It certainly has been a weird past week in the Yankee Universe. The Bombers went to Boston last weekend and got absolutely pummeled by the Red Sox losing the 1st 3 games of a series by a combined score of 38-18. They salvaged a game and avoided a sweep Sunday night winning 9-6 behind Domingo German. Combined with the beer league softball games in Minnesota the pitching staff was hemorrhaging. Fans were freaking out. Something needed to be done.
After an off day, the Yanks returned home to New York and snoozed through a game with the Diamond Backs dropping a 4-1 decision. This was despite a decent outing by JA Happ. Then it was trade deadline day July 31. Surely Yankee GM Brian Cashman would make the necessary moves to make a really good team better to help ensure a long championship run. While the team was beating the D-Backs 7-5, Cash was getting shut out, and could not make a big move to improve the struggling pitching staff. Rational fans were frustrated, many fans were angry, twitter lunatics were threatening boycotts, and screaming they deserved a franchise who cared about its fans. It was a lot to process.
I think the thing that freaked out all Yankee fans the most was not just the Yankees lack of moves, but the fact that the Astros (the Yankees only real threat for the best record in the AL) made best, stunning trade of this deadline by acquiring D-Backs Ace Zack Greinke (who literally started that afternoon in the Bronx). It was a complete stealth move on their part as there had been no rumors to the contrary Arizona was even considering trading Greinke. The baseball media was focused on Arizona dealing power lefty Robby Ray(who was a target of the Yanks based on his fastball velocity and high strikeout numbers). Houston also acquired inconsistent but talented right-hander Aaron Sanchez, and reliever Joe Biagini from Toronto. Houston was making moves to try to improve their chances of winning a championship. They were clearly “all in” on 2019 with Co Ace Gerrit Cole heading for free agency in the winter. The Yankees were not able to make a similar deal, and every fan from the sane to the incompetent wanted answers.
Let’s start with the outlandish. Why didn’t the Yankees get Greinke? He did after all have an expensive contract so the cost in prospects shouldn’t have been as high people thought? Well, that one is easy. Greinke had a full no-trade clause. The Yankees were on it. Greinke has anxiety issues and has a unique, introverted personality. He would not work in New York ever, and the Yankees knew that. There was a 0% chance to acquire him, and Houston took full advantage.
So fans wondered if not Greinke why not get someone else? This was compounded by MLB, and the MLBPA’s dumb decision to have 1 trade deadline in 2019 on July 31. This eliminated the waivers period which allowed players to be traded by August 31 if they had clear waivers through all 30 teams, and still allow that player to be eligible to appear on postseason rosters of the acquiring team. Fraudulent, stupid organizations like the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets acquired really good starting pitchers in Trevor Bauer, and Marcus Stroman. In the Reds case, they wanted to finish .500, or something? God only knows. The Mets road a really insane hot streak, and got to the periphery of the NL Wild Card Race. They acquired Stroman and held onto starters Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler. As play starts today the Mets sit 4 games back of the 2nd Wild Card. However, they have 4 teams ahead of them including the aforementioned D-Backs. Having 2 Wild Cards, and only one earlier trade deadline allowed poorly run teams like the Mets to continue to fool their fans into thinking they have a shot at the Wild Card. It hurt intelligent, well-run organizations like the Yankees ability to make trades because there were fewer options available to acquire via trade. The Mets are a clown organization, threatened to be their neighbors in the Bronx. Teams like them are making a mockery of the sport. You couple this with what the baseball industry refers to as Yankee prices, and you can see why Cashman was not able to swing a deal for better pitching. The supply was low. The demand was extremely high For example the price for a guy like Robbie Ray was Clint Frazier and 3 other prospects. There was no way in his right mind Cashman could do that. Yes, Houston is now the prohibitive favorite to represent the AL in the World Series. The only chance the Yankees have is if Luis Severino and Dellin Betances return as their best versions of themselves. However, the fact of the matter is you can’t sacrifice everything for something that is not guaranteed anyway. A team still has to execute on the field Although frustrating Cashman did the right thing in standing pat with those prices. It’s up to the players to step up if they want to win World Series 28.
In all my years of watching baseball, I have never seen a good team like the 2019 Yankees be so beset by injuries. Severino and Betances haven’t thrown a pitch yet. Miguel Andujar was lost for the year the 1st 2 weeks of the season. Giancarlo Stanton has played just 9 games. Aaron Judge has missed 55 games. Gary Sanchez has missed 33 games and counting. Luke Voit hurt himself in London. Came back, and now is out with a Sports Hernia. He may need surgery, and miss significant time. Then yesterday during game 1 of the doubleheader with the Red Sox Edwin Encarnacion was hit with a pitch on his left wrist and promptly fractured it landing on the IL indefinitely. CF Aaron Hicks injured his throwing elbow making a throw in the nightcap and is going for an MRI today. Who knows what the outcome of that will be. This Groundhog Day run of injuries has become almost comical it is so sad. This Yankee team is on the cusp of something great, yet keep hitting roadblocks. The fact the ballclub continues to win is amazing. This is a credit to the players, Aaron Boone and his staff, and mainly Brian Cashman for assembling such a deep roster. This team is going to win the AL East going away. They have won 4 in a row after the crazy week last week. The team plays hard for each other, and the fans, and understands you can’t complain you have to go out and execute on the field. The 2019 Yankees do that quite well, and fans should be appreciative of that regardless of the season’s final outcome.
Today’s terrible tweet comes yours truly (@Irishdad1976) during the Yankee/Twins barnburner on July 23 after Zack Britton had flushed the lead. NYYST’s own Chris Stacy tweeted. “Don’t worry guys Hicksie will hit a 2 run homer in the 9th and Chappy will save it.” To which I responded not exactly being the president of the Aaron Hicks fan club “If he does that I will buy you a streak at DelFriscos dressed like Jesus Christ” Yes. Hicks went deep. The only thing that saved me from such a fate was Chapman blew the save and the Yanks won in extras. Me and my big mouth!
Keep listening, keep those 5-star ratings coming, and keep reading. Go Yankees!