Perspectives: Let’s Go Yankees, 2022!
Perspectives: Let’s Go Yankees, 2022!
by Paul Semendinger
March 18, 2022
Ok, you all know me well enough.
I want Bryce Harper in pinstripes.
I want Freddie Freeman in pinstripes.
I want all the stars. To me, part of the fun of being a Yankees fan is watching them acquire all the best talent. Always.
When I read stories of the Yankees of the 1930s, and learn that they could have had Hank Greenberg, I feel remorse, like they let a great player get away.
I have written that it would have made great sense for the Yankees to trade Joe DiMaggio for Ted Williams, but, deep in my heart, I’d rather that the Yankees have had Joe DiMaggio AND Ted Williams.
You get the point.
With all that being said, you might think I’m frustrated by the Yankees’ recent moves.
BUT I’M NOT!
I am actually excited about the 2022 Yankees. Very excited. I think they just might have something there.
I do think they need just a little more to round out the edges, but, in the larger sense, I like the moves they have made to date. Here is why:
The Infield Defense Looks To Be Fantastic
When was the last time the Yankees had an infield defense this good? Was it Mattingly, Randolph, Espinoza, and Pagliarulo… Or was it Chambliss, Randolph, Dent, and Nettles… Or was it when they had Bobby Ricardson, Tony Kubek and Clete Boyer (and Moose Skowron)?
This, alone, will make the starting pitching better. Last year’s Yankees had the eighth worst defense in the MLB last year. There will be fewer hits going through the infield. There will be more double plays. The team, as a result, will look crisper. Defensive innings will be shorter.
All of these things will make the 2022 Yankees vastly superior to the 2021 version.
There Is New(er) Veteran Leadership and Professionalism
The Yankees are acquiring (or resigning) players who have won and played at the highest levels. That matters. Anthony Rizzo has won before. Josh Donaldson is a former MVP.
Teams are better when they have players who are winners and who know what it takes to be great. I think this veteran leadership is going to significantly improve the play on the field.
In addition, high quality ballplayers often expect the other players around them to step up their games. Players like this have a “presence.”
I don’t think Gio Urshela has that kind of gravitas. Gary Sanchez either. Or Luke Voit. That doesn’t make them bad guys. They just might not be leaders the way others are.
Leadership is important during a long season and into a long playoff run. I think this team now has better leadership (and fewer players who might be distractions).
As It Stands Now, The Yankees Have A Deeper Bench And Great Flexibility.
My goodness, do they ever! Joey Gallo can play any outfield position and third base, and even first base. D.J. LeMahieu can play first, second, or third base. Isiah Kiner-Falefa can play all over the infield. He can even catch in a pinch. Gleyber Torres can fill in at short…
The possibilities almost become endless… This flexibility will allow Aaron Boone to rest players and not have to put a replacement level player in the lineup.
And, because there are more players than positions, it seems (as of now) that there will be a few good bats on the bench each game. I have long wanted the Yankees to have a deep bench. I think they’ll have that now.
Flexibility wins over a long season. Deep rosters do as well. And also a deep bench. The Yankees now have those things.
The Yankees Are A Win Now Team
This is, absolutely, a “Win Now” team. Donaldson is in New York for two years, Rizzo too. There isn’t any future building with these guys. Many players are on the wrong side of 30, some them wrong side of 35. This isn’t a roster of players playing for the future. They are playing for now.
The management also knows that the window for this club is now. This will impact on their decision making. They will make moves to assure that this current club wins now. They Yankees are going for it.
Sure, I would have loved Freddie Freeman, but the Yankees have a quality team and they are not tied to a bunch of new guys signed deep into their 30’s. That’s good news.
The Yankees are also spending to win. That can’t be denied. This is what I ask for. Would I rather trade Donaldson’s $25 million for Harper’s? Of course. But I’m not going to get picky.
It is apparent that the Yankees are going for it. They are. That’s all I ask. They look to be all in.
The Yankees Rebuilt The Team Without Giving Up Any Of Their Prized Prospects.
This is good news (really great news) for two reasons. First, the prospects can now have a bit more time to develop. If one is hitting his peak and is ready, it’s less of a burden to move the old guy off the team to make way for the young future star. Second, this also takes the pressure off the team trying to rush guys (or have guys rush themselves) to fill the gaps.
The Yankees just bought their prospects two years of development. If those players are as good as we all hope, the time will be perfect for them to assume their positions. If they aren’t quite ready, a player like Donaldson can always be extended one more year if he is still performing.
This is also great because the Yankees have not surrendered any of their trade chips should a need arise during the season. The Yankees will be able to get needed pieces because they have the talented players to trade if need be.
But, all is not perfect… The Yankees are close, but…
I Am Still Concerned About The Starting Pitching
I would love the Yankees to bring in one (or two) starting pitchers to give quality innings and go deep into games. I think the rotation is still a little short, especially for the playoffs, and especially if Luis Severino isn’t who everyone hopes he’ll be. WE just saw Domingo German placed on the 60-Day I.L. I am very concerned that is also part of Luis Severino’s future. He has been injured too often and for too long for the Yankees to believe he’ll be healthy all year and strong for the playoffs. The Yankees need some “plus” starters who can eat innings to take the pressure off Luis Severino and others.
I’d Like One More “Flexible” Outfielder
It would be great if the Yankees brought in one more young athletic player, a guy who puts the bat on the ball, can play multiple positions, and can run well. Just a little more athleticism will benefit this club greatly. I think the Yankees can get by with the outfield they have, but I’d rather they not just get by.
Again, the Yankees look to be all in.
All of this makes me eager, very eager, for the 2022 season to begin!
Let’s Go Yankees!