The struggles experienced by the current New York Yankees team this year can be traced back to a year ago and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.
The renaissance encountered by some members of the New York Yankees in 2015 was nothing short of remarkable, at the time.
With the exception of a freak injury towards the end of his campaign, Mark Teixeira proved that he can remain on the diamond while maintaining his All-Star form.
He was nothing but a force for New York all season and deserves sufficient credit for keeping his team in contention for the American League East crown by hitting .255 with 31 homers and 79 RBIs in 111 games played.
Now, he is not only on the disabled list at 36-years of age, but he’s a .180 hitter who hasn’t homered in over two months. Additionally, Yankee first baseman, that was a position of no concern this offseason due to Teixeira’s resurgence, are experiencing the second-to-worst production in all of baseball from the first base position (.186 overall BA) entering their brief series with the Colorado Rockies.
That’s not all as they have a guy who has never played the position(Rob Refsnyder) and a man who hasn’t been valuable since 2012 (Ike Davis) share reps at first base, which was considered an afterthought entering this season.
A healthy Mark Teixeira was expected to show up this year. Why? Because last year’s performance said so. That was nothing but fool’s gold that the organization fell for not once, but twice.
When it came time to place expectations on Alex Rodriguez for his 2016 season, there was no question he was counted on to recreate his Cinderella season.
No one knew that A-Rod would reignite his career, make a difference in the lineup, be able to run to first without tearing a hamstring or what a return from a year-long absence could turn a potential Hall of Famer into.
Rodriguez answered those questions with a .250 batting average, .356 on-base percentage and .486 slugging percentage and led the team in home runs. His numbers might have been even more satisfying if it weren’t for an end-of-season slowdown where he slashed .191/.300/.377 in September and October.
Entering this season, manager Joe Girardi certainly considered that slump to nothing to worry about as it was just a 40-year old doing 40-year old things.
Now, it is obvious that his re-ignition was nothing more than that damn fool’s gold and Yankees’ fans are now paying witness to his true demise.
A-Rod is slashing .209/.257/.403 (including a .176 BA at Yankee Stadium) with an OPS of .660 which, in comparison, is the lowest he has ever had in his 22-year career. The two men expected to carry their team towards back-to-back postseason berths are experiencing their age catching up to them and there’s nothing to complain about except the fact that the Yankees have been deceived by a successful 2015.
That deception doesn’t appear to be over, however.
For some odd reason, the New York Yankees consider themselves a team ready to win now and the spots of success to justify that yet again comes with the capability to dupe the Bombers yet again.
Take last week for example. They had an epic stretch en route to a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels. Even fell victimized, as I stated that the Yankees have tapped into their potential of being a winning ballclub.
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Yes, they returned to being a .500 ballclub by scoring 29 runs in four contests, but it was against a club that surrendered 88 home runs (1.35 HR/9) and find themselves second to last in isolated power despite having guys like Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in their lineup.
Sure, wins don’t count as half-wins just because your opponent is a dismal ballclub, but it was evident that the sweep was caused by having a beatable opponent and it was even more evident after they followed their six-game win streak with their current four-game losing skid against the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies.
But that’s not fool’s gold. What will be the deceiving component of this year will come if they take advantage of their upcoming schedule.
Starting tonight leading up to the All-Star game, New York will square off against the Minnesota Twins (20-45) twice, the San Diego Pardes (27-40), and non-intimidating opponents like the Texas Rangers (41-25), Chicago White Sox (33-33), and Cleveland Indians (35-30).
It’s hard to believe the Yankees cannot take advantage of a weak stretch and pull within striking distance, a game, or even be at the top, of the AL East by the midsummer classic which causes them to not break down the roster and sell.
How is this deceiving? Once the Yankees’ return from the All-Star game festivities, they’ll have to face the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and the tough San Francisco Giants. They own a 10-17 record against American League East opponents supplemented by a losing record (13-21) against teams over .500.
Contender? Sounds more like a team that is ready to be tricked again into thinking their streaks of accomplishment could translate into overall success.
If they do enter the All-Star break high on the success they had against their brief encounter with subpar teams, which they should, they will be in for a rude awakening as clubs clearly more superior will be waiting for them down the road.
The organization has fallen victim to fool’s gold in the past and although they likely won’t come to grips with who they are by selling for some future brightening prospects this season, it may be in their best interest to consider it. After all, this trickery has caused despair on more than one occasion in recent memory.