Well, many of us are finally getting our wish. We are going to get to see what these young up-and-comers are capable of. If the last few games are any indication, some of them are clearly living up to their reputations and others are still struggling. Even so, the last 2+ weeks have redefined the Yankees and their future trajectory is now set.
It's every die-hard fan's dream that their team can rise to superhuman levels and bring home a championship. It's nice to dream that Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran were going to hit .300, that those two plus Alex Rodriguez were each going to hit 30 home runs, and that the three-headed monster in the bullpen was going to make every game a six-inning affair.
Reality was and is a little different. Trading away some of the folks that were not going to be part of the rebuilding process was a painful yet necessary exercise. Trading away players whose contracts were ending this year, like Beltran, Aroldis Chapman, and Ivan Nova was the reality reset that this was not going to be the Yankees year.
Trading Andrew Miller really upset me. I think it says something about the front office's mindset about when the Yankees could really make a drive for the World Series - that it may be a few years away. It's a tough message, but if that's reality, you have to applaud Brian Cashman for having the backbone to make the deal.
From then until now, we have seen the departure of Alex Rodriguez and the announcement of Mark Teixeira's retirement. It turns the page.
Following Alex's departure, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin joined the major league ranks and hit the ground running. Or rather, homering. They both announced their presence with the long ball. Aaron Judge followed it up with another homer in his second game. I believe with the press he's getting and his performance, he is going to be one of the core faces of the Yankees in the coming years.
Both he and Austin have yet to have a hitless game in the majors. Okay, it's only a couple of games, but it shows that they are making an immediate impact. Gary Sanchez already has two home runs, a .275 average after a slow start last week, and has thrown out three base stealers in five attempts. How long and how well they can keep this up remains to be seen.
Speaking of which, Luis Severino has struggled mightily of late, though I believe he is going to be a key member of the starting rotation. He helped salvage what would have been a dismal year last year.
This year's numbers look much worse than his overall body of work because he seems to lose his composure when he starts to give up runs, effectively creating an insurmountable landslide once the opposition rallies. If he learns to stop the bleeding - and that's definitely an "if" - he should be another impact player. Remember, after his first 14 games in the majors, Andy Pettitte was 3-6 with a 4.80 ERA. It's hard to tell at this stage what direction Severino is going to go. I remain hopeful.
(In photo: Gary Sanchez)
The final key to turning the page, of course, is wins. They have tied their season-high four games over .500 this past weekend, and continuing on this pace puts them on track for a playoff appearance. They are 4.5 games out of the Wild card and 5.5 games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays, who they happen to be hosting this week. That deficit is absolutely surmountable. It'll be interesting to watch. I won't lie - my interest in watching Yankee games jumped a few notches in the last few days. The ARod era is over. Bring on the Big Aaron era!
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @KingAgamemnon