About the Off-Day: Meanderings of My Mind
About the Off-Day: Meanderings of My Mind
By Tim Kabel
August 11, 2023
The last-place Yankees limped out of Chicago yesterday after losing two out of three games to the White Sox, a team that is 22 games under .500. The Yankees will open a series in Miami against the Marlins tonight. Who would have thought the Marlins would have the better record at this point of the season? This is the perfect time to discuss multiple topics concerning the Yankees:
Anthony Volpe has played in every game this season. He hasn't started them all, but he has played in every game. I know he's young, but he has been prone to slumps this year, so a day off here and there, a complete day off that is, might not have been such a bad idea. Especially since Aaron Boone passes out days off to the rest of the team as if they were Halloween candy.
At the beginning of the season, Clarke Schmidt was not making a smooth transition to the starting rotation. Many fans felt he needed to be removed from that role. Some, including me, thought he was better suited to the bullpen. Others felt he belonged on another team or in the minor leagues. Now, Domingo German is finished for the season. Luis Severino might as well be. Carlos Rodon has been on and off the IL. Nestor Cortes is just returning from the IL. Clarke Schmidt is the most solid member of the starting rotation other than Gerrit Cole. That is a good sign for the future.
Hal Steinbrenner has apparently stated that Brian Cashman will return as GM next year. The fate of Aaron Boone as manager is unclear. Hal's father dove into the world of firing like Rodney Dangerfield doing the triple Lindy in Back to School. Hal Is trudging along, wearing floaties, inserted inside a seahorse flotation device, with a floppy hat and sunblock on his nose when it comes to firing. He needs to be a little more like Papa.
I don't see how Boone can return next year. I think Cashman should go too at this point but, it seems that he will get at least one more chance. If Boone were to return, what would that say about the future of this franchise? If a sherpa has led ten mountain climbers to their demise by falling off a cliff, it's time to get a new sherpa.
If Boone does not return, what is his legacy? He will have managed the team for six years without ever making the World Series. This season, they probably won't even make the playoffs. Other than Anthony Volpe, he hasn't really developed any young players. I suppose you could put Gleyber Torres in that category but, he has been fairly inconsistent, both year to year and even within seasons. As I noted another time, I think the closest comparison to Boone in recent Yankees' history is Stump Merrill.
It's fair to say that the Yankees had a terrible trade deadline this year and that their overall roster construction leaves much to be desired. However, they do have several important pieces that could allow them to be contenders next year, if they make the right complementary moves.
The fact that Anthony Rizzo is suffering from post-concussion syndrome is somewhat reassuring. By that I mean it is a credible explanation for his sudden and dramatic decline this season. It is also reasonable to assume that he can rebound to his normal playing abilities. Whether that happens this season, remains to be seen.
Gleyber Torres is not a superstar, and he has some defensive lapses but overall, he is a solid contributor to the team. He is also young. In addition, he has another year before free agency. I could see the Yankees trading him or, I could see them retaining him as a stabilizing influence in the infield with Anthony Volpe at shortstop and Oswald Peraza at third base.
There are rumblings that Everson Pereira will be brought to the majors to play left field on a regular basis. That should happen sooner rather than later. He is viewed as a top prospect, and the more quickly he begins to develop at the major league level, the better Obviously, he needs to be Boone-proofed. But it seems that Boone generally does not interact a great deal with the younger players so, it might not be an issue.
Harrison Bader was not traded at the deadline. I believe he should have been but, he was not. I don't believe the Yankees should re-sign him for next season. I like him but, he is injury prone, and Jasson Dominguez is starting to flourish in the minor leagues and may be here before too long. The Yankees should not block his path with Harrison Bader. If Dominguez isn't ready at the beginning of next year, they can acquire a placeholder to keep centerfield warm for him. Pereira is capable of playing centerfield as well.
I like Giancarlo Stanton but, i think it's time to trade him if the Yankees can. Perhaps the Dodgers will take him. His annual injuries, streakiness, and extended IL trips are too much to bear. In the words of Andrea Bocelli, it's time to say goodbye.
Next year's starting rotation will include Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Carlos Rodon, and Clarke Schmidt. That's a very good start, if they are all healthy. I believe Rodon will have something to prove next year and will have a good season. Now, they will need one more starter and there are several options. Perhaps they could sign Blake Snell for the starting rotation. They would win a lot of games, again providing that everyone is healthy.
Josh Donaldson will not be back next year. Neither will Harrison Bader, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Luis Severino. If the Yankees trade Giancarlo Stanton, they will have a lot of money available. If they chose to sign Shohei Ohtani, he would fill the role of a starting pitcher and a designated hitter. He would also provide tremendous left-handed power. That move would allow the Yankees to be more cost effective at other positions. If they play Volpe at shortstop, Peraza at third base, and Pereira in one of the outfield positions, they would be making the team younger and more athletic and also saving a lot of money.
If Jose Trevino recovers from his wrist injury, he could hold down the fort at catcher until Austin Wells is ready to split the role with him. So far, Ben Rortvedt has not shown a lot but, it's still early in his career, and he is a good defensive catcher. In the worst-case scenario, he could be part of a trade.
All is not lost with the Yankees. They have some excellent foundation pieces. They need to start developing some of their young talent immediately. Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza need to be on the major league team right now, playing every day. Jason Dominguez should be at Scranton for the rest of the season, in the same way that Anthony Volpe was last year. If the Yankees choose, they could sign Shohei Ohtani and possibly another hitter. Cody Bellinger would provide left-handed balance and could play in the outfield until Dominguez was ready. Then, he could shift the first base to take over for Rizzo.
The Yankees are not a very good team right now and probably will not make the playoffs this season. But by making the correct additions and subtractions going into next season, they could turn things around very quickly. At the end of the season, i will go through the roster and suggest which players should return and which players should not and what their roles should be.
The most important move will be getting a a manager who can effectively lead this team and develop the young players who will permeate the roster. Aaron Boone should be thanked for his service and given a lifetime supply of bubblegum and sunflower seeds and then sent on his way.
I want to wish my sister Penny a Happy Birthday. I won't say how old she is but, for the first five days of her life, Babe Ruth was alive.