One week ago the Yankees were the most grateful team in baseball for the All-Star Break. A 5-3 loss at home to the Milwaukee Brewers (I don’t care that they lead the NL Central, that’s hard to read) capped a humbling end to what seemed destined to be an extremely successfully first half of the season. After going winless in their eighth straight series (0-7-1, franchise record), the Yankees snailed into the Break.
— Stacey Gotsulias (@StaceGots) July 9, 2017
The Yankees were not back.
There were questions and concerns but for the first time since being five years removed from their last ALCS there was optimism around this team – a young, talented, future driven team that hasn’t even come close to tapping to their overall potential yet. Every single one of us Yankee fans would’ve signed on the dotted line if we were told in February we’d be two games back in the loss column to Boston on July 13th. With that being said, Cashman had to make some moves if this team was going to be considered a serious pennant contender alongside Houston and Boston.
Last Wednesday Pete Kennedy, Phil DeMeo, and myself talked on the SBNY Podcast about what the Yankees had to do moving forward this season. Here’s what I though the Yanks should do (54:00 mark):
1. Bolster up first base
2. Focus on strengthening their bullpen
3. Don’t break the bank and part ways with Torres or Frazier; Look to trade a top 10, double A, outfield prospect (nailed it).
Clearly Brian Cashman listens to the SBNY podcast and agreed wholeheartedly, thus hitting all three of my wants in one swift move with the Chicago White Sox:
The Yankees now have a professional hitter who, after a very slow start to the season, has a chance to play in meaningful pennant race games for the first time in 4-5 seasons. This could most definitely jumpstart him and give the Yankees life at a position they haven’t had all year. A corner infielder with a power bat that lengthens the lineup will serve the Bombers well. It will be interesting to see if Cashman resigns Frazier to replace the DH-ridden Matt Holliday after this season (both free agents) seeing as he has more fielding flexibility and could open up the DH spot to Judge and Sanchez on a more consistent basis.
Both David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle return to the Yankees and deepen a bullpen who has gotten off to a solid start to the second half. Robertson and Kahnle bring nasty stuff and both hold places in the top five strikeout percentage amongst pitchers in the league; the other three? Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Chad Green.
Throw in Adam Warren,who has have been very reliable as of late, and you now see a team sporting the best bullpen in the American League, similar to the 2015 Kansas City Royals. After blowing a league-leading 18 saves in the first half , let’s see how many they blow from now, I’m setting the O/U at 8.5 and taking the unduh.
Bittersweet moment as even though Yankee fans can say goodbye to that jamoke Tyler Clippard we say farewell to Blake Rutherford (#3 ranked prospect in Yankees’ system). A potential gem and a kid who is known for absolutely raking, Rutherford was roadblocked due to a slew of stud Yankee outfielders in the organization (Judge, Frazier, Fowler, Florial, McKinney) as well as a potential future free agent signing (you know who I’m talking about). Parting ways with him is tough but trading a player in a surplus position to help better the team over the next two-three seasons is fine by me.
If the Yankees can get an offensive spark from Todd Frazier while Robertson and Kahnle help fortify the pen, you might see a team who was even more dangerous than they were in May to make a run at the AL East. The double positive about this is not only did the Yankees upgrade their corner infield presence as well as their bullpen, but they stopped Boston from making the same trade and upgrading the same positions in the process.
This is something the Yankees have failed to do over the last few seasons as the Red Sox has dominated the trading landscape. Already 6-3 against Boston this season, the Yankees have to keep taking care of business within the division and against their rivals in order to finish atop of the division. These next 11 games leading up to the deadline could very well dictate how aggressive Brian Cashman is come July 31st. My gut feeling tells me he makes a move for a starter; whether this move is a trade for Sonny Gray or a promotion given to Chance Adams, some move will be made to help out the rotation.
Jordan Montgomery, the unsung hero who came into Spring Training not even on the 40-man, takes the hill at 1:00 clock today in an attempt try to propel the Yankees to their first series win in six weeks. It may only be a game in mid-July but this win would be such a morale boost to a team who has been playing hard and knows they have the talent to go on another run like they had two months ago.
Let’s see if these new faces in New York can spark this team and potentially lead to another big move to keep themselves neck and neck with Boston as we enter the most wonderful time of the sports year: #PennantRaceSzn