Tuesday, October 26, 2021

HEY JOEY GALLO! LESS TWEETING, MORE HITTING

I'm sure Joey Gallo is a great guy, but he didn't do too well when he came over to the New York Yankees, and that's is real reason that everyone is getting on him.  

Now look, it's true that making it to the major leagues is a really really hard thing to do. So yelling out "You suck"  from your couch is pretty spineless when you think about it. MLB players are there because they are good... it's the top of the heap.  But as fans you play money to see teams win and players are supposed to perform to the best of their ability. And sadly, when they don't do well, fans lash out.  That's life. No one wants to be mean, fans just are and that's because money is involved. You pay for a service, you want to see greatness every time. But we forget how hard the game is. That being said, players do need to play well, and when they get paid millions... they need to play well a lot.

Now when it comes to superstitions and ballplayers, I need to be honest. I don't care what players do to get in their zone. Do what you need to do. 

Now the media went after Joey Gallo pretty hard this fall, but Joey Gallo isn't the only reason why the Yankees didn't make it past round 1 of the playoffs. He was definitely one of the reasons however. And you all know Bob Klapisch right?  I have tremendous respect for for the guy, but in this case, he's ripping on the wrong thing... Gallo's ritual:

Now look, say what you will about rituals, but that's really not what Joey Gallo's problem was in the Bronx.  His problem was that he was terrible.  And for me as a journalist or writer or blogger... whatever you need to call me, I find his tweet that followed stupid.

Here's the thing with Gallo. Instead of sniping media, recognize the flaw.  Instead of attacking some dude with an opinion, recognize that you really didn't do your job in pinstripes and instead you should try and figure that out how to correct it in 2022, because I have news for you... this is New York. We don't like whiners, we like winners and if you can't take the heat of the fans and the media here... you need to go.

As far as Klapisch, he's a good dude, I hate the concept of his article, I found it stupid and I get why Gallo went after him. But in the end it's a provocative opinion... and if Gallo wasn't sucking, this wouldn't be a conversation at all. That's the bottom line.

Monday, October 25, 2021

REPORT: "BAD BLOOD" IN THE YANKEE LOCKER ROOM, BUT IS IT TRUE?


We all know that the Covid pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives, including sports journalism. Beat writers have not been in locker rooms for two seasons now which has eliminated some of those extra behind the scenes moments that fans crave. Now we MAY have some insight on what has really been holding back this team.

I say MAY because NJ.com posted a story that you can only see if you are a paid subscriber, luckily it has also been leaked on MSN.com HERE. The headline of the story is about David Cone but, that's not the real takeaway of the story. The lead was actually buried. Does NJ.com think that Cone could help the Yankees? Sure, I believe that. But according to them an unnamed source, there have been some chemistry concerns in the clubhouse.

"According to a source, Gerrit Cole and Brett Gardner argued after MLB prohibited the use of Spider Tack in June. To soften the blow and lighten the moment, Gardner paraded around the clubhouse with pine tar on his hat. He was trying to get a laugh out of Cole. Apparently it had just the opposite effect."


Sounds like locker room banter was taken personally instead of as a joke. As the Yankees veteran leader of this team and the only active player from the 2009 Championship team I'm sure Gardner has seen plenty of locker room antics in his day but it sounds like he really underestimated Cole's reaction IF this story is even true.

"Cole didn’t see it that way, pushing back in a way that must’ve shocked the veteran outfielder. It took a full day for Cole to calm down; he ended up apologizing to Gardner."

NJ.com went on to say that this incident should prove that Cole needs someone in the room who can coach and relate and adapt to a Plan B and that is where Cone would be a great match for the Yankees. Cole doesn't need a psychologist, and he doesn't need to be babied by a former player. In fact, he HAS a former player in there already who is SUPPOSED to be a "Player's manager" named Aaron Boone....right? That's part of his so-called charm.


I don't like stories pushed by unnamed sources BUT if it is true it's more proof of Boone's inability to successfully handle the day-to-day operations of a professional baseball team. Especially not the Yankees who have the highest expectations every year and have fallen flat ever since Boone became skipper. The Yankees were expected to go father with Boone than with Joe Girardi who supposedly did not gel well with the players.


Could the Yankees use Cone? Sure, I think he would have a lot to offer but adding Cone does not fix any chemistry problems. Winning does take more than just talent. It takes chemistry too....I thought that was what Boone was good at. Obviously not if this story is true. And IF this story is true then giving Boone another contract is dumber than dumb!



  --Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
     BYB Senior Managing Editor
    Twitter: @nyprincessj

Sunday, October 24, 2021

HELP WANTED IN THE YANKEE RUMOR MILL: A WINGMAN FOR GERRIT COLE

Source: New York Daily News

There has been a lot of talk about figuring out the middle infield and center field deficients for the 2022 Yankee team. But, as always, pitching is still an area of growth. Adding a pitcher as a wingman to Gerrit Cole would be a one-two punch for the Yankees. But who are the likely candidates?

Source: NY Times

Noah Syndergaard: Coming off Tommy John surgery, the Mets ace is ready to go in 2022. According to the New York Post, "He might just be a tease, but he is one talented tease. If he takes a multiyear deal, the Yanks should be out. But if Syndergaard were willing to take a big one-year pact to re-establish himself for next year’s market, he becomes more attractive." I mean getting Thor would be an asset but would he be able to keep up? Corey Kluber had a hard time getting acclimated after his injuries, but yet he pitched a no-no. So, Snydergaard may be worth the effort.

How about Sean Manaea? My impression of him in 2021 is he is a tank. And in 2023 he is a free agent. But could the Yankees make a play for him and perhaps some of his teammates in 2022? Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are corner infielders who have a one-two punch. "When those guys are hitting, we've got a good chance to win games," manager Bob Melvin per an interview via NBC Sports. I know we are focused on pitching here but there could more when it comes to negotiating with the A's who have annual payroll restraints that will keep them from keeping all of their premier players. 

Source: USA Today

And Aaron Nola? He's signed through 2022 with an option for 2023 but, if the Phillies want to beef up and contend, they may consider trading him and the Yankees would welcome him with open arms. "Philadelphia has quite a to-do list to tackle this offseason if they wish to improve the team and put them in a position to contend next season, and Nola is far from being at the top of their list of concerns," reported Fan Nation. He had a subpar season but could bounce back in the Bronx. 


All three of these guys are worthy wingmen for Cole. And let's not forget to mention that Corey Kluber could be a full strength next season giving the Yankees a one-two-three punch. Let's see how things play out and surely there could be other contenders albeit I say Justin Verlander? I feel like he had his chance to be a Yankee and now he is just stuck with his sticky stuff in Houston. Something is brewing, just not sure who will be the next Yankee starting pitcher. 



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof




Thursday, October 21, 2021

ATTENTION BRIAN CASHMAN! WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT SHORTSTOP


Okay Brian Cashman, you finally finally admitted what the rest of us already knew....the Yankees NEED a new shortstop. BAD! It's a MUST on the offseason wish list because the Gleyber Torres experiment failed. We need to fix that weakness and there are several good choices. There's also one particularly bad choice you need to avoid.

If you actually want to make improvements to this roster you need to be serious about their options. You  also need to stop giving bad long term deals that are an epic waste of money (see Aaron Hicks) when you have a good shortstop option that should be ready in a year or maybe two. Here are a couple of names you should consider:


1. Trevor Story
He's played in Colorado for 6 years and could really use a change of scenery. He also likes the idea of playing October baseball if the Yankees can get back to their winning ways. Statistically, 2021 was a bit of a down year for him so his price tag won't be as high as it would've been. He's also solid defensively and he adds athleticism that we have desperately needed.


2. Corey Seager
His postseason experience is second to none. His left-handed bat would help balance the lineup and Yankee stadium's short right porch is perfect for him. He comes with more risk due to his injury riddled history BUT that also means that the money conscious Yankees won't have to commit a long term deal at a high price tag. The Dodgers have him on a one-year deal now, he could be a logical stop gap to give Anthony Volpe more time to develop in the minors.

Now, here's a choice you really shouldn't make:

3. Carlos Correa
The popular name right now. The guy who is playing in the postseason now and has a flair for the dramatic. He likes to run his mouth and is so easy to dislike both on and off of the field. He's a Public Relations nightmare with a tainted reputation and attitude that really does not belong in our clubhouse. We already have a circus with Aaron Boone returning, we don't need to add another monkey and make it worse. He's a cheater with no respect or integrity. The last place he belongs is on the team he stole a World Series berth from. Let someone else take on that trainwreck, or better yet let him stay in Houston on a discount because everyone else hates him too. He's not Yankee material.

So Cash, you made a lot of questionable moves this season. Let's not continue that by adding Correa to the team going forward. It's time to turn the page and try and fix our mistakes. Adding Correa would not fix anything, only make it worse. Sure, pick a new shortstop....any shortstop as long as his name isn't Carlos Correa. It's time to do better. We need you to make the right move.





  --Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
     BYB Senior Managing Editor
    Twitter: @nyprincessj

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

WHY IS BOONE STILL THERE IF CASHMAN WANTS "MORE" & "EXPECTS MORE"?

Source: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

We got the news midday on Tuesday. And the text messages started piling up. Reading the Yankees official statement and Brian Cashman's quote, "We want more and we expect more," I have a question. Why are the Yankees investing in Aaron Boone if he can't move the needle forward? 

And to add insult to injury or salt to my open wound, ESPN shared this nugget, "The last time a Yankees manager was allowed to manage a fifth season without having won a World Series ring was 1922." Seriously. What are the Yankees thinking? George the father would have never even considered such a bonehead move.

Source: AP

"It was at times both unstoppable but many other times unwatchable," Cashman said speaking about the 2021 Yankee season. And yet here we are. Stuck with mediocre. The driver of the roller coaster. The mismanager of pitching. The players' best friend and the front office puppet. We are stuck with Aaron Boone for at least three more years; which means three more years of missteps, almosts, and frustrations.

"Cashman said if the Yankees were looking for a manager, they would want someone like Boone, so why change? So they didn’t. Cashman has seen the relationship with his manager as a partnership and he likes partnering with someone he finds reliable, measured and open-minded. So the partnership continues, albeit with Boone having a guaranteed deal through 2024, but Cashman’s pact up after next season," reported the New York Post

A partnership? Is that what this is? It seems more like Spin City to me; everything in the media is spun to positively reflect the Yankee manager, when in reality he appears to not know how to use the intel he is receiving to manage his team or even communicate with his "partner." 

Source: Sports Illustrated

If the Yankees expect more, who are they expecting more from? The players? They can only be as good as their coaches. So perhaps the pink slips those knuckleheads received are part of the plan for expecting more? The organization has chosen to build a fortress around Boone—the gum chewing clown with his front foot up on the step of the dugout—to lead the franchise into the future. Perfect.

Well, I guess they better get coaches who know when to call the bunt, the steal, the turn around third toward home, the hook and can teach fundamental baseball. Otherwise, we are in for three more years of laughable baseball at the expense of all of us fans. 



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

BREAKING: PUPPET BOONE WILL RETURN AS YANKEES MANAGER!

 You can't make this shit up.


Aaron Boone will return to the New York Yankees as a lifeless leader. Why? That's anyone's guess. The way I see it, if you fire guys like Marcus Thames and Phil Nevin, who work for Boone, how the hell do you not fire the leader of the losers?  It is crystal clear to me that the Yankees want Boone there as a pawn, a puppet, a way to control the field and the game play. Nothing more. He isn't qualified.  

Anyway, ESPN writes:

"Aaron Boone, who has led the New York Yankees to the postseason in each of his four seasons in the Bronx, will return as manager on a new three-year deal with a club option for 2025, it was announced Tuesday.



"We have a person and manager in Aaron Boone who possesses the baseball acumen and widespread respect in our clubhouse to continue to guide us forward," Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "As a team and as an organization, we must grow, evolve and improve. We need to get better. Period.

"I know Aaron fully embraces our expectations of success, and I look forward to drawing on his intelligence, instincts and leadership in pursuit of our next World Series championship."

Blah, Blah, Blah. Let me tell you something... every year as manager of any team has expectations... and those expectations are to make it to the World Series and hopefully win it. Anything less, like what the Yankees have done is a failure. 



Yankee fans have waited too long to be disappointed again with the Yankees decision on manager.  And trust me, if a guy like Mike Shildt of the St. Louis Cardinals can right that ship and get a playoff berth after a 17 game winning streak and STILL get fired after 3 seasons with him at the helm, but the Yankees don't fire Boone, it is clear to me that the Cardinals front office cares more about winning than ticket sales.  Leadership is valuable and we have none.


Hal is misguided. He's lost just as bad as his under-performing, unqualified puppet manager Boone.

Yankee brass had a chance to change this team starting at the top. They did not. I just gave up my season tickets today.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

TRADES & STRATEGIC THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YORK YANKEES


Last week you read A MUST READ ON THE STATE OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES. I was fired up... here's the second part of my thought process. A strategic look at fixing the New York Yankees.

We will then need to trade some of our current players if we ever want to make a run for anything in the future of this team!

Trade Luke Voit: Luke Voit will still have value as a lower salary guy that led the majors in homers in 2020. Then how about we get something for him. Prospects!



Trade Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar: Look, we all like these guys but it's time to cut bait on these two former top prospects. It’s not happening for them here in the Bronx. I realize value not very high right now, so not expecting much, but let’s get some future prospects and see what happens.

Consider a Gleyber Torres Trade: I am not opposed to trading Torres. The Yanks had a plan to put him at 2B, but this creates a problem if we sign a first baseman like Freeman for example. If DJ is not playing 1B and Gleyber is at 2B and a new shortstop is there, but a Seager, then the Yankees have only 1 spot for DJ and Urshela. I think I would consider dealing Gleyber and keeping DJ at 2B and Urshela at 3B. I wouldn’t give him away for nothing, but if we could land a decent catcher (more on that below), we may need to do that. The Yanks probably need to trade Gleyber or Urshela because no way DJ is not going to start and play every day somewhere on the infield.



Consider Trade of Gary Sanchez: A very tough call here...what to do at catcher? In a perfect world, the Yanks need to upgrade defensively over Sanchez. His defense is very bad and he is not hitting enough (.204 or lower in 3 of the past 4 years) to make this bad defense worthwhile. The problem is there is not a clear alternative. Higashioka is a very good defensive catcher, so he is probably our best alternative, but he hit .181. If Yanks could get a Wilson Contreras from the Cubs, perhaps in a trade that includes Sanchez (plus more of course), it might be worth doing. The Yanks probably need to move on from Sanchez, but they are not going to do it if they don’t feel there is a viable alternative that can hit over .200. I think if they get all the offense that I suggested, it would be fine to cut bait with Sanchez (perhaps even non-tender him) and go with Higashioka as their top catcher next season.

Other thoughts on 2021:



The Bullpen: I really loved our bullpen by the end of the season. Britton is gone, but Chapman seemed to return to form and after that was a lot of depth. Loaiziga is amazing. Green had some rough games, but is still a very good reliever. Clay Holmes looked amazing and was a great find by Cashman (his best move of the season was getting Clay Holmes) for nothing. Michael King was great as well and his future as a reliever looks very promising. I liked what I saw from Wandy Peralta as a lefty out of the pen as well. Yanks have a lot of depth and options here to have a great bullpen in 2022 without having to make any additions. Chapman, of course, was shaky at times, but he will close again in 2022 but with numerous options to take his closer role (likely Loaiziga) if he falters.



The Starters: After Cole, the Yankees will seemingly finally get Severino back in 2022 as a real #2 starter. They have plenty of options here for the 3, 4 and 5 starters with the surprising year from Nestor Cortez (2.90 ERA), solid work from Jordan Montgomery (3.83 in 30 starts), and some good work at times from German and Taillon. Since they probably won’t follow my plan to fix the offense with Seager, Freeman and Marte, they may try to go get another top starter. Interesting that Verlander, Kershaw, and Max Scherzer will be available as free agents, so that might be something they consider. 



After Cole, the other starters had trouble going deep into games. Cortes was basically a 5 inning pitcher and Montgomery not much more than that. The Yanks could use someone aside from Cole to get them 7 innings regularly to preserve that great bullpen and keep them fresh for October. Hoping Sevy can get to that point next year, but hard to predict that. Obviously, the most important thing the Yanks need with pitching is for Cole to be dominant like he is supposed to be (unlike his final two starts this season, including his terrible Wild Card performance).

Philosophy: After 5 years of failure in the post-season, the Yanks philosophy has not worked! 



The idea of loading up with guys that hit dingers and strikeout a lot is a bad approach. It's why getting Gallo made no sense when you are adding him on top of Judge, Stanton, Voit, and Sanchez. It's why DJ was so great for the Yanks in 2019 and 2020 because he was not that kind of hitter. The Yanks need to get away from this approach. They need more athleticism and speed. I love watching Tyler Wade play because he brings that different style of play to the Yanks that they are utterly lacking when he isn’t in the game. It’s why someone like Marte would help  this team. It’s why someone like Seager is a great fit. It’s why we need to trade Voit and try to replace Sanchez. 

I'm not sure if Cashman realizes this yet or will just keep trying to succeed with his philosophy. If he doesn’t change the philosophy, we will be back here again next year having this same discussion.  Just my opinion of course.



--Douglas Solomon
BYB Guest Writer

Monday, October 18, 2021

ALL EYES ON MATT BLAKE FOR 2022 SEASON



The Yankees just cleaned house and cut some weak links in the coaching department. It's a start, but it's a good finish if they walk away from Aaron Boone also. I'm not going to hold my breath on that one though. The Yankees decided to hold on to their pitching coach which some big expectations moving forward.

I'm still trying to get a good feel for Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake. He's still new to this show and we all know college baseball isn't the same. I think Blake had some highs and lows this season unlike some of the other managers who won't be returning. Some of his analytical focus helped the Yankees, but can that continue moving forward?



It's easy to forget some of the good stats after the Yankees just had a rough regular season and an early exit in the postseason, but there was a bright spot in the Yankees pitching staff. We don't talk a lot about WAR here on BYB but it is something that the Yankees analytics department puts a lot of emphasis on it so their fourth place rank in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is an accomplishment. The Yankees also had the sixth-best ERA at 3.76 that if the Yankees can build upon going forward will make them a stronger team.

Now that the Yankees have had some success in these categories now the Yankees need to make improvements to some specific players and that will be a challenge for Matt Blake going forward.
I think there are three players that Blake will need to work with and improve going forward.


1. Aroldis Chapman

The bullpen has been a strength for the Yankees in recent years, but Chapman seemed to implode this year. He wasn't the reliable closer the Yankees needed and gave up too many big hits (especially the 9 home runs) when the Yankees needed him. He cost the Yankees too many games and Blake needs to work with Chapman to fix what went wrong so it doesn't happen again next season.


2. Gerrit Cole

Our ace didn't have a "bad" year, but he had more troublesome outings than we ever wanted to see especially down the stretch when the Yankees were fighting just to get into the postseason. There were just too many appearances where he gave up too many hits, the control wasn't there and it turned into a clunker. His last start against the Blue Jays was a good example of that. We need to see Cole get back to that big game pitcher with confidence again.

3. Deivi Garcia

This is the tough one. Garcia has regressed dramatically compared to where he was in 2019 and 2020. His two appearances this season were disappointing loses with a 6.48 ERA and 10.5% percent walk rate in 8.1 frames. His 2020 season definitely was a smaller sample size but he showed progress with his command and control that did not continue into 2021. The Yankees need more pitching depth and as young as Garcia is, he has potential to be a good starter for the Yankees going forward. Blake has a lot of work ahead of him to get Garcia back on track and get back to what makes him a top pitching prospect.

I think 2022 will be an important year for Blake. The Yankees have a lot of question marks in the starting rotation and need to make sure their bullpen remains an asset. He's got a tough job to prove that his approach can continue to work. All eyes are on him as we continue to scrutinize the coaching staff.  He's got another opportunity to show Yankee brass and fans that he can improve this team while some of his other colleagues do not. 



  --Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
     BYB Senior Managing Editor
    Twitter: @nyprincessj

Sunday, October 17, 2021

ULTIMATELY THE YANKEES' FAILURES LAND AT CASHMAN'S FEET

Source: Mark Lennihan/AP

The modern game of baseball is highly reliant on statistics to drive decision-making. Quite frankly the modern day of higher education where I spend most of my time is highly reliant on data to make decisions about programs, student success and admission of learners. Even our day to day decisions are based on numbers—interest rates, shopping deals and airline prices to name a few. And it is fantastic that we have access to data to support decisions, but data can't be the only factor. So, this is the well or ditch or impasse where the Yankees are right now—relying on metrics to determine its fate. Front and center of the key decisions for this team land with General Manager Brian Cashman. And honestly it is time for a Come to Jesus moment for him as he looks to make decisions about the Yankees near future.

"At the end of the day, after the changes, the Yankees are still a team of big sluggers. The roster is still power-based and unathletic with very few contact hitters. They have very little versatility built into their roster and heading into 2022 a lot of questions about whether they are heading in the right direction," reported the New York Daily News. I have to agree and I am thinking most of you reading this do as well.

This team doesn't have the agility and versatility in this lineup that other teams that are beating them consistently do. They don't have speed. They don't have pure hitters, who can drive runs in when there are guys in scoring position. Their blueprint has been swing for the fences and as we saw with Giancarlo Stanton on the last day of the Yankee 2021 season, you can bank on home runs to get you wins. Aaron Boone seems to think you can and that and his inability to manage pitchers is killing the chances of this team to perform at a higher level next year. So do the Yankees bring in more talent to be managed by this kind of manager? That's for a different piece. We have lots of them in our BYB library!

Source: NJ.com

The Yankees need speed, they need consistent hitters who can drive in runs and they need to play fundamental baseball. They can't allow teams to easily get by them by taking advantage of walks, passed balls and errors. They have to close up the holes in the infield, namely getting themselves a shortstop and they need a center fielder who can play more than 145 games in three years! Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez are absolute jokes. The Yankees have given them chances. It is time to part ways. Gleyber Torres may have more value to give at second base in 2022, but if he can't perform, he needs to be shown the door too.

And honestly, as much as I like Luke Voit, he can't be the Yankees every day first baseman because he simply can't stay off of the IL. He is consistently getting hurt and then stumbling to get back. It is a lot of wasted time, which the Yankees can't afford as we have witnessed in 2021. 

Source: MLB.com

Cashman has a lot of work to do. But is he the guy to do it? I mean are the Steinbrenners really happy with him? 2009 was a very long time ago and as we edge up to 2022, it is almost difficult to remember good baseball consistently coming out of the Bronx. This modern day team seems to be ok with a bunch of almosts—making excuses for players who get paid a heck of a lot of money to be ok. Ultimately the Yankees failures are a part of Cashman's legacy as GM as much as his successes are. Time to look in the mirror and determine who you want to be. 


I echo the News in my final thoughts here—"They have become increasingly reliant on analytics, which many of the top teams in the game are doing but with more success. The information across the game is largely the same now, so why have other teams been able to adapt and be more successful? No one is saying stick your head in the sand, but there has to be a hard look at how information is being used to make decisions." Looking forward to seeing what the Yankees as an organization decide to do with their current staff and players. I'm hopeful they take this time to think long and hard about their future. Otherwise, I will be spending another summer anywhere but the Stadium for the third year in a row.  




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof


Saturday, October 16, 2021

A MUST READ ON THE STATE OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES



Time to discuss what went wrong and what needs to be fixed. The Yankees frustrated me this year, just like everybody. Well, I've been thinking about it long and hard as you will see.

When the goal is to win the World Series, this will now make 5 consecutive failed post-seasons. 2017 was a great success, yet we were so close to beating the Astros and going to the Series. Had the Astros not cheated, I believe Yanks would have won that championship. 

2018 was just a magical year by Boston and they outplayed us. 2019 again with the loss to Houston with Altuve using a buzzer and cheating his way to a walk-off homer off Chapman. After those seasons, it was clear we needed an ace to win the big games for us in October, so Cole was signed. 



2020 was all screwed up from COVID, but Yanks still made it past Cleveland and to the ALDS game 5 vs. Tampa. Cole was lined up and pitched well, but couldn’t go deep. Yanks had a 2-1 lead into the 8th and then Chapman gave up the 2-run HR and the season was over. Devastating. 

So 2021 was supposed to be a year where the Yanks and Cole finally got things right. What went wrong? A lot. Let’s review.

Yanks Must Fire Boone

Before I discuss players, I want to make my pitch that Yanks need to get a new Manager. Seems like they are going to bring Boone back however. I am not so sure I would. Everyone says that it’s the players, not the Manager, but that implies that Manager of a team is irrelevant. No doubt, the players deserve a lot of the blame in 2021, but that doesn’t mean the Manager is irrelevant. As bad as Yankees hit this season (not Boone’s fault), Boone made terrible in-game decisions all season long. 


I am telling you that his managerial decisions in the bullpen alone, probably cost the Yankees 5 to 10 games in the standings. Yes, as bad as they hit, I truly believe with the right Manager, this team would have won 100 games this year. At some point, I may go back and give you a list of the games and his bad decisions. There were a stretch of games in July when he continued to leave Chapman in games where the Yanks had leads long after it was obvious that Chapman was going to blow the save. We had other options available in the bullpen to win those games, but Boone stubbornly allowed Chapman to fully blow these games, as if to try to force him to recover from his pitching slump. Every game is valuable. With 1 more win, Yanks would have had homefield in that Wild Card game, so wasting these games proves immensely costly. One example is below, but trust me, there were 5 to 10 of these:

--June 30th vs. Angels: 


Yanks led 8-4 in the 9th after scoring 7 in the first inning off Ohtani. Chapman walks the lead off batter, then after a forceout, walks the next 2 batters to load the bases. Boone leaves Chapman in. Anyone in the world watching knew what was going to happen. Chapman proceeds to give up a game tying Grand Slam to Jared Walsh. Chapman is pulled (too late) and Luetge replaced him and he walked the first batter, then gave up a single sending the go ahead run to 3B. After a strikeout for the 2nd out, he gives up a 2-run single to Luis Rengifo and Angels take a 10-8 lead and win 11-8.

--July 4th vs Mets: Yanks led 5-4 going to the 7th of a 7-inning game. Despite Chapman’s meltdown vs. the Angels 4 days earlier, he comes in for the save and immediately gives up the game-tying HR to Pete Alonso, then puts the go ahead run on base by hitting Conforto. After a walk to McNeil, Chapman is pulled and replaced by Luetge, who promptly allows a single and (after a strikeout) a go-ahead double to Jose Peraza to essentially win the game (Yanks didn’t score in the bottom of the 7th). Mets win 11-5 with 7 runs in the 7th inning.



There were a series of games where Andrew Heaney was amazingly bad, yet Boone kept going to him. Even when he was pulled as a starter, there were close games where Heaney was relied upon for big outs (and, of course, he failed). This led to several losses that I pin directly on Boone. He didn’t trade for Heaney, but he did decide to use him in big spots when we had other options. That’s on him.

Cashman did a Terrible Job this Year

I am not sure I am ready to fire Brian Cashman, but if he were fired, I would not be able to say he did not deserve it. He really screwed up in constructing this team in 2021. While Cole was great in 2020 and did his job in the 2020 postseason, Yanks needed to improve the other starters and their offense. Let’s look at what Cashman did, none of which worked:

Starters: 



Cashman staked his entire offseason attempt to improve our starters by signing Cory Kluber and Jameson Taillon. I won’t quibble over Taillon because it was low risk an he was not being counted on as a #2 starter, but relying upon Kluber was a very bad decision. It was too unlikely that he would stay healthy and he did not. He had a good start (and a no-hitter), but got injured and was a shell of himself upon return from the injury. So, while other top starters moved all around the league in the offseason and trade deadline (Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Charlie Morton, Jose Berrios, Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish to name a few).


This might seem trivial, but I really believe that Cashman’s refusal to give up on this guy, cost us 4 or 5 games at least. When Voit was injured at the start of the season, Yanks had to decide how to fill 1B. It was my feeling that they should let Tyler Wade play 2B and use DJ at 1B. Instead, Yanks kept DJ at 2B and tried to fill in with shitty 1B. First, it was Jay Bruce who got 10 games of .118 hitting before he gave up, but then Ford continued to get AB despite it being clear that all he could do is strike out. There were a lot of 1-run games in April and early May where Ford was 0 for 4 with 3 K’s. 1 good AB from Wade in those games could have been the difference. The Ford experiment went on for WAY TOO long. This was Cashman’s doing. He is responsible for that. For hit .133 in his 22 games before being cut.
Yanks Offense: In a year where Yanks were finally relatively healthy for the first time in a long time, the offense was terrible. Look at the drop off in 2021 in offense:

2017 858 runs 2nd in MLB 5.30 runs per game

2018 851 runs 2nd in MLB 5.25 runs per game

2019 943 runs 1st in MLB 5.82 runs per game

2020 315 runs 4th in MLB 5.25 runs per game

2021 711 runs 19th in MLB 4.38 runs per game


This can only be described as pathetic, which is what the offense was for most of the season. Judge and Stanton were healthy and both had very good seasons. But everyone else underperformed. Gleyber and DJ had very poor years and Urshela never looked like the player that his .314 in 2019 and .298 in 2020. Strikeouts are a major problem for this team. They struck out 28% of their AB. So when we needed reinforcements at the trade deadline, we needed to get players that put the ball in play. Oakland, for example, traded for Starling Marte, who hit .305 for Miami, then hit .308 after being traded to Oakland. He puts the ball in play. Plays good defense in CF. Has speed (43 SB this season).



Gallo and Rizzo: The trade for Gallo, particular, was HORRIBLE. Gallo was exactly what Yanks did not need. Another guy that strikes out a lot. Gallo had a few big hits for us, but essentially struck out almost 50% of his AB. Now, we are stuck with him for next season, although I would non-tender him and not pay him $10M.

So with the offense broken and with no moves to really fix it (I suppose Rizzo helped a little bit… I am less concerned about the Rizzo trade because he is a free agent and it does not impact us for 2022… although I still don’t think it was worth giving away the prospects), Cashman failed Yankee fans in 2021. Nobody can try to argue he did a good job.

And so you're wondering, "Hey Douglas, how do we fix this in 2022?" Glad you asked.

One of Cashman’s problems, in his defense, is that Yanks were trying to stay under the luxury tax. When you stay under the tax for one year, you reset and then pay a lower tax in future years. Hopefully, this means that now that the Yanks have reset, they will be back to spending this offseason. While I am reluctant to use spending on free agents as a means of trying to win a championship, I don’t think the Yanks have a choice now. They have Cole for big money and Judge and Stanton in their primes, so they are a win-now team. Trying to build for the future is not an option for them and we all know that. But the team has major flaws, mainly on offense, that need to be fixed. Here is what I would do? I warn you, it’s expensive:



Sign Corey Seager to play Shortstop: Seager is young (27) and plays good SS. He is lefty, which is crucial. Its clear Yanks will add a SS and Carlos Correa hopefully is not an option. Seager looks like the guy. Seager hit .306 this year with a .394 OBP. Only strikes out about 20% of the time, which is pretty good these days in MLB. He is a clutch player with many big hits for LAD in their 2020 WS run. He is a winner. Get him.



Sign Freddie Freeman to play 1B: If Yanks added Freeman and Seager, the offense would take an immediate and dramatic upturn. 2 lefties and positions that we have basically open, no offense to Luke Voit. I love Voit, but he is injured too much, he is a righty, and he strikes out too much. Freeman stays on the field. He has barely missed a game the past 4 years. He hits .300 and 30 HR every year. He will be very hard to pry away from the Braves, but with money, anything is possible.

Sign Starling Marte to play CF: The third and final portion of my plan is Marte. Yanks need this type of athleticism and speed. We cannot rely upon Hicks coming back and being healthy and cannot keep going to Gardner to bail us out in CF. Marte is a real CF. He is a perfect fit for the Yanks.

These three signing will come at a high price, but we all know Yanks can afford it. They pay a lower tax now that they were under the threshold this year. So spend the money and fix the team.... read this Cashman... READ IT!  This would immediately take Yanks from 19th in Runs to likely into the Top 3 if not 1st. If you add these 3 guys to Judge and Stanton, and get DJ back to his 2019-2020 self, it will be a world of difference.

I will have more thoughts on the Yankees in the next coming days to help bring some stability and strategy to this team. Look for it here at Bleeding Yankee Blue!




--Douglas Solomon
BYB Guest Writer
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