Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Power of Lefties...


Photo Credit: Eric Espada, Getty Images

Busy Trading Deadline for Yanks…

This was the type of trading deadline I had hoped for in 2019 that didn’t come to fruition. The Yankees were heavily involved this year, adding all left-handers. We’ve been screaming for lefty bats (a glaring weakness since the departure of guys like Didi Gregorius) and were gifted two of the most powerful lefty bats on the market. The long-anticipated bat of Joey Gallo and the surprise acquisition of Anthony Rizzo. The moves on the pitching side lacked the substance of the offensive additions but the Yankees also acquired lefty pitchers Joely Rodriguez and Andrew Heaney.

I know the complaints about Gallo (too much like other hitters in the lineup, strikes out too much) but he is a good baseball player. The batting average doesn’t mean anything. His ability to crush baseballs and get on base, to go with excellent baserunning instincts and Glove Glove level defense make him a tremendous addition. The fact he’s not a rental is that much sweeter. I’d rather have Joey Gallo playing for me than against me. For as much talk as I’ve heard how he’ll like the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium, I was a little surprised when I heard that he has not hit a home run at Yankee Stadium. I looked it up and he has one career homer against the Yankees. It was a second inning home run off Masahiro Tanaka at the old Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas on May 21, 2018 (Yankees won that game, 10-5).

As much as I am excited about the addition of Anthony Rizzo, I am less enthused about a rental for this year’s team. If I felt better about the team’s chances this year, it would be one thing, but I do not. Kevin Alcantara was my favorite outfield prospect outside of Jasson Dominguez and I feel he has tremendous potential. I was excited about a future outfield featuring Alcantara and Dominguez. Not trying to “prospect-hug” but sacrificing such a promising player for 2-3 months of Rizzo seems like a huge risk. If the Yankees surprise me and win the World Series this year, no doubt it will have been worth it. But if not, it will be tough to watch Alcantara achieve future Major League success. Nevertheless, now that Rizzo is a Yankee, I am happy. I love superior defense at first base…something that has been missing since Mark Teixeira retired. I’d love to see the Yankees find a way to re-sign Rizzo in the off-season, but not sure if that’s in the cards. Now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shortstop Trea Turner, it seems like there is a good chance they might let Corey Seager walk at the end of the year. I’d love to see either Seager or Trevor Story take over shortstop to push Gleyber Torres back to second base. This of course would push D.J. LeMahieu to first base and he obviously needs to play. I suppose the Yankees could trade Torres for pitching, sign either Seager or Story AND Rizzo, keeping LeMahieu at second. After one game and listening to Rizzo talk, he seems like he could become such a fan favorite in the Bronx like he was in Chicago. Team chemistry is so important and Rizzo is clubhouse glue.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

There’s no question the Yankees will need to reconstruct the team this off-season. Good for them to stay below the luxury tax penalty but they need to use the savings to help rebuild a team that can be a force in the AL East and not a marginal Wild Card team like they are now. 

I was probably more excited about initially speculated reliever John King as part of the Gallo trade than I was the pitcher who was actually acquired, Joely Rodriguez. The Yankees saw something in the medicals for King (shoulder issue) which caused the restructure of the trade. On the bright side, the step down from King to Rodriguez meant the Yankees were able to hang on to outfield prospect Everson Pereira, another one of my favorites. I am sure the Yankees did their homework on Rodriguez and I am hopeful he’ll find success in the Yankees bullpen.

Photo Credit: Smiley N. Pool, Staff Photographer, The Dallas Morning News

I think all of us wanted the Yankees to acquire former Minnesota Twins ace Jose Berrios. It was a little disappointing a division rival (Toronto Blue Jays) acquired him, but I can’t fault the Yankees. The Blue Jays gave up two top five prospects. Not sure I’d want to see the Yankees pay that price. Given the strength of Toronto’s farm system, the bright side is they depleted some of it. Sure, I’d rather have Berrios than not, but it’s not the end of the world. 

It felt a little underwhelming when it was announced the Yankees had acquired former Los Angeles Angels starter Andrew Heaney. I know he has become a journeyman pitcher, but there was a time when he was considered one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in the game back during his days in the Miami Marlins organization. Perhaps the Yankees can find something in him to help position him for great rotation depth as the team’s “sixth” starter, pushing Nestor Cortes, Jr back into a more traditional bullpen role. 

Welcome to the Yankees family, Joey, Anthony, Joely, and Andrew!  Your mission is simple…get us to October baseball and just win.

Yankees fans have been calling for Kyle Schwarber for years. I guess we’ll painfully see that swing in Yankee Stadium more often now that he is a member of the Boston Red Sox. I am glad Boston was unable to make any significant pitching upgrades at the deadline. I would have hated to see them get Max Scherzer although that was never realistic given Max’s geographical preferences. Unfortunately, the Red Sox will soon get a pitching upgrade in the form of a healthy Chris Sale, but Boston is far from our worry right now. As Buck Showalter said last night, the Yankees may be 3 ½ games out of the Wild Card chase, but if you look at the loss column only, they are two games out. I say this from a biased point of view, but I do feel strongly the Yankees are a better team than the Oakland A’s or Seattle Mariners. Now that they have balance in the lineup, and will soon get help from Luis Severino and Corey Kluber, there is a very strong chance that the team will get hot and go on an extended winning roll with the newly improved roster.

The jury is still out on Aaron Boone. If the Yankees do fail to achieve the playoffs or make the Wild Card game and bow out, his time as Yankees manager must end. Let’s not waste the best years of Gerrit Cole’s career with poor managerial decisions. Time for a pro to handle the reigns. 

As always, Go Yankees!