The Yankees have a window to save their season but it’s closing fast

yankees, aaron judge
May 29, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the third inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The reality is straightforward: Without the return of superstar slugger Aaron Judge in the next few weeks, the New York Yankees stand little chance of advancing in the AL East or the Wild Card standings.

In an ideal scenario, the Yankees could remain competitive until Judge returns, also leveraging the trade deadline to acquire new talent to strengthen the outfield and bolster the batting order.

Analyzing Current Standings and Future Reinforcements

Currently, the Yankees are four games away from a Wild Card spot. However, any significant reinforcements aren’t expected until closer to the deadline when more teams become potential trade partners. Several clubs are still deciding their strategy, so General Manager Brian Cashman prefers to wait until more targets are available.

For now, Manager Aaron Boone’s focus must be on securing victories to keep the Yankees competitive, ensuring they don’t fall too far behind.

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The Anticipated Impact of Aaron Judge’s Return

If Judge can make a comeback and replicate his pre-injury performance of a .291 batting average and .404 OBP, the team’s offense will undoubtedly see a significant boost.

In addition to Judge’s return, Cashman has been linked with potential trades for outfielders such as Cody Bellinger and Dylan Carlson. Bellinger, in particular, could be an excellent addition, especially given his current hot streak.

The 28-year-old outfielder, who is in a contract year, boasts a .310 average with a .365 OBP, including 12 home runs, 35 RBIs, and a 137 wRC+. The simultaneous return of Judge and the acquisition of a player like Bellinger could revitalize the team and inject much-needed confidence into a struggling batting order.

The Strategy Ahead: Taking Risks and Making Moves

Contrary to the opinion of those who believe the Yankees should sell at the deadline, Cashman appears determined to fight. Only four games away from a Wild Card spot, the Yankees could potentially make a decisive run in August and September, dramatically altering their season’s narrative.

The goal is clear: make the playoffs. From there, anything can happen. But to achieve this, the team needs to start making strategic moves, especially after a sweeping defeat by the Los Angeles Angels, a team performing below average even without Mike Trout.

Reflecting on the Yankees’ Season-Saving Tendencies

There’s an ongoing narrative that the Yankees are always attempting to save their season at the trade deadline, suggesting potential issues with roster construction.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner previously expressed his concern, stating that hard questions would need to be asked if the Yankees failed to make the playoffs, especially considering the overall health of the roster.

Losing Judge was undoubtedly a significant blow. However, he can’t be expected to carry the entire team, especially considering the Yankees’ $290 million payroll and the underperformance of many veteran players. It’s clear that a comprehensive and strategic approach is needed for the Yankees to regain their competitive edge.