, back to the question again. Will the Yankees ever dare trade Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Hicks now for whatever their market value is in exchange for a revamped team we were supposed to have in the first place with the Baby Bombers?
It’s not as if the Yankees can believe they have a team (now) that can go all the way to reverse the embarrassment of not having achieved a World Title in a dozen years.
Or is it, and do they say, “what the hell, let’s see how far we can go with what we have,” and we’ll worry about later – later?
As many of us know, it’s easy to sit here outside the bubble and to look in, but do we believe this Yankees team is anything special?
They’re better than most, but so what? So are the Braves, Nationals, Twins, Brewers, and the Mets, who will all challenge and make noise in the fight to reach the playoffs and beyond.
Albert Einstein’s Definition Of Insanity
Time has a way of creeping by in baseball as players who could run first to third in a flash or throw 98 heat to batters suddenly find themselves facing one of two choices.
Do I keep on with what I’ve been doing, or do I make adjustments to fit the need of a changing game if I want to stay in this league?
It’s no different with teams as we see the Yankees slogging along with the belief that power and home runs are supreme, even as they have yet to find (and there have been many) left-handed power bats that can spray the short porch at Yankee Stadium.
Re-Building is a no-no in baseball, and teams will jump over hoops before admitting to their fan base its current strategy for the future.
But these are the New York Yankees, a team with a legacy of winning World Series, the most of any team subject to none.
Gene Michael was aware of that legacy when he took hold of George Steinbrenner’s decree to get me a dominant team – for the future.
Whereupon Michael found Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte, backing them up with Joe Girardi to constitute a completely remade team versus the one that has been slogging through the early 90s.
Brian Cashman: Overrated And Under-Challenged
Brian Cashman has not been fully challenged in years. His reputation precedes his value today in a sport where it only matters what you do for me today.
In that respect, do you think Brian Cashman has handed Aaron Boone a championship-caliber team for the 2021 season?
Las Vegas says yes, they always do. But what do they know except they’re looking for sucker bets they always receive?
Upheaval during a season is never a good choice, and for that reason, the Yankees will be what they are for 2021.
But surely, it’s time for Yankees brass to begin looking at the offseason when they can add by subtraction to make the team truly competitive. Because this just ain’t working.
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Thanks Steve! Happy to be part of the conversation. I rarely call for a manager’s head, but Aaron is like the Captain of the Titanic screaming that all is well as they go head-on into the iceberg. or Chip Diller in Animal House, take your pick.