Saturday, August 12, 2023

Just One of Those Seasons...


Giancarlo Stanton (Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Yankees are not a good team…

Aside from a rare Friday night victory, Yankee fans were dealt a double whammy yesterday. The Yankees announced the placement of Nestor Cortes, Jr on the 15-Day Injured List with a rotator cuff strain in his left pitching arm (days after placing Carlos Rodón on the Injured List), and that Luis Severino (ugh!) will make his next start on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves. Most fans felt the team needed to bring in a pitcher and a left fielder before the August 1 deadline, and in retrospect, that need has been heavily underscored in the days following the deadline. 

Losing Nestor hurts. The Yankees’ playoff chances were in doubt before his loss, so the reinjury of Nestor’s rotator cuff moved the Yankees further away from the ability to compete for October.  

Continuing to start Luis Severino every fifth day has become a joke. The games he starts feel like losses before the first pitch is thrown and they generally are. In his last seven games, Sevy is 1-5 with an 11.71 ERA and 2.39 WHIP. The use of an opener on Wednesday did not help as Sevy gave up four earned runs on five hits in two innings of work, taking the loss and helping the Yankees to drop the three-game series to the Chicago White Sox. Expecting better results against the Atlanta Braves is not a prudent bet. I think I can speak for most fans when I say we have seen enough of Luis Severino in 2023.

Luis Severino (Photo Credit: Robert Sabo/NY Post)

An impending free agent, his chances of resigning with the Yankees are about as good as Aroldis Chapman’s were last off-season. I guess you could say that Sevy did not give up on his team like Chapman did, but regardless of whether Sevy’s ailments are physical or mental, 2023 is a lost season for him and he is not going to make a miraculous comeback. It is time to move on from Sevy and given how much I have liked the pitcher over the years, that is a tough but true realization. With Nestor moving to the Injured List, both Randy Vasquez and Jhony Brito are in the Major League clubhouse. Yet, the Yankees continue to roll out Sevy every week for more losses.  I had expected Will Warren to make an impact for the Major League team sometime this season, but he is only 7-4 with a 4.27 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in nineteen starts this season in Triple-A. Still, I would probably rather see Warren take his lumps for the big-league club than watch Severino pitch again. Clayton Beeter seems like the only other minor league option, but he has fared worse at the Triple-A level (1-3, 6.25 ERA, 1.52 WHIP in six games). The righthanded pitchers are both 24 years of age. The Yankees need to rebuild their starting rotation next season behind Gerrit Cole and a hopefully healthy Carlos Rodón and it is important for the Yankees to find out what they have with the young pitchers like Warren and Beeter. I would rather see them grow at the Major League level now than be subjected to another Severino start. 

As for Nestor, they are saying surgery is not on the table. I hope that is truly the case. It would be disappointing for weeks or months to pass, only to find out that Nestor needs Tommy John surgery. Until he is determined to be fully healthy, it is hard to factor him as a primary rotation cog for 2024.  I am hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. I would love for the fears to be unfounded. The Nestor news was further aggravated by the disclosure that Frankie Montas will not pitch this season. There had been some hope we would see him toward the end of the season. Montas will go down as one of Brian Cashman’s worst trades despite several other strong recent contenders for the abysmal title. 

The Yankees have not faced a losing season since Buck Showalter’s first season as Yankees manager in 1992. They finished 76-86, tied for fourth place in the AL East. Currently, the Yankees are 60-56, alone in the AL East Cellar by one game.  A losing season is a possibility. The Yankees are four games out of the Wild Card chase and the gap between them and the current third Wild Card team, the Toronto Blue Jays, seems much greater than it is. The two outside teams ahead of the Yankees in pursuit of the Blue Jays, the Seattle Mariners, and the Boston Red Sox, have current win streaks of eight and three games, respectively.  They are doing what the Yankees have been unable to do…win consistently. Face it, the Yankees are not making the playoffs. Even if they did somehow manage to leapfrog the Red Sox, Mariners, and Blue Jays in the next month and a half, they would not make it far in the playoff rounds. I do not buy ‘anything can happen if they make the playoffs’ with this Yankees team. There will be no World Series parades in New York this year. 

The Yankees should have sold at the deadline. Standing pat was the worst thing they could have done. Either go for it or reload for next season. The Yankees chose to do neither. Now, we are faced with possibly the worst Yankees team in thirty-one years and a grim outlook for next season. What will it take for Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner to take action to restore the team to World Series contending status? If it takes a losing season to make it happen, so be it. Hal needs to take the necessary action to ensure the Yankees can compete with the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, and Boston Red Sox in the coming years. Baltimore looks to be a very dominant team with their pipeline of young, growing star players. Hal has apparently made the decision to retain Brian Cashman, which I think is a mistake. It is time for new blood in the front office. Assistant GM and analytics nerd Michael Fishman is done. The Yankees need a new head nerd and a new manager if Cashman is not going anywhere. Well, they would need those two positions replaced even if Cashman was exiting. The point is the Yankees need to stop doing what they have always done and try a new, fresh innovative approach to help lead the team to successful results. I would love to see what the brightest available minds in baseball could do with the Yankees’ vast resources. 

Hal, your move.

So long, Deivi

In a surprise move, the Yankees designated RHP Deivi Garcia for assignment on Monday to make room for Jonathan Loáisiga. Garcia was subsequently claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox and re-assigned to their Triple-A club. It is a sad Yankees ending for a pitcher that once held so much promise. Glad to see Loáisiga’s return but genuinely sorry it came at Deivi’s expense. Albert Abreu seemed like a better candidate for dismissal.  


Deivi Garcia (Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post)

With the number of talented minor league players that need to be placed on the 40-man roster this winter or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft, it was fairly obvious that Garcia would not survive his place on the roster come November. Yet, I did not expect the ending to happen so quickly.  The Yankees must have believed he offered no hope for this season since they were willing to let him go. At the very least, if the Yankees knew Garcia was not in their future plans, they should have dealt him at the deadline for a low-level minor leaguer. If Garcia finds success in Chicago, the Yankees’ mishandling of the pitcher will be forever magnified. It reminds me of New York Mets starter Jose Quintana who played out a minor league contract with the Yankees in 2011 and signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox. Quintana proved the Yankees misjudged his talent. Hopefully, for Deivi’s sake, he can do the same. 

As always, Go Yankees!  

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