The plain truth is this: the New York Yankees cannot afford to lose their superstar slugger, Aaron Judge, for the remainder of the 2023 season. The consequences would be devastating for their offensive performance.
Struggling Yankees Offense
In the absence of Judge, the Yankees’ offense has proven to be incapacitated and remarkably inconsistent. The bulk of the team’s runs over the last two matches have come from reserve outfielder Billy McKinney, while high-ticket veterans are significantly underperforming. These instances reveal a clear failure in the team’s roster construction.
Growing Concerns Over Aaron Judge’s Recovery
There are escalating worries over whether Judge will be able to make a return this season. Despite his efforts to downplay these concerns, the reigning MVP is aware of the potential for a prolonged recovery time. His injury causes discomfort even during walking, which he will have to manage moving forward.
In Judge’s words, “I’ve got to knock out the rehab stuff. I’ve had different injuries over the years where it’s going to take a while. It’s not going to be perfect here in a couple of weeks. Once we can manage the pain, we’re going to be in a good spot.”
Judge acknowledges that his injury may affect him throughout the season. If his mobility is compromised, a full return may be impossible.
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Uncertainty Surrounding Injury Timeline
The Yankees have been exceedingly cautious about providing a timeline for Judge’s recovery. This follows his serious toe injury sustained after colliding with a concrete slab beneath the outfield wall in a match against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Refusing to provide a concrete timeline, Judge maintains that his focus is on recovery: “I’m not giving you any timeline. There’s no need. I’ve just got to get better and then I’ll be out there.”
Additionally, Manager Aaron Boone cannot guarantee Judge’s return this season, hinting at the looming possibility of his absence for the remainder of the season.
Implications for the Postseason
Without their premier player, the Yankees’ chances of a deep postseason run, let alone securing a playoff spot, are significantly weakened.
Judge’s departure has left the team with a .291 batting average, a .404 OBP, alongside 19 home runs and 40 RBIs. Considering his remarkable statistics, including a 188 wRC+ and 2.8 WAR, replicating his contributions will be a tall order.
Recent Yankees Victory and Severino’s Performance
Despite these challenges, the Yankees managed to secure a 1-0 victory against the Texas Rangers on a recent Saturday afternoon. The standout performance was a stellar pitching show by Luis Severino.
Severino has faced challenges since his return from injury, with a current 5.25 ERA across 36 innings. All his performance metrics, including strikeouts, left-on-base percentage, and ground ball rates, are declining while his home run rate is on the rise. We have yet to see the best of the 29-year-old starter.
However, Severino provided a glimmer of hope by pitching six scoreless innings against a formidable Texas team, striking out four batters along the way. This marks a significant turnaround for Severino, which the Yankees sorely need, as they work on re-establishing their offensive rhythm.