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Yankees Perspectives – June 29, 2019

I am looking forward to these two games in London. It will be great to get to watch Yankees baseball on a Saturday afternoon today. It seems that the Yankees play most of their Saturday games at night. Tomorrow’s game, which will air at 10:00 in the morning, will also be a lot of fun. It’s nice when Yankees games are played during the day, especially on the weekends.

While I am looking forward to the games today and tomorrow, the problem with these international games is that they do impact on the flow of the season. The thing that makes baseball such a special sport, for me at least, is the daily grind of the baseball season. I love the fact that the Yankees are my companion almost every single day for half of the year. I love the ebb and flow of the baseball season. In order to play these two games, the Yankees have three off-days, two before the series and one after. Then, of course, next week (July 8-11) they are off for the All-Star Game. That’s a lot of off-days right smack in the middle of the year. Over a 15-day period, the Yankees are scheduled to play only 8 games. This is the future of the sport as baseball looks to go more and more international. And I get it. I just don’t like all the days off. (I might have liked this series better if it was planned to take place in May so that there are not so many off days so close together…)

Boy, the Yankees were hot going into this series. They just came off a 9-1 homestand and they are 11-1 over their last 12 games. I hope the international travel and the off-days don’t take away from their winning ways.

I posted a question on Twitter yesterday asking who will play more games as a Yankee going forward, Giancarlo Stanton or Clint Frazier. On the surface, the easy answer is Giancarlo Stanton, but I am not so sure. Last week, in the Baseball Card Trivia at noon, we looked at the most similar players to Stanton through their Age-28 seasons. Many of those players peaked in their late 20’s or very early 30’s and were done much earlier than anyone suspected. The drop-off and the end came quickly for a lot of those players. Those drop-offs happened for a number of different reasons, but still, the pattern is there. I like Giancarlo Stanton. I was thrilled when the Yankees acquired him. I look forward, with hope, to Stanton getting healthy and having a great finish to the 2019 season and having some great seasons going forward. Still, with all of that said, I am concerned. This has been a lost year for him. He’s now out until sometime in August. The fact that he’s had so many injuries this year – even while rehabbing, is cause for concern.

I have to wonder if the Yankees will actually trade Clint Frazier. If they have the same concerns over Giancarlo Stanton that I do, they might feel that it is in their best interest to keep Frazier as a core component going forward after this season. Frazier is still only 24 years-old. The Yankees worked magic this year with their outfield depth, but it isn’t hard to imagine that Frazier becomes one of the key hitters in the line-up as soon as next year: Will Brett Gardner be back for his age-36/37 season? Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton have been players who have missed time each of the last two seasons with injuries. I don’t see the Yankees bringing back Edwin Encarnacion in 2020. It is not hard to imagine a scenario where Frazier plays a big role with this team and is a regular player as soon as next year. In fact, I think this is very likely.

It will be very (very) interesting to see if the Yankees get a front-line starting pitcher in July to help with their stretch drive. If they do…who will that pitcher be? And, what will the Yankees give up to get him? I believe they need a big time workhorse starter to give the bullpen a needed rest. I also think the Yankees need to get Chad Green back into the bullpen to give them more quality arms out there. We have seen a number of games recently where the Yankees’ great bullpen depth has been taxed due to over-use. They need a starter who can give them at least six innings on a consistent basis. I just have to wonder who that will be…

One aspect of leadership is being able to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in one’s own organization and with one’s self. Brian Cashman is an amazing General Manager. He had found more great players that were undervalued than any GM that I have ever seen. The list of players who have come to the Yankees and far exceeded any hopes and expectations is legion. This list includes the following members of the 2019 Yankees: Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit, D.J. LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, and others. It is amazing how Cashman is able to find players who suddenly become excellent (or even great) as Yankees. Brian Cashman is able to work magic with position players. His track record with starting pitchers, though, isn’t as good. Whatever formulas or approaches he is using to find quality starting arms in trades and signings has not had that same type of success. I would love to see Brian Cashman recruit and hire a brilliant baseball mind who is able to understand starting pitchers the way that he is able to understand position players (and to an almost equal extent, bullpen arms). The Astros seem to be able to get starting pitchers to exceed projections and recent performance once they get to Houston. Imagine if the Yankees found someone like that to help Brian Cashman in his decision making with starting pitchers… Just imagine!

Let’s go Yankees!

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