The New York Yankees‘ recent road trip on the West Coast, battling the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals, ended in disappointment. The Yankees’ strategy of heavily depending on starting pitching to deliver excellent performances, coupled with their inability to score runs, was significantly exposed as they split the six games 3–3.
Yankees Desperately Miss Aaron Judge
The Yankees are feeling the absence of their powerhouse, Aaron Judge, who is still a few weeks away from returning. Their returning player, Carlos Rodon, is ready to come back in a few days following his third successful rehab assignment.
However, a lack of offensive production, especially in the outfield, and several high-price veterans failing to contribute positively, are among the team’s pressing concerns.
During their Sunday afternoon game against former Yankee, Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees managed to secure only three hits, two of which were against Montgomery. He concluded his 6.2 innings with six strikeouts and no scores.
Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, needs to act fast. If the team fails to acquire a high-performing batter soon, their playoff chances could diminish significantly, forcing them into a challenging position in the season’s final weeks.
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Three Key Areas for Yankees to Improve
1. Left Field
Over recent months, the Yankees have relied on a rotating set of players to fill the left field. After the competition between Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera dissolved, players such as Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jake Bauers, and Billy McKinney were relied upon.
Bauers is currently batting .227 with a .313 OBP this season, with seven homers and 19 RBIs. Despite his 116 wRC+, his inconsistent performance is evident, as illustrated by his struggle to reach base in June.
IKF, now in a utility role, is batting .256 with a .305 OBP, including five homers and 22 RBIs. Given IKF’s recent performance, the Yankees would prefer to keep him in a utility role rather than as a regular starter, highlighting the need for a reliable left fielder.
2. Starting Pitcher
While the Yankees’ starting rotation has been fairly stable this year, there are some significant concerns. Luis Severino, the 29-year-old with a 6.30 ERA this season, put in a poor performance against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, yielding seven earned runs over four innings.
The team is uncertain of what Rodon will deliver until he completes a few more starts, and Nestor Cortés has struggled before his injury. Hence, acquiring a starting pitcher with an expiring contract or some degree of team control may be a prudent move.
José Treviño’s dismal offensive season raises the question of whether the Yankees should invest in an offensive catcher. Treviño, though a formidable defensive asset with a 49.8% strike rate and five catcher framing runs, has a .210 average, a .252 OBP, three homers, and 14 RBIs this season. His current 52 wRC+, the worst in his career, makes him a weak offensive player.
Ultimately, the offense remains the Yankees’ main concern, and the catcher position continues to pose a problem. Austin Wells, currently in Double-A, is displaying good power and contact from the left side, but he still needs time to refine his defensive skills at the position. However, several catchers in the Triple-A squad are hindering Wells’ progression, which might delay his promotion until 2024.