Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Went Wrong With The Yankees?




The New York Yankees have failed to make the playoffs for the third time in five years. This is the first time this has happened for the Yankees since before 1995, when they did not make the playoffs from 1981-1984. This season marks the fourth time in manager Joe Girardi’s nine years that the Yankees did not play baseball in October. The landscape of baseball has drastically changed since the height of his powers, but it is safe to say that this performance is way below the standards of George Steinbrenner.


Coming into this season, Yankees fans didn’t exactly have October baseball marked down in permanent marker in the their calendars. Before the season began, predictions for the Yankees ranged all over the map, from finishing way below .500, to a Wild Card team, to possibly making a run for the AL East crown. Yankees fans always have playoff expectations, but they are also realistic. Fans can’t be steaming and that upset that they didn’t make the playoffs, but there are still reasons why the Yankees season ended before game 162. So what exactly what went wrong with the New York Yankees in 2016?


Two obvious reasons come from the play of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Both players had their best seasons in nearly five seasons last year and were the main reasons why the Yankees made the Wild Card game. Teixeira was named an All-Star for the first time since the 2009 World Series season, finishing the season with 31 home runs, 79 RBI, and a .906 OPS (his 2nd highest as a Yankee). Tex’s season was cut short due in August due to a fractured shin. Tex had probably his worst season as a Yankee in 2016, posting a batting average of under .200 for the majority of the season, reaching a low of .176 in June. In August, Teixeira announced his will retire at the end of the 2016 season.


Coming off his 2014 PED suspension, a more-humbled Alex Rodriguez had his best Yankees season in seven seasons in 2015. Rodriguez recorded 33 home runs, 86 RBIs, an .842 OPS, and stepped into the leader role, especially with Derek Jeter no longer with the team. Rodriguez would not come close to that production level in 2016, finishing with only nine home runs, 31 RBIs, and a .200 batting average, leading Joe Girardi to bench him until the team decided to part ways with the slugger in August.


The major regression of Teixeira and Rodriguez was a big reason why the Yankees did not make the playoffs this season, but there are others to point fingers at as well. The Yankees counted on Michael Pineda to be a reliable number two starter, but Big Mike could not live up to expectations. Pineda recorded a career high in innings with 175 innings and 207 strikeouts (6th best in the AL) but also posted a career high with a 4.82 ERA and put up an abysmal record of 6-12. Pineda is one of the most frustrating players because his 207 strikeouts show he has the tools to be a top starter, with his 94 MPH fastball and 85 MPH slider, but he just can’t seem to put it all together and pitch consistently.


Overall, the Yankees relied on old players past their prime to carry them and it simply did not happen. The retirement of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira marks the end of an era, as the Yankees will now begin a youth movement. Brian Cashman did not throw in the towel in July, but he also did not make moves to win this year, which was totally fine by every Yankees fan. Cashman has positioned the Yankees for the future, trading off valuable assets to build one of the best farm systems in baseball.


Any Yankees fan will spin this season as a positive because of the influxation of youth and the fact the Yankees were in the playoff race until late September. However, the goal for the New York Yankees every season is to win the World Series, and they did not come close to reaching that goal.

24 comments:

  1. Everyone welcome our latest writer to the crew, Marcus Williams!

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  2. Welcome Marcus, happy days for you Daniel and us lazy commenters.

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  3. One thing the Yankees will have to get over is the BS the front office puts out, like; "New York Yankees expect to win the World Series every season" it is hard enough to repeat two let alone more.
    True the Yankees are going about it as I (and some others) thought they were going to and had to make things move to the farm kids. This is the fastest and only way they have to go without spending too much money.
    Now they need one or two game changers...pitcher, masher and closer!

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  4. Reed, kind of a question for you (Daniel, obviously I'd like you to dedicate an article to this too)

    Is there a problem with the way the Yankees target and evaluate pitchers? Sevs, betances, eovaldi, Pineda, Acevedo. I feel the team targets big hard throwers... Is it working? I'd imagine these guys are more prone to injury, and will be forced to change their approach with age. Don't think guys succeed thru minors on sheer velocity, then run into issues?

    Obviously, people are added not fitting this description. Other drafts, trades and signings, sure. But the BIG names in the organization are hard throwers. And don't get me wrong, (older mussina), pettitte, Kershaw (ok, maybe not fair), Bumgarner, Kuroda... These guys aren't big flame throwers. And longevity might be important.

    Thoughts?

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    1. That an easy one to answer and a good question Daryl!

      I believe in to-days BP one needs that dominate overpowering closer, one that has more than just a 100mph fastball. Closer with great stuff and great C&C is my 1st choice...those are hard to come up with because they end up in the starting rotation, but we have one in Jacob Lindgren IF he can get and stay healthy with a bit more command.
      Guys like Drew Finley and Kaprielian are those that stay around a long time and go deep into games end up with a 16/20 year career with near 300 wins. It is nice to have that big arm but I go for the Very Good Arm with talent!

      Footnote;
      I will be the odd man out on this one because of my background in pitching myself, along with meeting some of the Yankee great pitchers of yesteryear...none of whom were even at 95 mph., but they won a ton of games for the Yankees. Whitey, LoPat, Stottlemyre etc.!

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    2. Players are stronger and faster and have evolved with better technology so Reed you aren't comparing apples and apples with todays pitchers against the guys you saw growing up

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    3. Oh, yes I am, look it up! The guys that stick around and do a good job are guys with great C&C (Command of strike zone and Control of one's pitches) and don't throw more than 92/94 mph.
      Heck, Andy P, did ok and he reached 90 mph, once in awhile. Tank is at 93+/- mph., and gets hurt when he throws it!

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    4. Obviously there isn't a stat or a rhyme or reason to injuries and how bigger framed pitchers adjust as opposed to smaller framed pitchers. For every Pedro Martinez there seems to be a Randy Johnson, both were durable and both were polar opposites.

      I can try to do some research on this but when you have bigger guys like Pineda getting hurt you can always argue the durability of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and others against it.

      There's no science to it I don't think.

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    5. One thing to take into account (maybe) is Miller pitches one inning, whereas Dellin pitches 1+ innings and too damn many pitches an inning and a year. He is no help going down to the wire...he is plum wore out by September. Even this year as the closer he was pitching back to back to back games and throwing to many pitches an inning.
      His numbers this year have not been good (for him) he is not a closer, keep him as the 7th or 8th inning guy and only one inning at a time.
      Chapman would be nice but I'll take Miller (cheaper)! If we can't have 4 BP pitchers for the 6th, 7th and 8th innings (yes 4 pitchers for 3 spots)...stick a fork in us!
      Yup! I rambled again...that's what I do! LOL

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  5. Hans, I know people are stronger and faster bc technology. You hear it about Olympics, even as US has better training and tech than other nations and a better advantage. I know there's also "baseball all year" growing up which can be some cause for injuries.

    Hard throwers in bullpen or closing, definitely. But it's not working out well for us with starters!

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    1. That is why I added; Chance Adams, Jordan Montgomery and James Kaprielian (I have him starting out in the BP to get in shape) none of these guys are in the class of the 99/100+ mph guys.

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  6. Daryl its not working because the person making the decision to bring these pitchers in is flawed. He is a terrible judge of pitching talent and always has been.

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    1. I think we all have said we agree with his trouble judging Talent of any sort..."he just don't got it" the good part is, he knows his limations

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    2. Cashman sucks at evaluating talent. No one will argue that. It's not his job to evaluate talent, not anymore. Not in this day and age. Now it's the 1 million scouts who evlaute the talent. Unfortunately Cashman picks them too.

      One thing you must remember is what did it take to acquire these players? Michael Pineda sucks 6 times out of ten but Jesus Montero has sucked 10 times out of 10 and for a young pitcher with upside and talent it was an absolute steal.

      That helps it from hurting so bad. At least to me.

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    3. So the million dollar question is if we all agree the elf sucks at evaluating talent why is he the GM? The gm needs to be a talent evaluator whether its on the draft or trades or FA signings. He is the worst at evaluating pitching

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    4. That is not the GM's job, do you have any idea how many other things he does and has to do each day. If you don't I am sorry because, you have not been there and done that. I was Vice Commander once or twice. Let me tell you, it was hell, there are too many things that must get done and way to little time to get it all done.
      That is why he need not be a talent person, but he needs to have better people around him.

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  7. The GM needs to be a talent evaluator, yes Reed I know he handles contracts and he handles negations on the farm teams on where they will play along with many other things. However the three I mentioned are indeed a part of his job function

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    1. I don't think so, not anymore. How often do you see a GM sitting in the stands at another team's game watching a player? You just don't see it anymore like you used to. Now it's faceless scouts and advisers to the GM. It's just the way the game is getting watered down.

      I think, and this is just my opinion like the above was as well, with every game being televised and sabermetric stats that GM's don't simply need to be talent evaluators anymore. They just need to know how to read an excel sheet loaded up with stats by some whiz kid they hired and that's what they base their decisions off of.

      Some, not all obviously.

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    2. I spoke to my friend who is a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals and he says emphatically that the GM needs to be a talent evaluator because the bottom line is if the GM relies on all his scouts and nothing pans out who gets fired? The GM, so I got that answer from a scout. Agree or disagree I think the gm needs to evaluate as he is the one that has the final say

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    3. If the GM is not going to be good at evaluating talent, then at the very least, he needs to be able to evaluate those that are. Some of you say it's not his job, Hans says it is. I really don't care who's job it is. All I'm saying is that it's not getting done. Cashman can't evaluate talent, and he can't hire anybody that can. Either way, it's pretty much his fault.

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    4. Agreed Levin. That's why I never could understand why the Yanks never take talent evaluators away from successful organizations like the Cards and Giant's and even the Rays as they are always picking talented pitchers in later rounds. Hiring a career minor league hitting instructor as your VP of player operations makes no sense to me, but then again having the owner we have and the gm we have makes no sense to me

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    5. I think everyone can agree with you Jeff. Doesn't matter whose job it is as long as the job is getting done.

      BTW, and I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, the Yankees gave Gary Denbo rave reviews for the way he handled the minor league system this year.

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    6. Listen to your last line Burch. The Yankees gave him rave reviews. What else would they say?

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