The New York Yankees‘ performance in the MLB this season has caught many by surprise, particularly with several trades falling through and free-agent acquisitions not delivering as expected. Their financial allocation has been questionable, with more funds directed towards injured list players rather than those significantly impacting the win column.
Notably, Carlos Rodon, despite his whopping $162 million deal, delivered a disheartening 5.90 ERA this season, marking his poorest performance since his MLB debut in 2015.
Added to this list of underperformers are Frankie Montas and Josh Donaldson. Both made minimal field appearances this year. Donaldson even had to be waived to create roster space for emerging prospects. The Yankees’ management is far from pleased, a sentiment echoed by general manager Brian Cashman in a recent press conference. He openly declared the season as a “disaster” and expressed the organization’s disappointment and frustration.
“It’s been a disaster this season. Yes, definitely a shock. We’re embarrassed by it,” Cashman said last month. “We’re really obviously disappointed, frustrated, angered. And that’s representative from every aspect of this franchise from top to bottom.”
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A Need for Change
In light of the Yankees’ unexpected downturn, owner Hal Steinbrenner is rumored to be considering external expertise to steer the ship right. The current decision-making patterns and strategies demand a thorough revision. The root cause—be it an over-reliance on analytics or collective poor choices—needs pinpointing.
The silver lining in this cloudy season? The Yankees’ decision to field younger prospects, albeit with a fair share of setbacks. One such is Jasson Dominguez’s unfortunate right UCL tear, which mandated a Tommy John surgery. Despite the hurdles, manager Aaron Boone remains hopeful, emphasizing the importance of nurturing budding talent. He believes that offering regular gameplay to these prospects can prove beneficial in the short term, possibly even providing the much-needed spark to the team.
“We’re making a commitment to these guys that they’re going to be playing regularly,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said at the time (per MLB.com). “We’re hoping that in the short-term that’s something that serves us well in the ability to win games, bringing up talented players that can provide a spark and some athleticism.”
Investing in the Yankees’ Future
The commitment to Aaron Judge, solidified by a $360 million deal, was clear: The Yankees promised to assemble a championship-worthy roster. With a talented pitcher like Gerrit Cole in their lineup, who’s on track for the Cy Young Award, and sizable investments in marquee baseball personalities, the team’s current state remains perplexing. If their high payroll doesn’t lead to a turnaround soon, the road ahead may get trickier.
Yet, hope springs with the upcoming winter season. Strategic player acquisitions at reasonable prices can be a game-changer. Relying on aging veterans with hefty price tags isn’t a feasible approach anymore, making it essential to avoid repeating the Donaldson scenario.
Early whispers link the Yankees to potential free agents, one name standing out being Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a top pitcher from the international circuit. The off-season presents ample opportunities for recruitment, but the Yankees must prioritize durability—a factor they seemed to overlook in recent years.