The New York Yankees are again being hit hard by injuries, but may be in need of a wake up call more than anything else if they want to salvage their season.
While fans will monitor the news and rumor mill as we approach today’s trade deadline, the real “fix” from the Yankees comes from a new approach, one that is rooted in reality and honest self analysis, because their stubborn ignorance may close their championship window faster than injuries will.
On Sunday, the Yankees gave the ball to rookie Deivi Garcia, long considered to the best prospect in their system, and Garcia turned in a marvelous performance against the New York Mets, becoming the youngest pitcher to start a game for the Yankees since Phil Hughes back in 2007.
Garcia allowed four singles, struck out six, walked none and threw 75 pitches over six innings, and had been pitching a shutout until Dominic Smith’s score-tying single in the sixth inning.
Garcia’s performance won’t likely lead to a permanent stint in the starting rotation now, but despite the long struggles of J.A. Happ and the injured James Paxton, it’s hard to understand the Yankees thinking when it comes to their roster.
It took injuries for the Yankees to be forced to give outfielder Clint Frazier a real shot at the big league level, despite the sharp decline of veteran Brett Gardner who has slowed in the outfield and has been brutal at the plate. While Frazier has shined, Gardner is showing that it may have been best for him to retire following his impressive 2019 campaign.
Yet, manager Aaron Boone stays loyal to Gardner, whose constant strikeouts may be the main topic of conversation if not for the putrid play of catcher Gary Sanchez.
Despite Sanchez’s grand slam last night to help propel the Yankees to a win over the Mets, Sanchez has been terrible at the plate, and has barely carried over a near .200 average since 2018, riddled by strikeouts but inflated by home runs.
Plain and simply – if Sanchez isn’t launching a homer, he’s striking out.
Sanchez has also been bad defensively, again, as well. The Yankees have been trying to fix him as a catcher since he came up and nothing seems to work for very long, before Sanchez again gives up passed ball after passed ball.
The Yankees maddening commitment to the below-mediocre play of Gardner and Sanchez has handcuffed them this season, but they aren’t the only player that the Bombers have been ignorantly dismissing or just turning a blind eye for their terrible play.
Veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks is another Yankees stinking it up this season, and while the Yankees are ravaged by injuries to an otherwise deep outfield, Hicks has proven that he serves more value as a trade piece than a long-time fixture on a roster with World Series aspirations.
To compound their issues even further, not even a record signing of ace Gerritt Cole can fix the Yankees long-standing rotation woes.
Masahiro Tanaka is great in the postseason, but inconsistent in the regular season, looking more of a 3 than a 2, but his value in the playoffs is impossible to ignore.
James Paxton has looked dominant in stretches, and then he looks like AJ Burnett for stretches, and is also oft-injured, and with his contract coming up this offseason it’s fair to wonder if he’s a solution.
Then there’s Luis Severino, who has showed flashes of brilliance but has been sidelined by injuries. Pitchers who aren’t able to take the mound simply aren’t considered to be reliable today, or tomorrow.
So, the Yankees will again be working the phones for trades, further compromising their farm system for band-aids that won’t fix the deep rooted problem with their approach.