As May begins to wrap up, the Yankees are no longer in the beginning of the season. The trade deadline is still a ways away, but the Yankees are now going to look in the mirror and realistically evaluate what they have.
For the first time in years, the Yankees gave themselves valuable breathing room in first place, which allows for a bit of relaxation and a reasonable margin of error for at least the next few weeks. So far, Yankees outstanding pitching has been leading the victories along with an offense that is just good/consistent enough to win ball games. All of these are good things, but one has to wonder, how long can this last?
The Yankees offense is better-rounded than what it feels like in previous years. While home runs are still plenty, the Yankees find other ways to manufacture runs. This fixes a flaw this author pointed out in previous seasons because now the team can attack on multiple fronts. Stanton and Judge seem to have clicked together like the double-whammy we have hoped for. But with all of this being said, there are some glaring holes in our offense that must be addressed.
Yankees need another outfielder. Aaron Hicks is lost as both a batter and a defense player. He appears to have an uncharacteristic lack of urgency towards chasing the ball on big plays. One could say his mental distraction is bleeding over from his frustrations at the plate. The Yankees are clearly preparing to replace him because Judge has been playing centerfield, leaving the corner positions to Stanton and Joey Gallo.
However, Gallo’s offensive struggles have been frustrating beyond belief. This author honestly feels bad for him, because he seems like a very likable guy otherwise and put forth the image that he wants to be here. The Yankees need to win a World Series now. At this point, if Hicks and Gallo are not apart of the solution, they must be replaced with someone who will be.
Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka might simultaneously be one of the best 1-2 punch of defensive catchers and also the worse 1-2 blow of poor offensive at the position. This fits Cashman’s off season theme of prioritizing defense over offense. To Cashman’s credit, the strategy has worked very well so far, but there is a lot riding on Ben Rortvedt. Not only was he supposedly the best catcher in the Twins system, but also expected to be a left handed power bat, which should make any Yankee fan salivate. If he lives up to the hype, he will be a difference maker in this teams run at the World Series.
The Yankee bullpen this year has been nothing short of outstanding. What I fear about this is a repeat of 2019, where the Yankee bullpen was exhausted in October due to over-reliance on their success. The two specific persons of interest are Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Laoisiga.
I felt as though Chapman should have been traded during the offseason, however unlikely. Today, trading him for a decent return feels near impossible. I do not know who in baseball is in enough of a do-or-die win-now position where they will be willing to take on his money and give up good pieces for his unpredictable inconsistency, regardless of his upside. The Yankees survival is dependent on Chapman figuring it out.
Loaisiga has experienced a steep decline since his star-studded season last year. However, he is not far removed from success. Also, Matt Blake has proven to work wonders with this pitching staff as a whole so far, so fans should remain confident that Loaisiga will get right back to where he should be in time for October.
Yet, this author cannot shake the feeling of the ticking time bomb of disaster approaching. If the offense were to struggle during a given stretch of time, Yankees pitching can compensate. But if the pitching were to struggle for the same stretch of time, I am not sure how often the Yankees offense can bail them out. The Yankees will wind up winning the division; however, this current roster still lacks necessary firepower to win a World Series.
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