Random Yankees Thoughts, Questions, and Such…
I have a series of thoughts about the Yankees and such as we head into the second half of the month of January…
The entire outlook for the 2021 season took a big turn for the better late last week.
2021 promises to be a boom or bust year. One can easily see the Yankees’ stars having great years and the young pitching prospects living up to their potential. On the other hand, the Yankees are a major injury or two away from what could be a disaster of a season. Rumors are that the Yankees still have a big trade to make that could solidify the starting rotation. That would be huge.
Heading into 2021, almost every single Yankees positional starter has missed significant time over the last few years due to injury. This list includes Luke Voit, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge. Gio Urshela, who has not missed time due to injury, had surgery over the winter. The only positional starters on the roster right now who has been primarily injury free and has not missed significant time are Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu.
It would be great if the Yankees could find the impossible – a super utility player who can fill in almost anywhere adequately enough and also hold his own with the bat. The player type I am thinking of is someone like Jim Leyritz who played catcher, first base, third base, left field, and right field. In a pinch, he also played second base. He wasn’t great, but he had a flair for the dramatic, had a few big post season homers too.
If he can hit, could Thairo Estrada be that guy?
Better yet would be if this “needle-in-a-haystack player” was a left-handed bat.
I don’t think Tyler Wade can hit well enough to be a super-sub.
Along the same lines, the Yankees don’t really have someone, other than Aaron Hicks, who can play centerfield. Maybe, just maybe, if he’d come back on a very team-friendly contract, Brett Gardner could come back as that guy. His energy is needed, that’s for sure. (I hope he starts banging on dugout roofs again.)
Here’s a crazier thought… How about making Brett Gardner a coach and having him do the drills with the players in case they need him. Is that within the rules? As a coach, his salary shouldn’t count against the luxury tax unless he had to be activated. This is probably a one-in-a-million chance of working, or being permitted, but it would be something to think about.
The Yankees projected starting pitchers in 2021 after Gerrit Cole (Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia. Domingo German, Clarke Schmidt, and Luis Severino) have combined to win a grand total of 26 big league games since the start of the 2019 season. 18 of those wins came from Domingo German who didn’t pitch in 2020.
The second biggest winner in that group of pitchers (the Yankees #2, #3, #4, and #5 starters for 2021) is Deivi Garcia with 3.
The same injury concerns that impact the positional players applies to the starting rotation. This is why I believe the Yankees need one “no-doubt” #2-type starter to solidify the rotation.
Readership on the blog, as always, jumped way up, following D.J. LeMahieu’s signing and the Corey Kluber deal. That always happens. We have a strong a very loyal audience. When the Yankees do big things though, many many more readers jump to see what we have to say. That’s awesome. It’s also an awesome responsibility for us to always be at our best here at SSTN.
This is also very predictable. I assume it is the same way with all aspects on baseball. The Yankees themselves must see this same positive energy when they win, make trades, sign great players, and such. I would think that the extra tickets, viewers, jersey sales, and the like, offsets some (if not most) of what a player might cost. I would think that “forever revenues” that come with World Championships must also be worth the cost of going over the luxury tax. (How much money have the Yankees made in the years since 1977 on Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in the World Series?)
It is just so much fun when the Yankees are exciting, when there is positive energy around the team, and things seem to be moving forward.
Let’s Go Yankees!