Despite a recent upswing in performance, the New York Yankees are going to have to be significantly better if they intend on competing for a postseason berth.
For years the New York Yankees have been considered favorites to win it all. Expected to add yet another World Series title to their already cluttered collection.
However, when the 2016 season initiated, New York felt the least like contenders and more like pretenders and it was obvious especially after their 9-17 start to the year.
Then came the talk about being “sellers,” the talk about their season being over, and how focusing on the future is the way to go. I’m not saying that talk is asinine – because it’s not – but the Yankees have proved that they are exceedingly better than a sub .500 ballclub.
Since May 5, or the day in which the Bombers fell to 9-17, they own an overall record of 43-32 (.573) along with a positive run differential compared to the .515 win percentage they own overall.
Additionally, the Yankees are the best team in Major League baseball since July 17 thanks to eight wins in their last 11 games.
It wasn’t a walk in the park, either.
In that span of 11 games, they had to face the likes of the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, San Francisco Giants, and Houston Astros who are the cream of the crop in terms of the elite major league teams.
Thanks to this surge, New York finds itself a manageable 6.5 games out of the AL East and a mere four games out of a Wild Card spot leaving us all to think: “Can the Yankees actually do this?”
Surely they can. After all, this is a team that has beaten the best this league has to offer while their starting rotation has the second-best earned run average in the AL over the last week.
Throw in the fact that the deficit isn’t astronomical, and you got yourself a pretty good chance at making a run for a one-game elimination contest now don’t you?
However, take a deep look into it.
Since the cataclysmic start back in early May, New York has been on a 93-win pace yet haven’t made up significant ground in the standings.
On May 5, the Yankees sat seven games out of first place in the division and remained five games out of the Wild Card. They have gained just a half game in the AL East and only one game in the race for the second Wild Card spot despite being one of the best teams in baseball since their putrid start to the campaign.
This team – that has already dealt Aroldis Chapman – simply needs to be better in order to sustain a run at a playoff appearance. But are they better than a 93-win team?
Though they have played well as of late, everything the 2016 New York Yankees have shown us is that they are not a playoff team and they have assets to sell.
Yes, they can still acquire a ticket to compete in a one-game playoff, but this is the Yankees organization we are talking about here. It’s either World Series or bust and it’s about time that the team realizes that they may have played considerably well notwithstanding their slow start, but they have failed to make up notable ground in the process.
It is time to think about the future rather than fool themselves into thinking this is a team compiled of championship talent.
It is a slow process – even though it’s only a couple years away – and Yankees’ fans have been impatient since they could utter the words “pinstripes” but in a business understanding, this is what they need to do.
The future is in owner Hal Steinbrenner’s hand and all he has to do is give the “go” to general manager Brian Cashman – a man who has made it publically aware that he wants to pull off a fire sale.
Will the Yankees’ owner make a new name for himself and prevent greed from taking over? We’ll find out this week. However, that decision begins with the organization as a whole realizing that no matter how high they feel they have climbed this season, they are still somehow at the base of the mountain.