Yankees: Good news and bad news in 5-2 season finale defeated to Royals

mlb: toronto blue jays at new york yankees, michael king
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The New York Yankees squared off against the Kansas City Royals in an anti-climactic season finale (5-2). While the Bombers aimed for a victorious send-off, Michael King, shifting from the bullpen to the starting rotation, had a challenging day. He conceded four earned runs from eight hits in four innings, making 71 pitches with 50 strikes. King closed his season with an ERA of 2.75.

Yankees’ Bullpen and Batting Performances

From the bullpen, Jhony Brito allowed one earned run in three innings, rounding off his year with a 4.28 ERA. On the offensive side, the Yankees logged seven hits and as many strikeouts. Isiah Kiner-Falefa stood out by scoring the team’s only two runs. Continuing his impressive form, 24-year-old catcher Austin Wells garnered three hits in four at-bats. He culminated his season with a .229 average, a .257 OBP, and a .486 slugging rate.

The Catcher’s Quandary: Wells or Treviño?

Given Wells’ performance, the Yankees might consider him as a starting catcher option for 2024 or, at the very least, a backup for José Treviño. Despite Treviño’s season being cut short by a right wrist injury, he’s anticipated to be fit for spring training in 2024. With his potential as Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher and Wells showcasing solid defense and offense, the catcher position offers exciting prospects for the Yankees.

Future Moves: Aaron Judge at the Helm

October heralds a season of change for the Yankees. Captain Aaron Judge is set to play a pivotal role in the reshuffling. Prior to the season finale, Judge voiced concerns regarding analytics application and lineup balance.

“Just because you get to the big leagues and you get to New York, you’ve still got to improve,” Judge said. “You’ve still got to make adjustments. That’s what I think these extra four weeks will help guys figure out, and get them on the right path.”

The team’s management, led by owner Hal Steinbrenner, engaged a third party for a comprehensive evaluation of the front office. Insights from this assessment will hopefully guide the Yankees toward impactful decisions. With a crucial free agency phase approaching, the Yankees are on the lookout for top-tier talent without breaking the bank.

Prominent names like Cody Bellinger are up for grabs. However, given Bellinger’s inconsistent performance, the Yankees might hesitate to make a heavy investment. On the other hand, 25-year-old Yoshinobu Yamamoto, having showcased his mettle overseas, could be a tempting gamble for reinforcing the Yankees’ rotation.

The challenge ahead for the Yankees involves leveraging their abundant resources and talent. It’s imperative for the front office to introspect, learn from past misjudgments, and sidestep pitfalls like hasty trades for players akin to Josh Donaldson and Frankie Montas.

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