BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY- The Yankees have the 27th ranked team pitching statistics since the All Star Break. Sure, the injury bug has bitten four of their starting pitchers- the earliest is expected to return on August 7- seven days away:
Jonathan Loaisiga: Expected to be out until at least August 7
C.C. Sabathia: Expected to be out until at least August 11
Jordan Montgomery: Expected to be out until at least August 15
Luis Severino: Expected to be out until at least September 1
Why is that significant? In that stretch, FOUR games are against the division-rival Boston Red Sox who are, nine games behind New York in the American League East leaderboard. If the Yankees bats don’t turn out, the Red Sox have the potential to gain some serious ground over the next seven days.
New York trending topics…
1. “Astros… Trending with: Greinke, World Series, Verlander”
2. “Cashman… Trending with: Brian Cashman, #FireCashman”
— Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan) July 31, 2019
Everybody expected the Yankees to make a move at the trade deadline for a starting pitcher to bolster the rotation. When 4pm on July 31 came in like a lamb and went out like a…. lamb, all of Yankees Universe looked around the league to figure out who their competition is to compete for a World Series title in 2019.
Well, they had to look up in the MLB’s overall standings: to the Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) and Houston Astros (AL). The Astros, who’s team pitching ranking was already leaps and bounds better than the Yankees’, reinforced their rotation with 6x All Star, AL Cy Young Award winner (2009), 2x MLB ERA leader, and 5x Gold Glove award winner Zack Greinke (ARZ).
As of today, MLB’s leading pitchers with WHIP (number of baserunners a pitcher has allowed per inning pitched):
- 1. Justin Verlander 0.81
- 2. Zack Greinke 0.94
- 5. Gerrit Cole 1.00
The League is jealous of Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch: how will he ever figure out how to align his powerhouse starters for a playoff series? And, should they get in trouble for any reason, he could make a phone call to the bullpen to bring in Joe Biagini (for whom the Astros also traded today). With 7.1 innings of playoff experience, Biagini has a 0.00 ERA and has allowed only three hits.
As it stands right now, a Yankees playoff rotation could possbily look like this: Tanaka, Paxton, Happ, and German. Paxton and German have zero playoff experience. Tanaka would obviously be the Yankees’ Game One starter. Then who? Happ has posted a playoff 5.48 ERA in 11 games. The Yankees would be forced to throw Happ against any of the top three pitchers in orange and blue?
After today’s game, manager Aaron Boone told gathered members of the media: “Obviously we had a tough 6 or 8 starts…, hopefully we’re starting to right the ship back a little bit. [They’ve had] some quality innings and hand it off to our [relief] guys”
If not Greinke (who had a no-trade clause in effect), then why not any of the other starting pitchers on the market? Zack Wheeler would have been a perfect rental piece for the Yankees while the Mets could have benefitted in other ways from their farm system and cash. Clint Frazier, anyone?
After today’s game, general manager Brian Cashman told gathered members of the media: “We didn’t get close to anything. We knocked on all doors… in our effort to improve. It wasn’t for lack of effort. We engaged all teams and some players we didn’t match up for. A lot of different individual circumstances that put us in a position to not be able to complete anything.”
Sure, the Astros gave up a haul for Greinke, but they’re loading up to win now- see Jeff Passan’s tweet below:
Diamondbacks are getting four prospects for Zack Greinke, source tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
That strategy is what the New York Yankees should be enacting. The “Baby Bombers” are grown up and may be on their way out of town sooner than people realize. The spending habits of the contemporary Steinbrenner family are quite different than those of the late George Steinbrenner. This is the state of the Yankees’ core entering the 2020 season:
- Didi Gregorius and Dellin Betances will be free agents.
- Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are set to hit arbitration.
- Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar will enter a pre-arbitration process.
While New York fans are notorious for being quick to judge, hard to please, and extremely impatient- the Yankees’ fanbase is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable with the state of their team. The Yankees have won only one world series (2009) in nineteen seasons.
The bottom line: Houston was wheeling and dealing at the trade deadline- the Yankees were not. The Astros won the 2019 World Series at the trade deadline… and George Steinbrenner is rolling over in his grave. I guarantee it.