In the coming weeks, the New York Yankees face some crucial decisions. While significant overhauls in the front office strategy may not be on the cards, the players, especially stars like Aaron Judge and Cy Young contender Gerrit Cole, are gearing up to voice their concerns. Their aim? Strengthening the roster and addressing some persistent weaknesses that have affected team performance in recent seasons.
Cole emphasized the importance of player representation when making key decisions. After all, it’s the players who have first-hand experience of on-field dynamics and understand the team’s vulnerabilities. He stated, via the New York Post, “I think the players need to be represented. Between Aaron [Judge] and I, that will happen.”
Evaluating the Yankees’ Past Decisions
While the Yankees’ front office has been attuned to players’ feedback before, recent acquisitions have raised eyebrows. Some decisions, like bringing in Frankie Montas, despite his injury, or opting for Harrison Bader with his plantar fasciitis, have not paid off. Add to that the expensive deal with Josh Donaldson, which many view as a misstep. Yet, Cole remains hopeful about the team’s resilience and adaptability, noting, “Our M.O. is always trying to be competitive and always trying to get better.”
However, a significant blow for the team was the absence of crucial players like Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo for most of the season. Judge’s participation, limited to 106 games, was his lowest since 2019. Despite his impressive stats, including .267 batting average with a .406 OBP, 37 homers, and 75 RBIs, the Yankees struggled to fill the gap in the lineup.
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A clear depth issue became evident, especially when Rizzo, an essential lefty batter, faced prolonged health issues before finally getting a concussion diagnosis. Cole reflected on this challenge, asserting, “We should be able to do a better job with those guys not playing. We should be able to do a better job there as a group, producing more wins without those guys in the lineup.”
With a sizeable budget of around $50 million for the off-season, the Yankees are in a position to make impactful acquisitions. Buzz suggests that Yoshinobu Yamamoto might be on their radar. Also, to bolster the outfield, Kevin Kiermaier of the Toronto Blue Jays might be a potential fit, at least until Jasson Dominguez is back in action.
However, the silver lining is the collaborative spirit shown by Cole and Judge. Their proactive approach towards addressing team concerns might be the breath of fresh air the Yankees need, especially when trust in the front office is waning.