Sunday, July 25, 2021

To Buy or To Sell...


MLB Trading Deadline approaches…

Friday, July 30th, 4:00 pm ET.

If anything, I have always tried to be a realist when it comes to the Yankees. There are years I have felt the team was a dominant performer capable of boldly sweeping October. Sadly, this is not one of those years. As I type this post, the Yankees sit eight games behind the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. One of the AL co-leaders and the Oakland A’s hold the two Wild Card spots with the Yankees sitting 3.5 games behind the A’s. They trail the Seattle Mariners by a game. Yes, I think the Yankees can catch and pass the Mariners and the A’s, but realistically, how deep into October can this team go?

I know, playoffs are always about which teams are “hot” at the moment, and it could be the Yankees as much as anyone, but the team carries too many flaws in my opinion and they’ll be exposed facing a steady diet of #1 and #2 starters if they somehow get in as a Wild Card participant. I don’t see the Yankees advancing very far and wonder if the team would be better served to make potential trades this week to help enhance chances for 2022…not this year. Short term rentals make no sense to me. Why throw away prospects when, in all likelihood, there is no chance for World Series participation in 2021? I’d rather use the prospects to help build the stable of quality, cost-controlled young talent that can help develop the next Yankees dynasty. 

I am not bailing out on the 2021 Yankees. I want the team to win as much as anyone. But to say they are the best team in the American League is something only a myopic Yankees fan would say. When there was the standard “Yankees suck” chant at Fenway Park the other night, I liked the social media comments asking if those were Red Sox or Yankee fans? Fair question…

This season has caused me to question if Aaron Boone is the right man to lead the team. I like Boone and I enjoy the good rapport he has with his players, but he doesn’t seem to get the maximum performance out of his players like some managers do. I always struggle with the question of who is better from the current managerial availability pool? I’ve heard people say Buck Showalter, but he had his time with the Yankees. He is a knowledgeable baseball man but the Yankees can do better. Of course I always quietly hope Don Mattingly becomes available to return home, but that’s not likely. Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter recently picked up Donnie Baseball’s mutual option for 2022. Ideally, you’d want someone with some experience. After the inexperienced Boone got the Yankees job most recently, I don’t think the next manager would be as inexperienced as he was. It takes too long to determine if he is the right fit for the job as the first year is always written off as “he’s learning”. I don’t want on-the-job training with someone wet behind the ears. The Yankees were interested in Bob Melvin after they parted ways with Joe Girardi. Perhaps it’s time to rekindle that interest. Oakland exercised Melvin’s option for 2022, so it would take prospects and bucket loads of cash to get Melvin but his track record shows he would be the right man for a job with a stronger budget than the cost-conscious Athletics. If not Melvin, it needs to be someone who can inspire his players like Melvin does. Baseball is not about being your friend. Winning is everything.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Nice comeback by the Yankees yesterday against the Red Sox. Credit to Estevan Florial for starting the rally against former Yank Nathan Eovaldi. He’ll probably be headed back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but I am reaching the point I’d prefer to have Florial over the unreliable Aaron Hicks for next season. I felt a little bad for former Yankee reliever Adam Ottavino for the dunk hits that Sox right-fielder Franchy Cordero couldn’t get to (okay, not really) but whatever it takes. The Yankees needed to steal a game after so many losses of winnable games. I hate the uneasy feeling that comes when Aroldis Chapman enters the ninth, but it is slowly getting better. It wasn’t that long ago Chapman and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen were the best closers in the game. Now, it’s potential disaster any time either guy enters a game. It would be nice for Zack Britton to round back into form, but we’re not there yet. Hard to blame Chad Green for the occasional blow-ups. I think he is better served in the seventh and eighth innings than the critical ninth. I am grateful for the return of Jonathan Loaisiga who has arguably been the most trusted reliever in the Yankees bullpen this year.

It will be interesting to see what this week brings. Will GM Brian Cashman be an active player, one way or the other, or will there be nothing but crickets in the Yankees’ front office? I am not going to make a pro-Trevor Story or pro-Joey Gallo statement as I feel the team has much greater needs. I am glad to see Corey Kluber is throwing again, placing both him and Luis Severino on the team’s radar in the coming weeks and months. Too little too late, but it’s a start for a better 2022. Regardless of what happens, I always enjoy the usual hectic pace of the days leading up to the trading deadline. Always a bit like Christmas even if we walk away with a lump of coal. 

Congrats to the Yankees for the MLB Draft. I had been hopeful the team would sign the 20th round pick, Sean Hard, but he announced the intention to fulfill his commitment to Boston College. He will certainly win brownie points in Boston for spurning the Yankees. Fortunately, the Yankees were able to sign the other player that I thought was a long-shot, third round pick LHP Brock Selvidge, Hamilton High School (Chandler, AZ), who had previously committed to LSU. By signing their first and second round picks for under their slotted values, along with some of the lower picks, the Yankees were able to give Selvidge a signing bonus of $1.5 million (slot value was only $637,600). So, even though they lost out on Hard, I thought it was good strategic management of the bonus pool to sign 18 of 20 players picked. 

Photo Credit: Michael Chow, The Republic

As always, Go Yankees!

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