With the division and wildcard leaders still jockeying for postseason position, it’s high time the talk of this Yankees team making any run at the playoffs finally be put to bed. Mercifully, the end of a disastrously disappointing season is finally approaching, and I find myself relieved it will happen sooner rather than later. The Yankees will not make the postseason for numerous reasons, yet the following three things are particularly obvious and glaring. Honestly, looking at where the Yankees sit now, it shows the fan base that there is a need for significant changes, from the front office and throughout the field and bullpen.
Offensively: The Yankee lineup puts absolutely no pressure on opposing teams. None! Recently, the Yankees left 29 runners on base in a weekend series embarrassment against Detroit. That’s just not having any plan at the plate, not knowing situations, and honestly, just being selfish. Inning after inning, the Yanks continually have “nobody on and two out” situations, and frequently have one insignificant hit through 6 or 7 innings. That simply will not win ballgames! Watching a Yankees game is like watching a car wreck on the road: you don’t want to look, but you just have to. With their decision to showcase some of their young talent for September, there is a hope for an increase in their offensive numbers. Darryl Strawberry recently said that when the ‘86 Mets took the field, “we wanted to step on your neck.” They had the team, they had the swagger. They played well together. This Yankee team has none of that mythical aura surrounding them when they hit the field. They don’t play very well together. They really have no swagger, and until they find the right group of players who do play well together, then this is the product that they will keep putting out for the fan base.
Secondly, the defensive alignments that Aaron Boone has been putting out on the field are a mess. The outfield situation with Aaron Hicks back at the beginning of Spring has continued to be a problem throughout the season regardless of who is being shuffled around in the outfield. Stanton is a liability because he lacks hustle, and risks injuring himself the more he is used on defense. Let’s face it; the more players that are playing out of their natural position, is a huge sign of trouble. Lemahieu playing first base, IKF being used in the outfield, guys named Jake Bauers, Ben Rortvedt, and Billy McKinney in the lineup, you gotta believe that there’s no way that those guys are competing for anything close to a wildcard spot, let’s be honest.
Finally, as if a lackluster offense and misaligned defense aren’t big enough problems to deal with, the pitching situation is just an absolute mess, from the starting rotation, all the way through the bullpen. From Gerrit Cole to Tommy Kahnle, nobody has performed up to their expectations this season. Matt Blake has to go; it’s time for a change. Gerrit Cole is just not a number one, period. He definitely would complement a solid number one guy, but he just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. He consistently skates the line between dominant, and inconsistent. Sure, he can have 9 Ks and a lead after the 5th inning, but that’s where he is most vulnerable to a walk, a knock, an error, and then giving up a 3-run job to lose a lead within 8 pitches.
Luis Severino has been sent out on more occasions than I can think of, just hoping that he can give them some length. He has been a far cry from the overpowering bat-breaking hurler from the past two seasons, and while he recently had a 14-inning scoreless streak, he honestly has had a hard time getting consistent starts. Could he be headed for an arm injury? We will see. Domingo German has his own inconsistencies and personal problems to get sorted out before next season, but don’t be surprised if he isn’t included in an off season deal. Carlos Rodon has been forced to come back too early from his back symptoms just to give them an opportunity to compete, but when the offense does not help out, it puts added pressure on that already suspect back issue. And, if you have a back issue, there’s added stress on your arm. But with Nestor Cortes shut down with a rotator cuff issue, and Frankie Montas and his shoulder situation, the Yankees seem content to work Cole and Rodon now, and give them the off season to recover, later.
Looking at the bullpen, it’s a hodge-podge collection who have struggled all season. Esteban Loaisiga is starting to break down after two years of overwork. Clay Holmes and Michael King have to work on a new pitch, and Wandy Peralta needs another lefty to join him on the roster, if the Yankees even decide to keep him. With the Yankees sitting 8.5 games behind in the wildcard standings, the “September Showcase“ of young talent gives management an opportunity to see what the kids bring to the table, but also what they could bring on the off season trade market to make them more competitive next season, and to have the “win now” sense of urgency that is missing from the franchise. It will be interesting to see how this New York mess plays out.
Submitted by Jason Beck