New York Yankees currently sitting on postseason bubble with four weeks left

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

So far, the 2020 MLB season has not been a memorable one for the New York Yankees. They’ve dealt with an absurd number of injuries, with DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Tommy Kahnle, and now Gio Urshela spending time on the IL.

When players have gone down in previous years, the team has always had the “next man up” mentality. However, that isn’t working in 2020 as the Yankees have lost 11 of their last 16 games.

Right now, they are tied for second in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays and are on the postseason bubble. This season, the top two teams in each division get into the postseason, as well as the top two teams that are in third place or worse in each league.

If the postseason were to begin today, the Yankees would either have the sixth or eighth seed in the AL, dependent on tiebreakers. If they won the tiebreaker, they would be sixth but eighth if they lost it. The team still has 10 games left to play against the Blue Jays.

Right now, it’s the Minnesota Twins that would have the seventh seed in the AL. They are in third place, but just a half a game back of the White Sox along with the Indians in the central division.

Oakland leads the west, with the Astros two games back of them. In third place is the Mariners, seven and a half games back with postseason aspirations running low.

Right now, the Yankees need to turn things around if they want to make a run this year. If any other team passes the Yankees in the American League except for the Blue Jays, the team will fall out of the postseason picture.

Should the New York Yankees finally give up on Tyler Wade?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Tyler Wade is in his fourth season as a member of the New York Yankees, and he’s once again struggling. He’s just 7-of-43 with a home run, three RBIs, and a .539 OPS in 2020.

Wade struggling for the Yankees isn’t something out of the ordinary. 2019 was the only season that he’s hit above .200 (.245), and his career average is just a sub-par .192. In this day and age, players can still be productive even with a low average, but that isn’t the case with Wade. He’s a contact hitter and his game relies on getting base hits. Wade just doesn’t have enough power to stay productive. He has just four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Well, why do the Yankees keep bringing him back? Wade is one of the fastest players in the league and can steal bases. He has 10 career stolen bases and has been caught just once. The lefty-hitting infielder is also a slightly above average defender, as he has two defensive runs saved in 2020.

Is it time the Yankees give up on Wade? He’s never panned out the way the team has hoped, and they’ve given him plenty of opportunities. Maybe a change of scenery for Wade would be the best thing for him, a way to possibly jump-start his career. Plus, no player is happy spending so much time in AAA, as that’s where Wade spends more time at than the big-leagues. He has just over a year of service time even though this is his fourth year in the majors.

The Yankees also have Thairo Estrada to take the place of Wade if he gets dealt in the offseason. Estrada has been much better than Wade, sporting a .244 career average.

Should the Yankees finally bite the bullet and give up on Tyler Wade?

 

The New York Yankees are in a weird position with Miguel Andujar

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

After missing most of the 2019 season due to injury, the New York Yankees had high aspirations for Miguel Andujar in 2020. Unfortunately for them, Andujar’s struggled and have placed the team in a weird place with him.

When Andujar went down in 2019 after an impressive 2018 season, Gio Urshela took his spot and couldn’t have been better. Urshela bat .314 with an OPS near .900, driving in 74 batters and hitting 21 bombs. Although he hasn’t been quite as dominant in 2020 as 2019, he’s been solid with a .250 average, an .833 OPS and 22 runs batted in already.

Andujar on the other hand, is just 4-for-31 and has yet to collect an extra-base hit. He’s not on the major league team and is training at the alternate site in Scranton. Urshela has proven to be the third-baseman of the future, and the team has other guys like Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, and even DJ LeMahieu who can play third.

So, what do the Yankees do with Andujar? The trade deadline has come and gone, and they will have to wait for the offseason if they want to make a move. Do they trade him? Do they keep him and try to develop his outfield skills more? His defense has continued to struggle at both third and the outfield while Urshela has defended well.

The Yankees could be looking to make a few moves this winter, such as finding a potential replacement for the injured Tommy Kahnle, or for more prospects. Could Andujar possibly be dealt? We’ve seen a reluctance from Brian Cashman to trade young talent in the past, but will he finally pull the plug this winter?

Only time will tell, but the Yankees need Miguel Andujar to perform better if given another opportunity in 2020.

New York Yankees return to action on Tuesday with seven straight interleague games

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

After a weekend off due to the Mets coming down with multiple coronavirus cases, the New York Yankees will be returning to action on Tuesday where seven straight interleague games face them. Returning with the Yankees will be Aaron Judge, who was on the IL with a calf strain. He wound up only missing a week of games.

The Bronx Bombers will go down to Atlanta to play a two game set with the Braves on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Yankees swept the Braves in a two game set at home on August 11th and 12th. They will look to do the same this week.

Although the team has lost their last three games, odds seem to be in the favor of the visitors. The Yankees have Gerrit Cole on the hill on Tuesday, with Masahiro Tanaka taking the ball on Wednesday.

Thursday will actually be another off-day for the Yankees, before heading home to Yankee Stadium where a five game set in three days with the Mets awaits.

Friday and Sunday will feature seven-inning doubleheaders, with the Yankees considered the home team for one game each day. Saturday will be a regularly scheduled nine-inning game with the Yankees as the home team.

The five game set over the weekend will make-up two of the three postponed games against the Mets. The third will be made up on September third, a date where both teams originally had scheduled off-days. After they play the Mets on September third, the Yankees won’t play a NL opponent until the end of the season. They conclude the season with a three-game set against the Marlins in New York.

After a few days rest, the Yankees are ready to hit the road again and resume the chase for 28.

What might the New York Yankees injury-plagued lineup look like?

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Over the past week and a half, the New York Yankees have undergone some serious roster turnover. They’ve lost some of their best players, making their lineup look almost like a AAA team.

One of the teams’ most important players, Aaron Judge, went on the IL with a minor calf strain on 8/14. He’s set to return to the lineup the next time the Yankees play. The team had a weekend series with the Mets canceled due to the Mets having positive coronavirus tests, but there’s still hope of a makeup doubleheader on Monday, according to reports.

However, Judge returning is just one small part of the missing puzzle. With guys like DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Giancarlo Stanton still out; there’s still some major roster gaps. With Judge coming back, here’s what the Yankee order could look like with him inserted.

  1. Aaron Hicks (DH)- A speedy switch hitter with a good glove and a reliable option as the back-up leadoff hitter.
  2. Aaron Judge (RF)- Do we really need much explanation? The Judge will return to his normal spot.
  3. Luke Voit (1B)- The powerful righty already has 10 bombs and is on track for a career season.
  4. Gio Urshela (3B)- A reliable option with good defense and a well-rounded bat.
  5. Gary Sanchez (C)- Although off to a rough start, Sanchez has hit a few recent bombs and appears to be on the right track.
  6. Clint Frazier (LF)- Since rejoining the team, Frazier has been on fire, driving in runs.
  7. Mike Tauchman (CF)- A speedy outfielder with a good glove and a solid bat.
  8. Thairo Estrada (2B)- A well rounded middle-infielder that does everything pretty well.
  9. Tyler Wade (SS)- One of the fastest players in the league, Wade can steal bags and has unlimited range.

The Yankees certainly don’t have a bad lineup when injury-infested, but it’s not quite the lineup the team is envisioning. After losing three straight at home, the Yankees are ready to bounce-back with a healthy Aaron Judge back.

The New York Yankees must flex their depth once again

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Here we go again. For the third straight season, the New York Yankees must deal with some serious injury issues. Arguably the best three hitters on the team are on the IL in Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu.

Stanton went on the IL last weekend suffering a grade one hamstring strain. Judge just went on the IL the other day with a calf strain, and LeMahieu just went on the IL with a thumb strain. LeMahieu hyperextended it while following through on a swing on Saturday night.

All three have gotten off to tremendous starts in 2020 in the Bronx. Stanton was batting .293 with three home runs and seven RBIs. Judge was batting .290 with a league leading nine home runs and 20 RBIs. LeMahieu, to no surprise, was leading the league with a .411 batting average.

To replace the three players, Thairo Estrada, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andujar have been recalled. Frazier is the only one of the three that has played since the recalls, and he’s been great. He’s an early 7-for-11 with 8 RBIs.

The Yankees need to flex their depth once again with some key players missing. Judge and LeMahieu should only be out for short stints, while Stanton should be back in a month.

Frazier has provided some much needed offense since getting recalled, and the Yankees are hoping Andujar and Estrada will do the same. Andujar is 1-for-14 this season, while Estrada is 2-for-3.

When the injury bug was present last season, the strong depth of the Yankees was shown as they helped the team win the AL East. It’s time for the depth to show again but with a little more added pressure in a shortened season.

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole living up to early expectations

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

When the New York Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million deal, they set some pretty lofty expectations for him. Through five games, the 29-year-old has lived up to them and has been a huge part of the Yankees strong start in 2020.

In Friday’s series opening 10-3 win over the Red Sox, Cole was magnificent. He went seven innings, allowing just four hits and one run. He struck out eight and never walked a batter.

The win was Cole’s fourth of the season in five starts. It was his 20th consecutive regular season decision that was a win.

Some of his other starts were just as impressive. Although he went just 4 and 2/3 innings on August 8th against Tampa, he struck out 10. He also went 6 and 2/3 innings in a July 29th win over Baltimore, and went six innings in an August 3rd win over Philadelphia.

Cole’s strong start hasn’t just fueled the Yankees, but has energized a fan base waiting for Gerrit Cole since December. So many people wanted baseball back during the coronavirus pandemic as a distraction, and something to unite everyone. His pitching performance has given the Yankees and their fans life during this pandemic and has quickly became one of the faces of New York sports.

On the baseball side of things, Cole has filled the shoes of two star pitchers in Domingo German and Luis Severino. Without Cole, the Yankees would lack a true ace this season. Once German and Severino come back, the team will have a roster with three ace caliber pitchers, and that should put the league on notice.

The New York jitters haven’t affected Gerrit Cole as he’s been great to start the 2020 season and the newest chapter of his career.

Should the New York Yankees consider benching Brett Gardner?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees are off to a good start with a 3-1 record after defeating the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 on Wednesday night. The bats got rolling early with Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and D.J. LeMahieu all going yard by the third inning. Some not so great developments, Brett Gardner and Gary Sanchez continued their beginning of the season slumps, going 0-3 and 0-4 respectively.

I’m not so much worried about Gary. Big MLB hitters tend to hit cold streaks, and this appears to be one of Sanchez’s. If this was happening in August, then it may be time to panic, but I don’t think it’s defcon five for Gary, at least right now. Gardner on the other hand is a different story.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was one of the many fans advocating to bring Gardy back for 2020. He had a very productive year for the team in 2019 and is one of the few veteran locker room presences for an otherwise very young team. But it may appear that Gardy’s best years are behind him. He is 0-10 with six strikeouts thus far this season and just looks lost at the plate. What makes it all the more frustrating is the fact that Clint Frazier is just sitting in Scranton twiddling his thumbs waiting for his next opportunity to be called up.

An easy solution: Bench Gardner. Move Stanton to left field where he can start every day so the outfield can consist of Hicks, Stanton, and Judge. Put Miguel Andújar as the every day DH. Andújar is one of the hottest bats on the roster and inserting him into the lineup is a significant improvement over Gardner as of right now. Brett Gardner is a smart veteran who knows how this game works. An unhappy decision, but an obvious and necessary one nonetheless. In a shortened season, the best way to expedite success is to insert your most talented players into the lineup to produce the best results to win ball games. Right now, Brett Gardner just simply isn’t contributing.

New York Yankees: Jordan Montgomery with six strong innings against the Atlanta Braves

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery pitched six strong innings on Tuesday to help the New York Yankees beat the Braves and win the first game of a nine game homestead. The 27-year-old southpaw had a nice bounce back outing after some struggles last time out against Philadelphia.

Montgomery gave up four hits and three runs in six innings, striking out four. The first five innings were scoreless for the lefty before giving up three runs in the sixth inning. Travis d’Arnaud and Freddie Freeman each singled, then Marcell Ozuna followed with a three-run home run.

Throughout the evening, Montgomery sat in the the low 90s with his fastball. He’s never been known for his velocity as he’s always gotten by just by having good stuff. Although he’s pitching some good games now, an increase to his velocity in the near future would help him with his consistency. The best pitchers nowadays throw in the upper-90s in addition to having great stuff.

A slower fastball gives the batter more time to react to the pitch and to determine what the pitch is. More reaction time for the batter leads to worse results for the pitcher.

But right now, the Yankees seem to be pretty happy with Montgomery. He’s healthy and doing a good job filling the place of Luis Severino and Domingo German. All they need now is a little more length from not just Montgomery, but all their starters. In a short season with a lot of games in a short period of time, the less stress on the bullpen the better. The last thing the Yankees want to do is burnout their bullpen early on.

Hopefully Jordan Montgomery will build on Tuesday’s strong outing and be sharp again the next time he pitches.

The New York Yankees place a catcher on the IL

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, the New York Yankees announced that backup catcher Kyle Higashioka would be headed to the IL. He suffered a right oblique strain on August 6th.

To replace Higashioka, the team signed Erik Kratz to the Major League roster and activated him. The 40-year-old made 21 Major League appearances in 2019, and is expected to play sometime on Saturday. With the doubleheader, Kratz and Gary Sanchez will each play one game.

Maybe Kratz will be the spark that the team needs behind the plate. Sanchez and Higashioka are off to rough starts, both having trouble collecting hits. Higashioka is 2-for-9, but Sanchez looks completely lost. Gary is just 3-for-33 with one home run and three runs batted in. Of 30 times retired, 19 are in the form of the strikeout.

This is the third year in a row now that Sanchez has struggled to get hits. Nothing before has been as bad as this season, but something needs to change. Maybe Kratz can come in and have a few good games and put a little pressure on Sanchez. The team has given him a lot of chances, and if he doesn’t improve soon, the team could start shopping him.

The Yankees drafted a catcher in the first round of the 2020 draft out of Arizona, and he could be big league ready in a few years. Maybe it will be him, Austin Wells, as the catcher of the future.

But in the meantime, Kratz joining the team might not be the worst thing to happen. It sucks that he’s coming up because of an injury to someone else, but hopefully he will produce and make his presence felt.