About the All-Star Break: Odds and Ends
About the All-Star Break: Odds and Ends
By Tim Kabel
July 13, 2023
The Yankees will resume play on Friday night in Colorado. Their record is 49-42, and they sit in fourth place in the American League East. They are currently out of the wild card contention. They have 71 games left. This is a good time to examine multiple smaller topics while we wait for baseball to return on Friday.
Mike Francesa was ranting the other day about how Dillon Lawson was a scapegoat. In his statements, he said that hitting coaches are a “farce”. He basically said that the function of the modern-day hitting coach is to hold the hands of players. I, too remember when there were no hitting coaches. Regardless of what we older fans may think, hitting coaches are now part of the game. Whether or not we believe they are important, today's players certainly do. By virtue of that fact alone, hitting coaches are a necessity in this day and age.
Moving into the second half of the season, the Yankees need to rid themselves of Josh Donaldson, Franchy Cordero, and Albert Abreu. That list could be expanded. But for now, it's a good start.
it seems that the new hitting coach, Sean Casey, has already had lengthy conversations with several of the Yankees' players. That is a good sign.
When Nestor Cortes returns, the Yankees will have a very impressive starting rotation. Now, if they can only get Luis Severino figured out. Ultimately, I would like to see Clarke Schmidt in the bullpen, as I believe he would be extremely effective there.
I believe the Yankees should recall Ben Rortvedt, Estevan Florial, and Oswald Peraza. They should all play on a regular basis. Oswaldo Cabrera should also be given regular at bats to build his confidence and return to the form he exhibited last year.
No matter what you think about hitting coaches, there was something off in Anthony Volpe's swing. It has seemingly been fixed. The fact that he and Austin Wells did it as opposed to the hitting coach is a major concern. Hopefully, the new approach and embracing manner of Sean Casey will have a positive effect on the players, especially the young and impressionable ones.
If Harrison Bader remains healthy during the second half of the season, I expect him to put up very impressive numbers. I also expect the Yankees to bring him back for a few more years.
Some teams are known for developing players in specific positions. For example, the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets always seemed to develop really good pitchers. The Red Sox had a gift for finding Hall of Fame level leftfielders. At which positions do the Yankees excel in the area of player development?
It is obvious to say that the Yankees have a history of developing exceptional centerfielders. They had Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Bernie Williams. Is that their best position?
I don't know about you, but I don't want to see the Yankees unload a boatload of prospects for marginal players whom they think will put them over the top. They have too many holes for that. If they can pick up someone who strengthens the team and could be here for a few years, that might be worthwhile. I would have no problem with them acquiring Cody Bellinger, if the price was right.
Another area where the Yankees have excelled in player development is left-handed starting pitching. They had Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, and Andy Pettitte. That is a very impressive trio.
The Yankees need dramatic improvement from the following positions/players if they are to have any chance of postseason success: the catchers, Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, and leftfield. I left Josh Donaldson off the list because I don't think he should be on the team. I also left Anthony Volpe off because his improvement is already underway.
I think the position where the Yankees have had their greatest success in player development is catcher. They had Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson, and Jorge Posada. That is quite a collection of excellent catchers.
There are rumors that the Yankees may trade Gleyber Torres. I would not be opposed to that if they get a substantial return and if they find someone to play either third base or second base. My assumption is that Oswald Peraza would play one of those two positions.
We could be witnessing the final days in the Yankees' careers of Josh Donaldson, DJ LeMahieu, and possibly, Aaron Boone.
Anthony Volpe is making dramatic improvements as a hitter. Now, he needs to get back to stealing bases. He needs to take advantage of his strength as a base runner and the new rules and put himself in scoring position more frequently.
Unless the Yankees turn things around, I would not be surprised if they part ways with Aaron Boone at the end of the season.
The final two and a half months of the season will be very interesting as they will determine what happens with this team and its personnel not only for this season but for the seasons to come.