New York Yankees: Yankees get thrown a “dog bone” and more news

Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, yankees

With the ALCS and NLCS in full swing, there is not much in the way of shocking New York Yankees news this early in the offseason from the boys from the Bronx. But don’t let that fool you; the wheels are turning in the front off trying to find ways to return the Yankees into a championship team for the 2022 season. So here is some news that may tantalize.

Red Sox throw the Yankees a “dog bone”

Most analysts thought the Boston Red Sox would be back in the dumper again this year after a lousy season last year. But, to the surprise of all, newly rehired Alex Cora brought the team to new heights that culminated in beating the New York Yankees in the one-game winner-take-all wild-card game.

Now in a strange statement from a Boston Red Sox executive, the Red Sox are praising the Yankees for being so consistent from year to year. Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox’s CEO, and president said yesterday when talking to the New York Post:

“We do admire the Yankees in many ways. I started my career there [as an intern]. John Henry started as an investor. So I learned a lot from my time there. John learned a lot from his time. What Randy [Levine] and Hal [Steinbrenner] and Brian Cashman have done is nothing short of remarkable. They’re consistently competitive, and that’s incredibly impressive.

“It’s why we hate them so much in Boston.”

Cashman takes responsibility while rehiring Aaron Boone

By now, it’s relatively old news that manager Aaron Boone has been rehired as the New York Yankees skipper, at least for the next three years. In a somewhat confusing press conference, Cashman announced the return of Aaron Boone, but the news conference seemed to be more about him than Boone. Cashman’s contract is up at the end of the 2022 season.

In the conference, he didn’t do much to give Yankee fans a look at a better future for the team; instead, he created more questions than answers. He reverted to his season-long praise of Boone and reiterated that the players underperformed. He also said if there is anyone to blame, it is he. While both Boone and Cashman have praised the championship team the Yankees, are, the deny what Yankee fans are seeing right in front of their eyes.

Although Cashman seemed to take responsibility for what went wrong, he basically denied everything the Yankees did wrong and put the best face on it from the other side of his mouth. For example, at one point, he said about Boone:

“Aaron Boone was part of the solution and wasn’t the problem. If he was entering the free-agent market, I believe he’d be the #1 managerial candidate in baseball. He’s been a good hire.”

That statement, among others, left a whole lot of New York Yankee fans scratching their collective heads. He also said that Boone was easy to work with and had an open mind (willing to accept orders).

What will the Yankees do to solve the shortstop problem?

The New York Yankees don’t have a legitimate shortstop. Even the front office has now admitted that is a glaring problem that must be solved before the start of the 2022 season. The big question is, what will they do to solve that problem?

There are tons of shortstops going into free agency at the end of the World Series, but will the Yankees find the right fit or continue as they have will fill-ins, moving players around? Or will they wait for up-and-coming farm hands, like Anthony Volpe, and sign a rental for 2022?

Getting back to the shortstops available this offseason, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez represent a variety of costs for the Yankees. The writer believes the Yankees should bite the bullet, hire a sure thing, and stop betting on stopgap measures to solve the teams’ problems. One such acquisition would be Carlos Correa, a proven shortstop with pop. Correa is 27 years old, has a .279 batting average this year with 26 home runs, and is an excellent defender at short. He also has plenty of postseason experience. In the past five years, he has batted .280 with 18 home runs. Oh, and by the way, he has indicated that he would love to play in New York. What more could the Yankees want?

New York Yankees: 7 that should go and who should replace them

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

After an early exit from the postseason yet again, the New York Yankees face a multitude of questions and decisions to be made before the start of the 2022 season. The biggest one is if the Yankees have it in them to create a shakeup that can turn this team into a World Series contender for real. If they can do that, some faces of the Yankees will have to go. So here is my assessment of the situation facing the Yankee organization in no particular order.

Brian Cashman:

Unless Hal Steinbrenner wants to shake up the whole organization, it is doubtful that he will part with Brian Cashman, but in over twenty years of leadership, he has brought the Yankees to only one World Series. For his supporters who want to bring up the early Championships of Joe Torre, those teams were not built by Brian Cashman. Stick Michaels and Joe Torre built those teams.

During his tenure, the San Francisco Giants have won the World Series three times, the Red Sox twice, and even the lowly Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals have won.  If the Yankees part with Cashman, the name Theo Epstein comes to mind, but I think he wants to own a team, not be general manager of one. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Aaron Boone:

Although the front office has shown support of Aaron Boone, I believe he has only a 50/50 chance of remaining the Yankee manager. After four seasons, he doesn’t seem to be the man that can bring this team to a World Series win. He doesn’t seem to be able to motivate players and has made many on-the-spot questionable moves. Should the Yankees decide not to renew his contract at the end of this season, there are a host of replacement possibilities.

With the Yankees’ failed experiment with a manager with no experience, they will not likely do that again in favor of a manager with experience. The first one that comes to mind is the consistently successful win-it-now manager Dusty Baker. It is not likely that Baker will be rehired by the Astros, even though he brought the team to 95 wins.

Others to consider are ex-Red Sox manager John Farrel and Mike Scioscia of the Angels. Many believe that Alex Rodriguez would make an excellent yet controversial manager of the Yankees. The only problem with that is he can make megabucks elsewhere rather than accept a low-paying manager job. Other possibilities are Bruce Bochy and Buck Showalter. The knock against them is that they are not the type of big analytics guys that Cashman will want.

My guess is that the Yankees will not do the right thing and replace this lack of a motivator manager who fails to reward players for excellent play nor hold them responsible for poor play.  He is just not the man for the job.

Gary Sanchez:

Just the fact that the Yankees’ most controversial player comes up at the end of every season as someone the Yankees should replace should be a signal that the guy has got to go. He hasn’t grown as a player or a catcher, and I don’t think you would want him teaching any upcoming Yankee catcher. His lack of defensive abilities and batting average says it’s time for him to go finally.

With the New York Yankees likely to have to put out money for a shortstop and center fielder, they likely will not spend big in favor of keeping Kyle Higashioka as a bridge to prospect, Austin Wells. Higashioka, although not the home runner Sanchez is, is a far superior catcher with better framing and a better contact hitter percentage.

Gleyber Torres:

Gleyber Torres is a failed experiment that has not grown as a Yankee; he has regressed as a failed shortstop and error-ridden second baseman. Probably the fault of the Yankee organization; I don’t see a long-term improvement in Torres, who is no longer the 22 year old with a bright future.

The New York Yankees have a bivy of possibilities to get themselves a new shortstop. Trevor Story has oft been mentioned, but I don’t see him as a good fit for the Yankees. Exciting possibilities for the Yankees that won’t break the bank include Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, and Jose Iglesias, a cheapy.

Aaron Hicks:

I said in an article yesterday I have no clue why the Yankees gave him a big-time contract extension. He is in the mold of Jacoby Ellsbury and Greg Bird. I think Yankee fans will agree that Jacoby Ellsbury was Brian Cashman’s worst acquisition, but my friends, here’s one for you, Ellsbury played in 27 more games with the Yankees in his four years than Hicks has in his six years. So for anyone that believes that Hicks will stay healthy and be dependable in the center, it’s a pipe dream; the Yankees should buy him out and rid themselves of him.

There are many options for the Yankees for the offseason, including players with options such as the more significant money Jackie Bradley Junior or Kevin Pillar. Both are excellent defenders and can offer more at the plate than Hicks.

Luke Voit:

If the New York Yankees choose to resign Anthony Rizzo as their first baseman, the sad fact is the Yankees have no use for Luke Voit. Voit like Hicks can’t stay healthy. He played in only 68 games this season, primarily due to a multitude of injuries. He has lost his power and runs the bases like the tractor pull at your local county fair. The Yankees have a glut as DH, so he has no use there either.

Likely, Voit will not be in pinstripes again next year, and there is no reason to replace him, assuming they re-sign Rizzo.

Brett Gardner:

I hate to even breach this subject because I love Brett Gardner and all he has done for the Yankees in his 14 years tenure with the Yankees, but he will turn 39 next year, and his time with the Yankees should be over. The fact is that he is no longer the player he once was. He is still an excellent defender, but his arm is not what it once was; he can’t steal bases and is a liability at the plate. This year he was supposed to be a bench player but ended up playing more than anyone expected. He did rise to the occasion during the last quarter of the season, but not well enough to warrant another year. Then, he can retire as a proud Yankee.

Not included in this article is hitting coach Marcus Thames who’s time with the Yankees should also be over. Please read my article on Thames here.

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

New York Yankees Analysis: Brian Cashman brilliant? Ah, not so much

Now that the New York Yankees have left the postseason far too early, once again, Yankees fans are again looking for people to blame. There are so many places to look it would make a house mouse dizzy. But looking back to before the 2021 season started on April 1, there were some questionable decisions made; some of those now stink big time.

First of all, we have to look at how those decisions were made. Other than how much would be spent, which is Hal Steinbrenner’s sole judgment, make no mistake about it, general manager Brian Cashman makes them, then, during the season, and now. Anyone that thinks differently doesn’t know how the Yankees operate. Sure there most likely are some discussions held, but Cashman holds the reins.

To further prove that almost all decisions are made by Cashman, you have to look at ownership. Nearly every Yankee fan has said at one point or the other, Hal Steinbrenner is not his father “The Boss,” George Steinbrenner. The father and son are nothing alike. George was every day in your face; you never wondered who ran the Yankees. He was up in his luxury box analyzing nearly every move the Yankees made, on and off the field. If a player made a bone head play on the field, he knew all too well that he might expect a visit from George in the clubhouse.

Hal, the son, is not that man no matter how much we want him to be. He controls the purse strings, and that’s about it. His style is totally different. He relies on Brian Cashman to handle almost everything. As a matter of fact, you will seldom see Hal at a game, never mind in the clubhouse. He isn’t the baseball man his father was. But, unfortunately, this is what Yankee fans have to live with. It also may be why the Yankees haven’t won a World Series since Mariano Rivera laid two single long stem red roses upon home plate in July of 2010.

Today let’s take a look at three decisions that Cashman made before the 2021 season that may have cost the Yankees another trip to the World Series. The Yankees not only haven’t won a World Series since 2009, but they also haven’t even played well enough to appear in one.

Jameson Taillon and Corey Kluber, really?

It’s effortless to play Monday morning quarterback, but I’ve selected three decisions that were even questioned at the time. First, before the start of the season, the Yankees traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates to get Jameson Taillon and went out and acquired 2 time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber, once one of the best pitchers in baseball. On the surface, they seemed like great add ons, considering they let several 2019 pitchers walk, including Masahiro Tanaka.

The problem from the beginning was that these two pitchers combined for only a few starts in the past two years, one suffering from two Tommy John surgeries and the other from shoulder problems. At the time, the organization promoted these moves as “low risk, high reward” moves. The risk was not getting to a Championship. Did the Yankees (Cashman) believe that either of these two pitchers could get 30 or more starts after pitching so little in the previous two seasons? Although Taillon almost made it, Kluber only pitched in half that many games.

It was not surprising that both of these pitchers had very slow starts to the season, even though they got better as the season progressed; just think if they had won more than 13 starts combined. Could the Yankees have won the division if they did?

Let’s have everyone play positions unfamiliar to them?

It didn’t necessarily start this way, but as the season progressed, the Yankees, more than any other team in baseball, had players playing in positions that they were not familiar with. Examples are natural right fielder Aaron Judge playing in center field, left fielder Giancarlo Stanton playing right field. Second baseman Rougned Odor was playing at third, Gold Glove second baseman DJ LeMahieu at first. None of these moves turned disastrous, but one glowing decision that turned out bad was keeping Gleyber Torres at short.

In recent years, the New York Yankees have a history of making a mistake and then sticking with it no matter how glaringly wrong it was. Think Gary Sanchez. But today, we are zeroing in on Gleyber Torres. When the Yankees let Didi Gregorious walk to the Phillies, they made second baseman Torres a shortstop. It didn’t work out. Nevertheless, they (Cashman) stuck with the decision again this year. Finally, after miserable failure at defense and behind the plate, they permanently moved him back to second base.

Brian Cashman could have resolved the problem before the season but didn’t. He could have gotten any number of free agent shortstops to fill the position, including Marcus Seimen, who has been a Yankees killer all season long. Seimen instead was picked up by the Blue Jays. With them, he has a 7.1 WAR with 45 home runs for the fourth-most in all of baseball and a batting average of .265 and 102 RBIs. Compare that to Torres with .08 WAR, 9 home runs, and 51 RBI.

What makes this mistake all the more glaring is that Cashman could have passed on Corey Kluber, held onto Masahiro Tanaka, and acquired Semien for about the same cost to the franchise.  For more on the future of the Yankee shortstop read this ESM article from fellow writer Alex Wilson.

Bad boy, Frazier the Yankee’s red hope?

The decision to make Clint Frazier the starting left fielder is a little more difficult to dissect. Although some of this decision probably was due to Frazier being nominated for a Gold Glove award, which was a mistake that surprised most Yankees fans, making a few great diving catches does not deserve a Gold Glove nomination.

Frazier was an immediate fan favorite with his floppy red hair and slanted cute smile, but the fact of the matter is that he was never a fit for the Yankees. His attractive look never matched his cry-baby personality. Frazier had bad luck early in his career by crashing headfirst into an outfield wall and getting a concussion. But facts are facts, Frazier has never played in more than 69 games in his five years with the Yankees. Frazier should have been traded years ago. Instead, he got the left-field starting job. He played okay for a while but eventually was replaced by Brett Gardner and others.

Frazier, who was once heralded for his quick bat, that bat has never delivered results. This season he could only hit five home runs and a miserable .186 batting average. His WAR is -1.4, far worse than Torres. Then as July approached, mysterious dizziness and vision problems cropped up that had never been fully explained. Is it due to his earlier concussion or the start of the Ellsbury effect? Whatever the case, he never played another game in the 2021 season, and this writer believes you will never see him in Yankee pinstripes again.

One mistake finally corrected

For far too many years, the New York Yankee lineup has been either totally or heavily right-handed. This scenario makes it much easier for opposing managers to set up their rotation. This season at the trade deadline, Cashman finally fixed the problem by acquiring lefties Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo. Gallo, the home run hitter (39), will be with the Yankees in 2022. Rizzo will be a free agent, and only time will tell if Cashman offers him a contract.

In 2020 the Yankees traded away lefty Mike Tauchman. If Rizzo is not rehired, it will leave only Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade as lefties available to the lineup as many feel that veteran Brett Gardner may have seen his last season with the Yankees. The Yankees realizing their mistake must keep the righty/lefty lineup in place going forward.

 

 

New York Yankee Analysis: Big questions the Yankees must answer by March 31, 2022

The New York Yankee season is over, falling short of another World Series win. The “Boss” George Steinbrenner, if alive, would say it’s another failed season. If you consider not winning the World Series failing, then he is correct. But there is a lot to be said about getting to a wild card berth, win or not. Many other AL teams can’t say that. But the one with the biggest payroll; more is expected of them. The Yankees have not had a losing season since 1992. But the last World Series they won was in 2009.

Manager Joe Girardi won the 2009 World Series. But after not repeating for the next eight years and amongst complaints about being too strict, the Yankees moved on from Girardi and hired Aaron Boone.  Boone has been mostly successful in bringing the team to 100 wins, 103 wins, 33 wins in a short season, and 92 wins this year. But, regardless of that success, he has never gotten the team beyond late-season failures.

With each passing year, New York Yankee fans, even the most ardent fans, have become less patient waiting for the Yankees to win. Some fans have given up and moved on to other teams and even other sports. This isn’t good for business and baseball, although a game is a business. Principle owner Hal Steinbrenner and company have to figure out how to turn this team around. Yankee stadium never had a sell-out crowd this season. That is lost dollars, lots of them.

After a very inconsistent season that certainly cost them a trip to the World Series, the New York Yankees have many questions that must be answered before they try this all over again. And this year, there are more questions to be addressed than usual. So let’s have at it.

Renew Aaron Boone’s contract?

In 2018 Aaron Boone was hired as the new Yankee manager on a four-year contract that was over last night. So the Yankee organization has to decide whether to renew his contract or move on from the one-time manager.

When Boone was hired, many Yankee fans said, “Aaron who?”. Boone was never a great baseball player and had never managed even a minor league team. Others have learned to dislike him; still, others think he has done a good job. Most managers in baseball were catchers who seemed to have a better understanding of all baseball operations—Boone, who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds primarily as a third baseman.

Boone will receive most of the blame for this poor season, although much of that blame can be placed on the hitters themselves, as Boone can’t hit for the hitters or pitch for the pitchers. Many fans question his decisions and his lack of holding bad players responsible for their play. Boone, with his style, constantly praises the team when they lose. An excellent example of that is his praise of Gerrit Cole after last night’s wild-card loss saying he threw some good pitches.

However, one must be cautious in blaming Boone. Many believe that Boone was hired to be a mouthpiece for Brian Cashman, the Yankee front office, making the significant decisions and Boone following them, only to be allowed to make minor decisions on the field during games. However, even those skeptical of that theory admit that the Yankee office and analytics department have too much influence over how the games are played.

Examine the organizational philosophy?

With so many questions unanswered about why this team can’t win big year after year, is it time to examine how the whole organization is run? Under the present philosophy, whether Boone is brought back or not, they would only hire another yes man that would be subject to the highly analytics-based front office.

All baseball teams receive the same analytics; it differs in how they are communicated and how they are executed. A manager who uses those stats exclusively and ignores what he sees on the field or who is hot and who is not will lose a lot of games. Analytics are a guide, not a user manual.

Should the Yankees hire a Bruce Bochi, Buck Showalter, or the like, it would require an entire shakeup of how the organization runs. Neither of these guys are yes men and would be challenging to work with under the present makeup. But it’s fair to mention that Bochi’s management style has brought the San Francisco Giants to win 107 games this season for the most in baseball and with less talent than the Yankees.

Brian Cashman will have much to do with if the Yankees are willing to examine themselves. Cashman is the driving force for how the Yankees perform. But many times in the past, Cashman has been slow to act. Lingering questions with Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez are examples of that. Last season he failed to act to improve the team. This year got two lefties to balance the lineup that fans have been screaming about for years.

Exceed the luxury tax threshold?

Do the Yankees need to exceed the luxury tax threshold to win finally. No!. Spending a lot of money has not helped them much. Better run and better-managed teams have gone further season after season. The Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays have done it on about 30% of the Yankees payroll.

Extend Aaron Judge’s contract?

This may be the most challenging question to address in this off-season. If the Yankees offer Judge a contract, it will be huge. The question is do the Yankees want to spend that much, and if they do, how badly will it tie their hands on solving the other team’s needs.

Judge turns 30 next year, and based on his injury record, signing a long-term contract with him is risky at best. This season is the first season he has been healthy since 2017. Between 2018 and 2020, he played in only 243 games.  So the question remains how much and for how long. It is doubtful that the Yankees will go more than six years, even though Judge has said he wants to retire a Yankee, according to Bryan Hock.

Aaron Judge’s value is at its highest and could draw the most if the Yankees were willing to trade him. The Yankees could get a quality pitcher, a shortstop, and a few choice prospects for him. However, whether an extension could be agreed upon would most likely be a Derek Jeter-like situation, taking less than he is worth.

How to fix the Yankee outfield?

During this season, the Yankees have had either a drought or glut in the outfield. Aaron Judge is a solid right fielder, and Joey Gallo will be with the team in left field through 2022. However, the Yankees don’t have a true centerfielder with any kind of future. Brett Gardner has been adequate in the position, but it becomes more doubtful that the 38-year-old will return each year. In addition, Aaron Hicks (yes, remember him?) has yet to prove he can stay healthy.

If they fix that, they still have Tyler Wade and Giancarlo Stanton options to add to the mix and give days off.

Obtain a real shortstop?

There is still the ongoing question about Gleybe Torre’s worth to the team. Late this season, the Yankees finally realized they made a mistake trying to make Gleyber Torres a shortstop. Torres is no longer a 22-year-old with a bright future; he has become tarnished goods. He will turn 25 in December and is coming off of two back-to-back poor seasons on defense and offense. The Yankees, to a degree, have overlooked his poor defense because he led the team in 2019 with 38 home runs, but since then, he has only 12 long balls.  What the Yankees should be most concerned about is his lack of growth.

The Yankees have moved Torres to second, where he has played better but not by much. That pushed a Gold Glove second baseman DJ LeMahieu, into being a utility player. Unfortunately, LeMahieu’s performance has not been as good since the move.  While the Yankees have one of baseball’s top prospects, Anthony Volpe, he probably won’t be big team ready for another year or two. With Torre’s continued poor play, the Yankees should at least inquire about options in free agency this offseason.

What to do with the catcher situation?

Oh boy, this question yet again. Gary Sanchez has been one of the most controversial Yankee players since he became the Yankees lead catcher in 2017. That was a year that was pretty good for the young man. But since then, he has not duplicated that performance and has often been criticized for his performance behind at backstop. He continues to be a less-than-average defender and has had a poor batting average.

Last year, he had a disastrous season, hitting only .147 and losing his starting status in favor of backup catcher Kyle Higashioka, a better defender. Sanchez is still around because when he is hot, he can hit the long ball and has a rocket of an arm preventing many stolen bases. He has hit more this year with an average of .204 but still strikes out too much. With the other questions facing the Yankees, it is doubtful they will move Sanchez.

What to do with the loose ends?

The Yankees have two obvious loose ends. One is whether to renew a contract with first baseman Anthony Rizzo and, if they do, what they will do with Luke Voit. I wouldn’t be surprised if Luke Voit is not with the Yankees next season. He could be used in a trade. With the glut at DH, his use to the club is limited. He also has not been able to stay healthy while with the Yankees.  If the Yankees choose to replace Gleyber Torres at short, he too will become a trading piece.

How to reinforce the pitching staff?

The New York Yankees certainly need to beef up the pitching staff. Jameson Taillon is under contract through 2022 and is arbitration-eligible as of today. Also, as of today, Corey Kluber is a free agent.  That leaves Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery as the Yankees starting rotation. The organization will have to examine what place Luis Severino and Domingo German have going forward and if they need to replace Kluber if he doesn’t sign with the Yankees.

At the beginning of the season, the Yankees had one of the strongest bullpens in baseball. Unfortunately, as the season progressed, they lost much of their strength. Set up man Zack Britton underwent Tommy John surgery to keep him out until at least the end of the 2022 season. Justin Wilson and the Yankee’s best long reliever Luis Cessa went to the Reds in a salary dump. Darren O’Day, the sidearmer, had a shoulder injury followed by a hamstring strain that kept him away from the team for the rest of the season.

In a major disappointment this season for the bullpen, on July 31st Tommy Kahnle revealed that had a partially torn UCL and required Tommy John surgery. The Yankees outrighted him and he choose free agency. Just days afterward he signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees picked up a few arms at the trade deadline, Andrew Heaney proved useless. These losses and moves left the bullpen short of components and overworked.

Not knowing if Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, or Clarke Schmidt will be ready for the big time in 2022, the Yankees may have to go shopping to bolster the starting rotation and the bullpen. Unfortunately, any moves they make may have to wait until the end of spring training, when they can further evaluate their options.

 

The New York Yankees nine games will decide their season, if they fail who should go? Poll results

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees have a day off today to reflect on their whole season and what lies ahead of them. The Yankees rose to the occasion this week and, with great urgency, swept the Texas Rangers, keeping them in the running for a wildcard berth. But what lies ahead is far more daunting and will decide the whole season. After the sweep, the Yankees now hold the second wild-card berth.

In the final nine games of the regular season, the Yankees will face the most challenging situation they have faced all season long. They will only face teams that are statistically better playing teams. Starting tomorrow, they hit the road to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. It doesn’t get easier after that when they play the Blue Jays at Rogers Center in Toronto.

Finally, the last three games of the season will be played back at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The problem with this schedule is that the Yankees have not prevailed over these teams all season long and now must be able to do that if they have any hope of a 28th World Championship.

This season the Yankees have won 6 of 16 games against the Toronto Blue Jays. They have won only 7 of 16 against the Red Sox. They have won 7 of 16 against the Tampa Bay Rays. All three of these teams do not have the challenging last nine games that the Yankees have, making it even more difficult to succeed.

There are many things the Yankees can’t control. For instance, all three opposing teams could go on a nine-game losing streak, which is unlikely. However, the one thing the Yankees can control is how they play over the next nine games. If the Yankees win more games, then they lose the whole season could come down to the last three games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will be playing the Rays; the Red Sox will be playing the Blue Jays. The Yankees will also have to scoreboard watch the Oakland Athletics that are just 2.5 games back in the wild card standings.

With any team being able to beat any team on any given day and the unpredictable nature of baseball, one thing is for sure. Scoreboard watching will become a new art form in the coming days. Each and every game is so important to every team in contention. It sure will be exciting and hopefully rewarding for the New York Yankees.

If the Yankees fail to reach the postseason, there will be many questions to be answered. In the words of George Steinbrenner, if the Yankees don’t win a World Series, it is a failed season. However, I am not sure Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and Aaron Boone share that same feeling. As exhibited by manager Boone’s constant praise of the team even when not winning. Boone says he is not worried about his future with the Yankees, but with the season on the line, you can’t but wonder, tucked back in his head if he may wonder if his job is on the line.

Recently I conducted a poll of several Facebook Yankee groups, asking who should be fired if the season does not end well for the Yankees. Getting the pulse of a large group of Yankee fans was eye-opening. The choices I gave were Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres. I must say the results were not unexpected.

First, a little about the poll, it is certainly unscientific and doesn’t represent the view of all Yankees fans, only of those responding to the poll. There were 1,526 responses, with some only commenting and not voting. All of the responses from the different groups were similar. However, one group really targeted Boone compared to the others, and one group really didn’t believe Sanchez should remain the Yankee catcher. One thing that was universally true was that Yankee fans are not ready to give up on Gleyber Torres.

Aaron Boone: 38% of respondents want Boone gone at the end of the season. Some mentioned his lack of ability to motivate, while others criticized him for not being his own man. Some mentioned his inability to manage the bullpen. A few offered that he can’t win in the postseason. Some said to bring back Girardi or Showalter. Two said to give Phil Nevin a chance. (third base coach)

Brian Cashman: 23% think his time should be over. Several mentioned that Hal Steinbrenner tied his hands; others complimented him on giving the team what they needed this season.

Gary Sanchez: 24% think Gary Sanchez will not carry the team into the future and should be replaced. Some sighted his passed balls and inconsistent hitting, while others praised his arm. A few said he was clueless.

Gleyber Torres: 14% think Torres has had his chance but failed. But most that commented stated that he is still young and will improve.

Marcus Thames: 1% although not on the ballot, 12 respondents added him for his lack of getting a powerful team hitting.

Other comments said all of the above. A few said none of the above. Some had a defeatist attitude and said whatever they do, it won’t make a difference.

After reviewing all of the votes and comments, it leads me to believe that the Yankees win or not need a shakeup or even a complete overhaul top to bottom. However, some suggest the Yankees need a new owner.

The New York Yankees need to clean house in the offseason

Heading into this last weekend, the New York Yankees were feeling pretty good. They had a dominant win on Friday night while the Blue Jays lost which put them a half game ahead for the second wild card spot.

The Yankees had Luis Gil and Gerrit Cole scheduled to start over the weekend so you felt pretty good as a fan that they’d win the series. Well, The Indians, who have been no-hit three times in 2021 alone, scored 22 runs in two games.

The powerful Yankees offense which flexed it’s muscles on Friday once again went cold and only mustered four runs total in those two games. Yes, that means that an under 500 club who has been no-hit three times outscored the Yankees 22-4 in two games over the weekend in the middle of a playoff race.

This series with Cleveland was this season wrapped up in one series for New York. One big step forward on Friday and two giant steps back over the weekend. Now, the Yankees have a less than 30% chance to make the playoffs according to the latest odds. Keep in mind, they were near 95% just a few weeks ago.

Yankees Need Change

Aaron Boone looked visibly frustrated after the game and called the two-games, “Terrible.” Outside of that response, we got the same cookie-cutter speech that we’ve seen all year. It was, ‘The players tried hard, the effort was good, the execution just wasn’t there.’

This Yankees team has all the talent in the world, but half the time, they play like they don’t have a care in the world. There is no fire with this team and they play like a team that’s massively up in the division race opposed to a team that’s fighting for their lives.

At the mid-way point in the season, Hal Steinbrenner blamed the players for the inconsistency. Yes, it is the players that are the ones who go out there every single day and play. However, it’s the little things that fall back on the manager and the coaches. The little things are what have killed them this year.

I hate to break it to Aaron Boone, but the effort has not been good with this team. The players don’t look like they try hard all the time. The only player you could say that gives it all in every single game and plate appearance is Brett Gardner.

There is no fire or motivation with this team and that falls back on Aaron Boone. Yes, the Yankees have dealt with injuries and Covid throughout the season. However, when you look at the players that have still taken the field, they shouldn’t be in the position they’re in.

Time to Refresh

A few years ago, the Yankees didn’t bring Joe Girardi back and brought in Aaron Boone. With Boone, you had a completely different managerial philosophy. You had an analytically driven team with a manager that cared more about protecting players feelings than saying it like it is.

Say what you want about Joe Girardi, but if he was managing the Yankees this year, you wouldn’t have had those cookie-cutter press conference responses and I guarantee you that players would be held accountable.

There is no accountability and that’s a massive issue. When there’s no accountability, the players have no reason to worry which has been a big problem for the Yankees. Gary Sanchez is the perfect example of this.

In the last couple of weeks, Sanchez made one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen as a catcher in a game against the Mets. I’m not exaggerating in saying that it might’ve been the worst play I’ve ever seen. Then over the weekend, he drops a crucial pop-up that leads to a seven run inning for Cleveland.

Think the Yankees catcher felt like he was going to get in trouble or benched for that? Absolutely not. When there’s no accountability, players let things like that roll off their shoulders. They know they will be given another chance.

Boone would rather give a million chances to Sanchez than bench him to send the message that this team needed. I’ll say this about Brian Cashman, he did his job this year at the deadline. He gave the Yankees more tools (Outside of the human garbage can Andrew Heaney) to win and they still couldn’t do it.

Boone might be the nicest guy in the world, but it’s time for a new look. They need someone with fire and not occasional fire towards the umpires. They need someone who will lay into his team if they are not playing up to their standards. It’s clear that Aaron Boone isn’t that guy.

Will they do anything?

My biggest fear is that Hal Steinbrenner will not do anything after this season. I have a great fear that they will come out and blame the players and not change anything with the Yankees staff.

Assuming they go on to miss the playoffs, there is no reason to keep Boone as the manager. Could it be slightly unfair considering the fact that he’s not playing? Maybe, but in professional sports, when the players don’t play up to their abilities consistently, the manager/coach is on the hook.

It’s time to send a message. The Yankees are now going to be 12 years removed from their last World Series championship. What they’ve done has clearly not worked and it’s time for some accountability. Enough is enough.

Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman earns glowing trade deadline reviews from MLB Insider

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

The Yankees were very active at the trade deadline trying to solve a major efficiency in the batting order, having too many righties and not enough left-handed hitters.

Looking to add a bit of diversity in the lineup, general manager Brian Cashman executed brilliantly, trading for Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo and first baseman from Chicago, Anthony Rizzo.

Both players bring slugging ability from the left side of the plate, and Rizzo has already hit two homers wearing pinstripes. In the Yankees’ series sweep over the Miami Marlins, Rizzo recorded five total hits as Gallo managed to get on base three times. The first baseman has elevated the offense tremendously, earning Cashman glowing reviews for his moves.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic raved about Cashman’s work at the trade deadline:

Best job of getting other teams to pay players’ salaries: The Yankees. That’s right, the biggest-market-in-baseball Yankees. They got the Rangers and Cubs to pay the full 2021 salaries of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, and the Yankees also didn’t have to part with any of their best prospects in those trades. They also received cash considerations from the Angels to help cover some of Heaney’s salary.

The most impressive part is that Cashman managed to get their salaries paid for so the Yankees could stay underneath the $210 million luxury tax threshold. The Steinbrenner’s were reportedly understanding if they had to push over, but Cashman managed to find a way to add great talent without having to pay for it.

Gallo is earning $6.2 million and Rizzo is on the books for $16.5 million this season, accounting for $22.7 million the Yankees managed to displace. A brilliant piece of managing by Cashman to improve the roster, not that it should’ve needed it in the first place. Luckily, both Gallo and Rizzo are traditionally healthy players, so the Yankees can feel confident depending on them and relying on their skills to be available on a daily basis.

As the Yankees crawl their way back into the AL East race, currently sitting seven games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, their best bet is competing for the Wild Card. They sit 2.5 games back from the Oakland Athletics. They’re within striking distance, and these new additions should provide them the firepower to make a full comeback.

New York Yankees still in on Trevor Story even after acquiring Joey Gallo

Yesterday, Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees finally did what the fans were begging for. They went out and made a big splash on the trade market. The Yankees agreed to a deal with the Texas Rangers to acquire lefty slugger Joey Gallo.

The deal is still being finalized and has not been announced yet by either club. However, at this point, the only thing that’s being reviewed is medicals. The Yankees will get Gallo and reliever Joely Rodriguez for four prospects.

Mark Feinsand reported this morning that the Rangers will be paying most of Gallo’s remaining Salary. That gives the Yankees a little wiggle room to go out and make another deal before the deadline which they are planning on doing.

Most reporters were vocal about the fact that the Yankees were not done after acquiring Gallo. He was the big one in terms of the deals they wanted to get done, but the Yankees are still looking to upgrade the team.

Brian Cashman has apparently realized the drastic need to shakeup the club. The Yankees finally have a little momentum and it’s feeling good in Yankee Land right now. While I figured they would focus on pitching, they are apparently still in on a Colorado shortstop.

Yankees still going after Story?

Jon Heyman reported this morning that even after acquiring Joey Gallo, the bombers are still interested in bringing in Trevor Story. While Gallo is controlled through next season, Story will be a free agent after the season.

It’s worth noting that in the Gallo deal, the team didn’t give up a single top ten prospect to make the deal happen. With the Rangers paying most of Gallo’s salary, the Yankees have financial room and still have the best prospects in their system.

Those two things gives the bombers a ton of flexibility in terms of what they want to do next. I’m a bit surprised to hear that they’re still in on Story. It appears that the Yankees are on the warpath and are looking at all options to improve the club.

I was told yesterday and it was also reported that that Giants are serious players for Story. My hunch is that he ends up there, but the Yankees do like him and see him as a big improvement for the infield.

While the Yankees already completed a big deal, they are far from done. This should be a really fun winddown to the 2021 trade deadline.

Sound Off: Do you want the Yankees to get Trevor Story or should they focus on pitching?

Are the New York Yankees targeting Kyle Schwarber?

New York Yankees, Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

We are just a couple of days away from the trade deadline and the New York Yankees are making moves. Last night, The Bombers sent a clear signal that they plan on buying at the trade deadline this year.

The Yankees traded away Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Cincinnati Reds. By trading Cessa and Wilson to the Reds, the Yankees freed up two roster spots and they freed up a little salary space.

It is being widely reported that Brian Cashman is engaged on a number of fronts. However, the Yankees seem to be maintaining that they will not deal the best prospects in their system at the deadline this year.

So forget your dreams of the Yankees potentially acquiring a Trea Turner. Instead, a lot of rental options are in play. Trevor Story has been linked to the Yankees for weeks and Jon Heyman reported that Cashman has made an offer to the Rockies.

Now, that offer was said to be weak and uninteresting to Colorado. However, it shows that Cashman is interested. There’s also been talks of Starling Marte, Max Kepler, and Joey Gallo.

Gallo and Kepler appear less likely to me at the moment because of the prospect premium that it would cost the Yankees. However, there’s a new name that’s generating interest on the market and it’s a name that Brian Cashman knows well.

Will the Yankees finally get their guy?

The Washington Nationals are in full sell-mode at the moment. It’s been reported that nobody outside of Juan Soto is untouchable for the Nats. Max Scherzer is expected to be dealt as soon as today.

Trea Turner could be on the block and despite nursing a hamstring injury, Kyle Schwarber is generating trade interest. Schwarber so far this season is hitting .253 with an OBP of .340. Not too mention the fact that he’s slugged 25 home runs and drove in 53 runs.

Schwarber swings it from the left-side which has been a monumental weakness for the Yankees. If the Yankees were to go out and acquire Schwarber, he would instantly be the team leader in both home runs and RBIs.

Schwarber is signed through this season with a mutual option and a buy-out after this season. Brian Cashman has always loved Kyle Schwarber. When the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in 2016, Schwarber was the guy they wanted.

However, they settled for Gleyber Torres in the end. Over the years, the Yankees have tried on numerous occasions to get Schwarber and it never worked out. Perhaps, this year could be the year.

Again, because of the injury, the interest is not known, but I guarantee the Yankees are interested. Schwarber could play in the outfield and he would give them the help they need from the left side of the plate. This is a name I would definitely watch between now and the deadline.

New York Yankees Analysis: A new insight to what may be wrong with the Yankees

hal steinbrenner, brian cashman

The big question across all of baseball is what’s wrong with the New York Yankees. The question arises because, at the beginning of the season, most baseball insiders said that the New York Yankees were to team to beat in the 2021 season. It was named a championship-caliber baseball team. Yet, almost two-thirds of the way through the season, the fact is that the Yankees cannot consistently win games and are not the championship team that was advertised.

Even manager Aaron Boone has stopped calling his Yankees a championship team at this point in the season. Instead, he at times hedges that by saying that it is a champion-caliber team that is underperforming. There is no question that that is true, but it remains that the Yankees won’t win the AL East and is fighting for its life to get a chance at a wild card slot. So, getting back to the big question as to why the Yankees stink, the question remains unresolved.

The New York Yankees have had their share of injuries this year. But the bulk of their starting lineup has remained healthy up until the Covid outbreak. For the most part, stars DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton have been able to stay on the field. However, the poster boy for injuries has been Luke Voit, who has missed much of the season with multiple injuries. The Yankees have also had some bad luck with starters. For example, Corey Kluber, after a no-hitter, developed a shoulder problem and pitched his last game on May 25th. But in the end, you can’t say that the Yankees have had more significant injuries than other teams.

The most obvious problem the Yankees have had is not being able to hit the baseball. Only slugger Aaron Judge has been performing as he should. Giancarlo Stanton gets an honorable mention, but beyond that, the hitting has been inconsistent at best, causing the Yankees to lose game after game and deny a good pitching staff any run support.

Yankee fans and industry sources have been wondering all season long as to why this is happening. Why have the Yankees left so many runners on base? Why do the Yankees hit into so many double plays? Why is last year’s batting champion hitting 100 points below his average last year? People just scratch their heads in disillusion bewilderment.

In the past few weeks, a possible answer may be emerging. Yankee fans often sight the dependence that the Yankees have on analytics. That is not a bonified complaint. The teams they can’t beat use analytics as well, if not even more than the Yankees. But it is emerging that it may be the New York Yankees Analytics department, how they interpret facts, and how they use them.

Many Yankees fans feel that the Yankees should throw out analytics and go with managing on the field. However, the fact is that a proportioned mix of what analytics say and what is actually happening on the field has to be taken into account.

First of all, let’s look at what analytics actually is for the sake of those that may not understand it. For the past twenty years, MLB and industry sources have gathered facts from every game and every situation and have created a data bank that stores those facts and predicts an outcome. Like in the insurance industry, they have actuaries that predict how likely you will get into an accident and how long you will live.  Plain and simple analytics work. But how you employ them is more important.

The New York Yankees’ analytics department might be full of the wrong people. Many think this team is worse at understanding the analytics, how to adapt them and communicate them than other teams that lead them.

Michael Fishman is assistant GM and head of analytics in the Yankees front office. He and his team are most responsible for interpreting the data given by analytics and conveying what that data means to the manager. Make no mistake; a computer does not put out the Yankees lineup. There are real people involved that make decisions as to how to apply what they know all the way. People make mistakes, and all too often, too many of them. The biggest mistake the Yankees make is denying what they are seeing on the field at the moment. Analytics is based over time, not what the present trend is. If a player is having the week of his life at the plate, you don’t take him out because analytics say so.

The examples are far too many to mention. Going back to earlier in the season, the Yankees kept Aaron Hicks in the third slot in the lineup even though he couldn’t hit. It’s a case of going by the analytics and paying no attention to what was actually happening. A similar mistake was hitting Brett Gardner second in the lineup. Forget the analytics; if you have to use players that can’t hit, put them late in the lineup.

Analytics does not explain why the Yankee players are not consistently hitting, but it may affect decisions that cost the Yankees to lose games. But remember, the teams the Yankees can’t beat are using the same analytics, but it appears they are using them differently than the Yankees.