Yankees’ Aaron Boone dampens mood on Luis Severino return in 2021

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees are thin in their starting pitching rotation after losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and JA Happ to free agency this off-season. While it is possible they still bring back Tanaka or Paxton, the Happ train has certainly left and will not stop again in New York.

Nonetheless, the Yankees don’t necessarily have a number two pitcher behind Gerrit Cole, which was a problem during the 2020 season as a bullpen was forced to pick up the slack at times, forcing significant fatigue on the unit.

If the Bombers can’t find a solid pairing with Cole, they will be facing a similar problem in 2021, one that pops up every year and ultimately drags down the efficiency of the team and their World Series aspirations.

However, the Yankees will be gaining back Luis Severino and potentially Domingo German, depending on if ownership provides him with a second chance in pinstripes. Severino, though, was expected to be the team’s ace before going down in 2019, pitching just 12 innings. He has now missed two full years of baseball and is expected to make a return in 2021, but there will certainly be hiccups along the way.

Field manager Aaron Boone spoke with the media this past week, indicating they feel confident with their young developing pitchers.

“We do feel really good about our depth and some of the experience guys were able to gain this season,’’ Boone said. “But it’s a long way between now and spring training.’’

Severino’s return will provide the Yankees with support and reinforcement, but it could happen after the start of the 2021 campaign.

Boone stated that Luis Severino is “doing well in his recovery,” but he’s still quite a ways away from seeing the mound in a professional game.

Severino hasn’t even begun throwing off a mound, and the Yankees will “certainly be conservative’’ with his return, “especially a guy as valuable and important as Luis is to our team.’’

There is a long journey ahead for Severino, who is working his way back slowly. Back in 2018, he finished with a 3.39 ERA, 19 wins, a 41.1% ground ball rate, and 10.35 strikeouts per nine. Overall, he was fantastic and was trending toward ace status. If he can regain his old form, the Bombers will have their number two arm, but that’s a big “if.”

Yankees: Michael Kay slams Aaron Boone for defending Gary Sanchez

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

On a recent appearance on YES Network’s Yankees Hot Stove, Aaron Boone defended his All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez. It’s not the first time that he has stood up to his player. This time, he said that people are too harsh on their criticism towards the slugger. “I think he’s been unfairly criticized a lot. I think at times it’s over the top and people are blinded by some of the things that he’s done really well,” the skipper said on Monday.

After hearing those comments, Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay expressed his frustration. He heavily criticized Boone on his Tuesday ESPN Radio show.

”I’ve liked this guy,” Kay said. “But when he said that the (Sanchez) criticism was over the top, I was dumbfounded. It almost made me pull my hair. It’s so unfair.”

Sanchez hit 10 homers in 2020, but struggled to the tune of a .147 average and a 36 percent strikeout rate. He was benched in five of the New York Yankees’ seven postseason games, with Boone making the decision.

“His whole career, I’ve never killed Gary Sanchez,” Kay said. “I think that he had a really terrible year this year. I’m not going to put lipstick on a pig. And that’s why I was so offended that we were over the top. How are we over the top?

“My advice to Aaron, although I don’t know that he would take any advice from me, is you’re ruining your credibility by saying stuff like that because everybody has eyes. Everybody saw what (Sanchez) did. Everybody saw the year that he had. Everybody saw that you didn’t start him in a win-or-go-home game.

“You’re not supposed rip your players. I get that. But you’re going over the top saying all the good things that (Sanchez) does when you didn’t play him. And you might lose credibility with your players because Gerrit Cole didn’t want to pitch to him.

“And you can’t say it was just one bad year. Look at the year before last year. He didn’t have a good year then either. And there’s some things (Boone said that Sanchez) does well? Okay, so you brought in Tanner Swanson, the catching instructor, to teach him how to frame pitches better, especially lower pitches. He got better at that, but there were still passed balls because he’s down on his knee. So please don’t say that the criticism was over the top.”

The Yankees’ skipper had Sanchez’s back, but…

On Monday, the Yankees’ skipper had conceded that 2020 was “certainly a challenging year for him and a struggle for him in a lot of ways, but that’s okay. That’s part of the game. Sometimes you have a tough season, and this season was tough for so many people across the league for different reasons.”

Kay said he thinks the Yankees will end up keeping Sanchez.

“I am not opposed to bringing Sanchez back,” Kay said. “I’m not. I’ve seen the power. And if Gary Sanchez went somewhere else and turned it around, it wouldn’t be a good look for the Yankees. But there’s only so many times you can say, ‘It’s New York.’ Gary Sanchez was a phenom in New York (in 2016 and 2017). They didn’t change the city, and if anything, this year should have been easier. There wasn’t a person in the stands. There was no media pressure. I could count on two hands the times that Gary had to go on a Zoom call. When writers and media are allowed in the clubhouse, you can be cornered any day.”

“Personally, I think (the Yankees) broke him because of their insistence on him being better defensively. And I don’t blame them for that, either. But I don’t know if Gary was able to handle the overflow of information. ‘Stay down on one knee, worry about framing.’ The Yankees have a very complicated game plan before every game, and then you expect the guy to hit 35-to-40 home runs. Maybe they think he still has it in him. But I know that (the over-the-top line) is partly directed at me and fans and the writers. Don’t say we were over the top. When you wouldn’t start him in a winner-go-home game, that’s the most over-the-top statement you could make. The best way to discipline a player or tell him you’re disappointed, you don’t write their name in the lineup. You didn’t do that for them for kicks and giggles.”

In his rant, Kay also accused Boone of frequently lying to the media.

“Aaron Boone is one of the finest people I’ve ever met, and I watched him this year spouting stuff out that’s not true,” Kay said. “Like when he took out Aaron Judge out of a game in the fifth inning and he said, ‘Nothing’s wrong with him.’ And then he went on the IL for two months!”

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone comes to Gary Sanchez’s defense once again

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

By now, the struggles of New York Yankees‘ catcher Gary Sanchez in 2020 are well-documented. He hit .147 with 64 strikeouts in 156 at-bats during the shortened season, and even lost his starting job in the postseason to career backup Kyle Higashioka.

Not only that, but the Yankees are reportedly scanning the market to see if they bring another catcher. It is not seen as a priority, but the fact that they are looking at potential replacements is very telling. And don’t forget that the team recently said that they would be willing to listen to offers on their former All-Star backstop.

But despite all this, New York Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone is once again defending his guy. He did say that 2020 was a “challenging year” for Sanchez, but the manager thinks that media and fans have been too hard on Sanchez.

“I think he’s been unfairly criticized a lot,” Boone told Meredith Marakovits Monday on YES Network’s Yankees Hot Stove. “I think at times it’s over the top and people are blinded by some of the things that he’s done really well. This year was certainly a challenging year for him and a struggle for him in a lot of ways, but that’s okay. That’s part of the game. Sometimes you have a tough season, and this season was tough for so many people across the league for different reasons.”

The Yankees’ manager has Sanchez’s back

Boone is right. People tend to forget that Sanchez has been one of the best-hitting catchers ever since he entered the league. To this day, he has a career 117 wRC+, one of the top marks among backstops.

But boy, he had a rough year. Besides the ugly batting line (.147/.253/.365, 69 wRC+) in 2020, the Yankees’ catcher had a league-high six errors and also five passed balls. His struggles led to his benching on five of the seven playoffs games that the Yankees played.

“But we understand that Gary is a major talent, and while he struggled in certain areas, he’s also made amazing strides in certain areas,” Boone said.

Despite his awful line and offensive averages, Sanchez hit 10 home runs and had his best average exit velocity (91.8 mph) since 2016.

“Like with all our players, it’s important that we continue to develop (Sanchez) to be the player that so many of us believe he can be,” Boone explained.

New York Yankees Analysis: The season in review: Management, Analytics, Gut, and what went wrong

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

It’s easy right now for New York Yankees fans to throw mud. Throw it at the pitchers, throw it at the players, and most especially throw it that the Yankee manager Aaron Boone and General Manager Brian Cashman. After all, the Yankees had the most expensive payroll in baseball and were beaten in the division and the ALCS by a team with the third-lowest payroll in all of baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. Fans have a right to know why the Yankees lost and lost badly. Unfortunately, I can’t give you the reason but can point to areas that were a problem.

Considering that the buck ends at the top, we have to look at manager Aaron Boone and General Manager Brian Cashman. Boone has been the manager now for three years, and although he has been in the postseason all three years, he has not brought the team to the World Series. So, what’s up with that. Didi Gregorius, the former Yankee, pointed out the differences between Joe Girardi and Aaron Boone. He reserved the statement “great manager” for Joe Girardi. Gregorius has played under both managers. When referring to Aaron Boone, he said:

“The biggest difference? Let’s see,” Gregorius said. “They’re both good managers. For me, the only thing I see different is Joe goes more with his instincts – that’s what I think – and Boone goes more with analytics.”

That brings up the subject of Analytics.  Boone has no experience with managing, and Joe has years under his belt. Girardi was a savant when it came to using his pitchers and his bullpen. Boone relies on analytics. As a writer, I agree that analytics are crucial to how the game is played today, but the manager’s gut also must be considered.  When analytics tell you to do one thing, but a good manager’s gut tells him the opposite, I will take the manager’s gut to any book that predicts the outcome.

Obviously, neither approach guarantees an outcome. But a manager’s gut should overrule the analytics when those say to do one thing, but the manager says “wait a moment,” so in so is really hot the last two days, I am going to go with him.  Aaron Boone doesn’t do that; he follows the analytics sheet regardless of what it says. Many believe this is because the front office tells him to do that. Boone and Cashman both have said that Boone has the final say.  Quite frankly, that is hard to believe.

Looking at the season as a whole, you could say that the Yankees were greatly hampered by injuries again this year. There is no question that that was true, but they weren’t injured when it counted most, in the postseason. This is where Brian Cashman comes in.  The Yankees at the trade deadline knew that they had holes to fill, yet Cashman did nothing. He said it was too costly. Well, in one respect, he was correct; it cost them a World Series appearance.

The facts differ from Cashman’s explanation; names like Archie Bradley, Kevin Pillar, Jonathan Villar, Robbie Ray, Ross Stripling, Starling Marte, Mike Minor, and Taijuan Walker were dealt for either a player to be named later,  cash, or fledgling MLB-ready prospects/back-end roster players – half of them alone to the Toronto Blue Jays. One must keep in mind that the New York Yankees have the lowest payroll to revenue ratio than any baseball team.

In my opinion manager, Boone made several management mistakes regardless of where they came from. Throughout the year, his pitching decisions were suspect. He either took pitchers out too soon when they were pitching well or let pitchers stay in too long, and let the game get out of reach in several cases. Probably his biggest mistake came in Game 2 of the ALCS when he had Deivi Garcia pitch only one inning in a game the Yankees eventually lost.

Another mistake came when after 15 lousy pitching performances, why did it take the Yankee so long to give Deivi Garcia his major league debut. Where did that decision come from? You have to remember that Cashman did nothing at the trade deadline.

Another place where you could throw mud is at the New York Yankee’s coaching staff. Many who blame the poor season on the pitching could look to the new pitching coach Matt Blake. Why couldn’t he fix the problems some of the pitching staff were suffering from? Another area to look at is with one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. Why did they fall flat so often, even in the postseason?  Marcus Thames is the pitching coach, he had all season to tweak each player’s hitting problems, but there was no positive result.

Maybe the biggest area to be adressed is the entire team philosophy being wrong. The Yankees depend on the long ball to win games; when those homers aren’t there, they generally lose. They lost this year, to a team that is smarter and manufactures runs. When they get a home run, they are more likely to have runners on base. It’s called small ball. Maybe the New York Yankees need to tweak that philosophy to include more players like DJ LeMahieu who can hit the long ball, but when he doesn’t, he gets on base anyway.

To wrap up this article, the bottom line all season was that when the hitting failed, the pitchers pitched well; the lineup hit when the pitching suffered. Very seldom during the season did the two come together at the same time. This brings us back to management. This article gave you few answers but provided much for discussion and many future articles about what went wrong.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees Weekend Roundup: All the Yankee news/rumors in one place

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees are on the sidelines watching the World Series after an early exit from the postseason. The Tampa Bay Rays did a number on the Yankees this season. First, they became Yankee nemesis beating them eight out of ten meetings. Then they took the division from them by 7 games, and finally, beat them 3 games to 2 in the ALCS. The Rays then advanced and beat the Astros to go to the World Series. Since the Yankee exit, they have been busy looking at improving the team before the new season, creating lots of Yankee News and Rumors. Each segment is marked either fact or rumor.

Will the Yankees try to re-sign Didi Gregorius?

With the poor 2020 performance of Gleyber Torres, there is much talk about putting him back at second base, his natural position, and getting a new shortstop. Many say the Yankees should go after the high-priced Franciso Lindor, who would be a dramatic upgrade at shortstop and add a left-hand hitter to the right-hand heavy lineup. Lindor is a switch hitter.  The likelihood of that happening is remote with the Yankees being short on cash after a no fans in the stands season.

There is also talk in baseball circles that the Yankees could re-sign fan favorite Didi Gregorius. Gregorious was not offered a contract extension at the end of 2019. He signed a one-year contract with Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies, where he had a great comeback season. Didi is now a free agent again. With his excellent season hitting .284 with 10 homers, 40 RBIs, and posting a .827 OPS, he finds himself with several suitors.

The Phillies would like to re-sign him. The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels both have questions at short and are likely suitors. Although Gregorius thanked the Yankees for his time with the team, he did feel let down when they did not re-sign him.  Whether that will keep him from being a Yankees again is unknown. He recently said that he has faith in Torres and see him as the future Yankee shortstop.

Torres only hit .243 and has made 25 errors at short since Didi. Torres could still be a Yankee star as he hit 38 home runs in 2019. I could be that his lack of performance at short also affected his hitting. In the coming week, the Yankees will have a virtual meeting to decide what to do with catcher Gary Sanchez. You can bet that Torres will be on the agenda as well. Rumor.

The New York Yankees have Gold Glove finalist

The Rawlings Sporting Goods Company has released its 2020 Gold Glove finalist. Among them are the New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela who continued his excellent play for the Yankees this year. In somewhat of a surprise, they also gave the nod to right-fielder Clint Frazier for his dynamic play at right. It really shouldn’t be a surprise as Frazier is the most improved Yankee player.  Urshela has a shot at winning the award, but not so much for Frazier because Joey Gallo has a wide margin lead. Fact.

Jeter’s Marlins’ hire more Yankee coaches

Derek Jeter, after leaving baseball, said that he would like to own a baseball team. He made that a reality when he bought in on the Miami Marlins, where he is the chief operating officer. One of the first things he did was hire Jorge Posada as a consultant. Jeter has now hired Scranton’s Railriders pitching and hitting coach Tommy Phelps and Phil Plantier, who would have been the Triple-A team’s pitching coach. The Yankees now have more voids to fill. Fact.

Tanaka and Cole go on a double date but signals he may not return

Gerrit Cole and Masahiro have become quite friendly this season. Tanaka has been very active on social media of late especially thanking the Yankees and fans for his years with the Yankees. This would seem to indicate that he may not be returning. He has offered in the past that he might finish out his career back at his Japanese home. He was recently seen on social media at a Starbucks. Tanaka and his wife, Cole and his wife, had a double date to share sushi together. Fact/Rumor

Hal Steinbrenner tips his hat on if  Boone will be Yankee manager.

You can put this question to rest. General Operating Partner Hal Steinbrenner has made it clear in a recent interview that Aaron Boone will be his field manager in 2021. Fact.

Jasson Domingo avoiding all the noise

There is much hype about Yankees prospect Jasson Domingo as one of the best signings since Aaron Judge. Meanwhile, Domingo avoids the hype as he continues to work out and improve his game in the Dominican Republic. Dominguez, 17, is the team’s highest-rated prospect, according to Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Scouts have said that he ignores the hype, but he wants to be the best player in baseball. There is a possibility that Jasson could hit the minors this upcoming season. Fact.

Will Domingo German pitch for the New York Yankees in 2021?

Many Yankee fans wonder if the Yankees 2019 best performing pitcher Domingo German will return to the team next season after completing his suspension for domestic violence. This was recently put in question when Owner Hall Steinbrenner said he would have to show that he is a changed man, in order to return. German is adamant that he will be on the Yankee roster next year. Fact.

Surprise targets the Yankees may go after in Free Agency.

It’s obvious, that the New York Yankee would love to acquire ace pitcher Trevor Bauer, catcher J.T. Realmuto, and shortstop Francisco Lindor, but most likely the money they will require will prevent that.  Cashman and the Yankees may surprise many and instead, go after some not suspected targets.

The Yankees will concentrate most of their energy and money on improving their pitching. Here are a few that might surprise you as being targets. The Yankees may look to LHP Justin Wilson. He can pitch in the Big Apple after being with the Mets. He had a 2.54 ERA over 45 appearances and finishing nine games. Another possibility if they don’t resign Zack Britton is RHP Alex Colome has been Chicago’s closer since they acquired him in 2019, and he’s had a ton of success with 30 saves that year and 12 this season. He has a career 2.95 ERA.

The Yankees will also try to beef up the starting rotation; it will take a lot of money to bring Trevor Bauer to the Bronx; the Yankees may look to Taijuan Walker, who they looked at before the trade deadline. After posting a 1.37 ERA with the Jays in six starts and a 2.70 ERA total over 11 starts this season, the 28-year-old is someone the Yankees could certainly get back on their radar. Rumor.

Instead of the expensive J. T. Realmuto, the Yankees may go after C James McCann who is a solid two-way catcher that has good framing rates and a bat that is above-average. He slashed .289/.360/.536 with seven homers and 15 RBI in 31 games during the shortened 2020 season.

Yankees may look to replace hitting coach Marcus Thames

Many think that the Yankees pitches should be faulted for their demise in the season and postseason, and there is a good reason for that. But the powerful Yankees lineup also failed at times and for long stretches. Last offseason the Yankees replaced their pitching coach with Matt Blake. There are now rumors that they may be looking to replace Marcus Thames, who has been the Yankee hitting coach for the last four years.

General Manager Cashman has said he doesn’t anticipate any coaching changes this offseason. But his hand may be forced to replace Thames. It is widely reported that Thames is on the shortlist to be the new Detroit Tigers manager.  If that happens, Cash may promote P.J. Pilittere to the position, if not he will look outside the organization. Rumor.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone liked MLB rule changes for 2020, except for one

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

New York Yankees‘ manager Aaron Boone was once again unsuccessful in trying to deliver a championship to the Bronx. The Bombers were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in the best-of-five American League Division Series in a hotly contested matchup.

The Yankees’ skipper had to deal with all kinds of injuries and a few unexpected underperformers, like Gary Sanchez, Mike Tauchman, Miguel Andujar and company. Even still, the season was widely viewed as a disappointment.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the dispute between the players’ association and MLB, the league decided to implement a few rule changes for the 2020 short season. Among them were a baserunner starting at second base from the 10th inning on for both teams, seven-inning doubleheaders, and the implementation of the universal designated hitter for both leagues.

But there was one rule that the New York Yankees manager wasn’t a fan of, and it was the three-batter minimum for relievers.

The Yankees’ manager review on the rule changes

While speaking on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel with Jim Bowden, Casey Stern and Jim Duquette on Tuesday night, Bowden asked: “As a field manager how did you like the new rules that were implemented? How’d you like the 10th-inning rule, the doubleheader seven innings, the universal DH, the three batter rule as a manager? And which ones would you vote for returning in 2021 and beyond?”

Boone’s reply:

“You know what, I think in hindsight, I think I really enjoyed — in the regular season anyway — the 10th-inning thing. I think that’s something that potentially can continue to stick. I think in this season that the seven-inning double header thing made some sense. And I liked it. I could see that being something moving forward. Universal DH I liked ’cause we have the DH. So anytime we go play a National League team and Giancarlo [Stanton] or somebody’s not available, I don’t like that. So I’m all in now on the DH. And then the three-batter rule, I thought I was going to really like (it), and I don’t think I loved it in hindsight. I didn’t like it. You know, there’s too many times that the game unfolds so much different if you were playing the other way that, I thought I was going to like it because I thought, just kind of selfishly or looking at it through my team’s lens, that we’d have our guys and you’d shoot these guys for three, but I do think there’s too many games where there is that need to want this guy to come in and face a batter or two and have the next guy up. And, I don’t think that should go away.”

There you go. The Yankees’ bullpen was in the middle of the pack when it comes to ERA, FIP and fWAR, a clear step back from the super units of 2018 and 2019.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Is manager Aaron Boone a puppet? Here’s the answer

For New York Yankees fans, this has been a disappointing season, losing the division and the postseason to the Tampa Bay Rays. Many fans have chosen to blame Yankee manager Aaron Boone for the loss. But at the same time, many fans have also wondered whether the decisions are his or if they come from General Manager Brian Cashman and the front office. Some say that Boone is just a puppet and doesn’t really manage the team.

Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman together spent a bit more than two hours speaking to the media and answering reporters’ questions.  During those Zoom calls, they spoke to many subjects, from their thoughts about why they had a failed season to questions about individual players like Gary Sanchez and his future going forward. A question was posed that asked if New York Yankees, manager Aaron Boone was making decisions on the day to day team or he was a puppet for the front office. Both Boone and Cashman responded to the question.

“It’s been asked several times about the manager being a puppet,” Cashman said. “None of that’s true.” “It’s a healthy discord,” Cashman said. “He’s going to have his reasonings, he’s going to share them, and then it’s my responsibility to accept those and appreciate the fact that he did the dissection and he took the time, and the patience and the care to really evaluate all aspects of it. Then we commit. If this is what he wants to do, even though it might be something that I thought we should go a different way, so be it. He’s got my support.”

Aaron Boone was a little less emphatic in his answer:

“I think people understand that I listen to coaches, I listen to front office personnel, especially when we’re doing something that I’m making a big decision or a big change or something that may be out of the box,” Boone said Wednesday. “I certainly consult with a lot of people, but I think our guys understand that ultimately it’s my decision.”

If you believe Aaron Boone when he says “ultimately it’s my decision,” then that should put the thought that he is a puppet out of discussion.  Much of the time in the news conference surrounded the decision to start game two of the ALCS with an opener instead of going with number two starter Masahiro Tanaka. The Athletic was told near the end of the season that the New York Yankees were toying with the idea of using opener in the postseason.

The plan to start game two with 21 year old Deivi Garcia was a bust when he was taken out after only one inning, and further botched by bringing in J.A. Happ and burning two starters in one game. Happ was frustrated after the game as he gave up four runs.  Cashman said that Happ was all in on the plan. But Happ contradicted that saying that he would rather start the game.  Happ has had 15 postseason appearances, all as a starter, the bottom line is that if the plan had worked it would have been praised as brilliant, but it failed and is thought to be the turning point in the series, with the Yankees losing their momentum.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: The Yankee blame game is in overdrive, fans want answers

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have lost in the postseason, again! That in itself is not horrific, but the operative word is again. It’s become again and again, and Yankee fans want to know why.  After all, it’s the New York Yankees; expectations are high. The Yankees are supposed to win the division, go to the ALDS and ALCS, and go on to a World Championship in the World Series. For Yankee fans, that hasn’t happened since 2009.

Now that the Yankees have lost again, the blame game’s wheels are rolling at full speed, as fans try to nail down what happened and what went wrong and who or what to blame. The most significant question fans have; is how does a team with one of the lowest payrolls beat the Yankees at every stage of the season.

  • Injuries:  Injuries have played a big part in the New York Yankees’ recent woes. In 2019 they had 38 injuries to 30 players. In this coronavirus shorted season, it was almost as bad, with several key players going on the IL for short periods. In the case of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton long periods make them miss substantial field time.  Add to that the team went the whole season without co-ace Luis Severino and last year’s winningness pitcher Domingo German who was out all season on a domestic violence suspension.
  • Gleyber Torres: After the 2019 season, the Yankees failed to re-sign free agent Didi Gregorius. They instead, decided to go with the young Gleyber Torres, knowing that his defense at short was suspect. That turned out to be true, as Torres committed the second-most errors in baseball. Add to that the 2019 home run leader just didn’t perform at the plate.
  • Aaron Judge: Slugger Aaron Judge is the most recognizable star on the team and for the most part was a no show, particularly late in the season and in the postseason. This is not the first year that the big hulking body of Judge just can’t stay free of injuries. He started out the season, okay hitting 9 home runs. But when he came back from injury, he never hit another home run from August 11 to the end of the season. In the postseason ALDS, he hit .143 in the ALDS, even worse in the ALCS at .111, not exactly superstar numbers. If you really wanted to blame Judge, you could say he was useless, which wouldn’t be far from wrong.
  • Gary Sanchez: Gary Sanchez was another player that was a waste of space in the lineup, and his defense at backstop wasn’t stellar either. Unfortunately for Sanchez, he has taken most of the flack for the team’s poor performance. He did hit 10 home runs, most early in the season, but his play was so bad he ended up getting sat several times as the postseason ended.  The front office brass is now questioning if he will be the New York Yankee catcher next year.
  • Aaron Boone: When you have the highest payroll in baseball, do you hire a manager with absolutely no managerial experience at any level in baseball.  Yes, if you are the Yankees, you do. Although Aaron Boone brought the Yankees to the postseason every year, he has failed in each of those postseason contests. Many fans wonder what Joe Girardi or a Buck Showalter could have done with this team full of stars. There is no question that Boone has made some questionable decisions, especially in the postseason. Is he to blame? The Yankees have made it known that they have no plans on replacing Boone.
  • Brian Cashman: Everyone likes to blame Brian Cashman because he, for the most part, put this team together. The only problem with blaming Cashman is, yes, he hires, but he doesn’t hit or pitch for the team; the players do.
  • Hal Steinbrenner: The final person to blame is the owner; after all, he is responsible for everything. You can’t say he doesn’t spend money to make the team better.  The Yankees have the highest payroll in all of baseball. This past offseason, he put out for the highest-paid baseball pitcher in history.  Yesterday he addressed the Yankee fans.
  • “I’m very disappointed, obviously,” Steinbrenner said during a radio interview. “We invested a lot of time, energy, money into the team last offseason, and we all felt that we had a team that could win a championship, and we failed to do that. We didn’t even come close. So right now, at this point in time, all I can do is apologize to our fans. They deserved a better outcome than they got. Period. I mean, they just did.”

  • Team philosophy: Everyone knows that the New York Yankee is a team built on the home run. The only problem with that is that when they don’t hit home runs, they usually lose.  That is what happened in the ALCS. The Yankees only had 10 home runs in the five-game series, four of them in the first game that they won. But the Tampa Bay Rays, one of the teams with the lowest payroll in baseball, manufactured runs all season long. The Rays beat the pants off the Yankees in the regular season, then took the division from them and, ultimately, the postseason as well.

It’s tough to dissect what is wrong with the Yankees. They spend the money to win a championship. So is it the players, the coaches, or the management? Like most things, it’s probably a combination of flaws. For a team with probably the best lineup in baseball, maybe the team needs a new hitting coach. As far as the players’ health, the Yankees completely revamped that department, hopefully, they will see the fruits of that change this coming season. Probably, the biggest issue that must be addressed in this offseason is that the Yankees must fix their pitching.

The Yankees want no more of this blame game, they just want a 28th World Championship for their club and fans. They will work diligently this offseason, to make that a reality.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone dives into Deivi Garcia decision that cost team game 2 of ALDS

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees took a page of the Tampa Bay Rays’ book in Game 2 of their matchup in the American League Division Series. The Bombers ended up losing the series 3-2, and one of the defeats was in that fateful second contest.

In that game, after announcing Deivi Garcia as the starter, the young righty ended up pitching only one frame, only to give up his place to the “bulk” reliever J.A. Happ. The Yankees’ lefty allowed four runs in 2.2 innings, with five hits and three walks. He struck out just two, and struggled with traffic on the bases throughout his outing.

At the press conference after the game, Happ refered all questions about the strategy to the New York Yankees’ manager, Aaron Boone. He said that while the plan was for Garcia to have a short outing, he pulled him out after the first frame because he didn’t like how he fared against Tampa’s batters.

It was clear that Happ didn’t agree with the strategy and he let everybody know that he prefered to take the ball from the start of the game, as is the traditional way.

The Yankees’ reasoning

Bryan Hoch, who covers the Yankees for MLB.com, recently decided to ask Boone once again about the approach used in Game 2. That contest ended in a close 7-5 defeat and, if not for Happ’s struggles, who knows if the Bombers could have had more of a shot.

“Asked Aaron Boone for more details on the Garcia/Happ decision. He said the organization talked about it after the Cleveland win. The idea was to give Happ a platoon advantage against a lefty heavy lineup. Boone pointed to Happ’s .577 OPS vs. lefties,” Hoch wrote in his Twitter account.

The idea itself was not bad. Indeed, if Tampa sees that the Yankees will send a righty to the hill, the logical thing is to put several lefties in the lineup. That would turn into a platoon advantage once the Bombers turn to their lefty “bulk” guy early in the game.

However, Happ’s execution (and attitude) just wasn’t there.

Aaron Boone’s managerial decisions may have cost the New York Yankees the ALDS

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Late Friday evening, the New York Yankees dropped a decisive game five against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS to be eliminated from the postseason. Many things went wrong for the New York Yankees, but maybe most importantly was Aaron Boone. Some of his decisions may have cost the Yankees the series, going back to game two.

Game two is when Boone pulled Deivi Garcia after just one inning and put in JA Happ. The goal was to flip the Rays lineup with lefty vs. lefty matchups, but Happ isn’t dominant against lefties. Batters had a .250 average off him from the left-hand side in the regular season. Happ would give up four runs in 2.2 innings, taking the loss.

The decision to pull Garcia in game two may have cost the Yankees a win in that game, and in that case, the team wouldn’t have even needed game five.

However for the Yankees, there was a game five. In the eighth inning, Boone pinch hit Mike Ford for Kyle Higashioka, resulting in a strikeout. Ford had just a .135 average in 2020, making Boone’s decision look skeptical. They should’ve either left Higashioka, who did an incredible job behind the plate this series, or pinch-hit Clint Frazier. Frazier bats a career .260 against right-handers, and would’ve been facing one of the toughest Rays right-handers in Diego Castillo.

And finally, Boone called on Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning to try and get the final seven outs, mind you the game was tied. Chapman threw 23 pitches the night before, and was likely a bit gassed. Yet, Chapman is blamed for giving up the game-winning home run in a poorly managed game while the Yankees had just three hits. This isn’t Chapman’s fault.

Throughout the ALDS, the Yankees dealt with some inconsistent offense and poor umpiring. But ultimately, it may have been poor decisions from Aaron Boone and the Yankees that led to the team’s elimination.