BRONX, N.Y. — At the All-Star break, your 2023 New York Yankees sport a ledger of 49-42. They are one game out of a playoff spot. Plus, they’re one game ahead of the last-place rival Boston Red Sox, a team that allegedly wasn’t trying this season.
One could argue if the Yankees should be better or worse but as football Hall of Fame New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells would say, “You are what your record says you are.” In other words, not ideal.
In this space, I’m grading what I and many of you have witnessed thus far in the first half. I’m a tough grader. With that, let’s take a look.
While one can’t say Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t spend on payroll, he’s clearly out of touch with the fanbase. A fanbase that takes out a second mortgage to watch this team. A team that charges fans like they’ve won three World Series titles in a row. There’s been zero accountability from the top, aside from the rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic with swapping Sean Casey for Dillon Lawson at hitting coach.
The complacency is an overcorrection from when his father owned the club and it’s why general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone remain. Steinbrenner also told everyone after signing Carlos Rodon that the club wasn’t done yet. However, a lineup that was stymied in the 2022 ALCS saw virtually no changes and entered the season sans a left fielder. While Anthony Volpe may be the goods eventually, the club passed on two of the best free agent classes for shortstops. The team also passed on Nathan Eovaldi to bolster starting rotation depth.
GENERAL MANAGER: D –
The roster construction is flawed. A lineup shouldn’t fall apart because one guy, Aaron Judge, is injured. This isn’t football where if you lose your quarterback or basketball if your center goes down, where your team drops. Cashman entered the season without a left fielder, leaving the position to a young infielder Oswaldo Cabrera, doubling down on Aaron Hicks and eventually throwing no-arm Isiah Kiner-Falefa (another infielder) in the outfield.
He continued his sunk cost fallacy with Josh Donaldson, burying the “untouchable” Oswald Peraza in the minors. He also banked on the combination of DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Harrison Bader, Anthony Rizzo, Jose Trevino, and Kyle Higashioka either not getting old, being injury prone, or regressing offensively.
The lack of drafting depth development is also on Cashman.
If not for Matt Blake’s wizardry, I shudder to think what the beat-up pitching staff would be doing.
Boone can only do so much with the roster he’s given but does he get the most out of his roster like say, Alex Cora or Kevin Cash? He doesn’t seem to have his guys prepared to play and far too many times this team does things that would make Tom Emanski cry. Situationally and fundamentally, there is a lapse. The way he apologizes for some of his players is mind-boggling. Plus, he doesn’t have a feel for some of his players and lacks urgency.
Many players have regressed under Boone. Plus, the “great communicator” can’t seem to manifest the best out of his players. Some of these guys strut around like they’ve won five titles around here and that’s on the manager.
Aside from Judge, this lineup has been brutal. Gleyber Torres added some early fool’s gold too. Some of the replacements had had their moments but as mentioned above, the core of expected regulars have gone to rubble. Rule changes such as banning the shift have done nothing to boost even mundane hits. This team gets criticized for being a “three true outcomes” lineup but they don’t even do that well. Their .300 team on-base percentage is tied for fourth-worst in MLB. The team’s .710 OPS is ranked No. 21. They can’t even work a pitcher anymore, as starters have gone seven innings on 21 occasions against this lineup.
PITCHING: B +
The Yankees team ERA is 3.80 or seventh best in the bigs. Gerrit Cole, who is starting the All-Star Game, has pitched like an ace, a Cy Young Award contender, and a solid stopper. It’s a shame how the Yankees are wasting his prime. Rodon has made one start. Luis Severino has been a disaster. Nestor Cortes was inconsistent before getting hurt. Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt have been a roller coaster ride. Much of this grade is a credit to the bullpen, which ranks second in MLB with a 3.11 ERA.