New York Yankees News/Rumors: Are the Yankees losing their youngest fans?

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Aaron Judge
Aug 27, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) signs autographs for fans before a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees a few days ago came of another disappointing season, with another postseason loss. It seems like the Yankees build up hope in fans and then disappoint them year after year. This year the Yankees looked like the team to beat when they took the Wild Card Series away from the Cleveland Indians in just two games while scoring an amazing 22 runs. But then the bats fell flat in the Tampa Bay Rays ALDS series with the Yankees losing in five games.

One problem the New York Yankees have faced during the regular season was also prevalent in the postseason. For the most part, when the Yankee pitching was on, the batters didn’t support them. Then when the hitters were hot, the pitching failed.  If you take a closer look at this postseason, you will notice, yes, they scored 22 runs in the Wild Card, but they also gave up 13 runs.  When you give up thirteen runs in two games, it normally means that you will lose.

The New York Yankees ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays was the exact opposite. The Yankees gave up 6 1/2 runs per game. In the Rays series, the Yankees only gave up 4.2 runs per game but lost the series.  In all five games, the Yankees only scored 24, that’s almost the same as the runs they scored in just two games against the Indians.

The bottom line is that the Tampa Bay Rays outpitched and outhit the Yankees. The New York Yankees came away from a disappointing season of not winning the division, falling seven games behind, and not advancing in the postseason. With disappointing results year after year, are the Yankees losing it’s youngest fans who don’t want to be fans of a losing team. The fact is that even teens don’t think of the Yankees as a winner.  All they have seen is the Yankees lose. Yes, they won a World Series in 2009, but many of those teens were too young to remember that, kids 11 or under have never seen the Yankees win.

How long will the Yankees be thought of as the winningest sports franchise in the world, if they keep losing year after year?  How long will they keep their fanbase? In the Yankees illustrious 107 year history, and even with their most in baseball 27 World Championships, they have gone through long droughts of performing poorly before. For 13 years between 1982 to 1994, they never lost a postseason, because they never made it that far. And that was under the leadership of the great George M. Steinbrenner.

They had another poor stretch from 1963 to 1975, much that under CBS Broadcasting ownership. The bottom line is that the Yankees always come back and win again.  The question this year is, how long will it take for that to happen again? The Yankees have several problems to solve this offseason, and after a coronavirus season that saw no fans in the stands, how much will the Yankees be willing to spend to solve those problems? After spending $324MM on Gerrit Cole last offseason, and no revenue this past season, owner Hal Steinbrenner will likely hold the purse strings close.

If the New York Yankees will win it all next year, they have to solve the number one problem, pitching. The Yankees are going to lose all but two of their starting pitchers to free agency.  Further, their once-dominant bullpen is now only average with the ill-performing Adam Ottavino and the missing Tommy Kahnle, who will likely miss most of the 2021 season, if not all of it, returning from Tommy John surgery.

I believe that the New York Yankees need another premium starter, another top arm in the bullpen, to solve the pitching problems. To start to fix the hitting situation, they need to depend less on the homer and more on contact hitting, so the team can win when they don’t hit those spectacular homers.  To do that, they need to replace a catcher that can’t hit the ball and add a contact hitter that is also a good shortstop.

My guess is that the New York Yankees may make some moves, but more likely will not spend the dollars and put their hopes on up and coming prospects. The Yankees will have to pay to keep DJ LeMahieu and are facing many of the Baby Bombers becoming FA eligible in the next few seasons. Whichever they do, they have to start winning again, as they approach the longest losing streak in their 107-year history and face the loss of even more young fans.