The New York Yankees are currently in a commendable position thanks to a second half which has featured indifference to outcome.
Given the success story that has been August for the New York Yankees, all signs point to sustained prominence, an exciting stretch run, and a potential playoff berth.
You cannot blame anyone for thinking this way. The Yankees have become a team worth watching once again.
The mixture of electrifying youth and experienced veteran figures have transformed what was a so-called “white flag” into an exhilarating green light. Even loyal fans, prior to the deadline, felt obligated to flip the channel during a mainstream regular season game. Simply put, there was no buzz.
Now, anything can happen at any moment, the offense is explosive, and the club is worthy of contention.
With that being said, why not be hopeful? Why not take a front seat to a playoff chase? Why not view a surmountable wild card deficit as, perhaps, a realistic path?
In no way should anyone discourage optimism. The team has simply earned that level of respect despite sacrificing key assets. However, if you are a Yankee die-hard, the outcome of 2016 should be the least of your concerns.
Rather than cluttering your mind with a playoff race — however legitimate it may be — that means virtually nothing to the franchise moving forward, focus on what has been achieved in a year which has already exceeded everyone’s expectations.
Instead of suffering through another lame, mediocre, and essentially pointless 83 to 85 win season, New York is finally in a position to breathe. Regardless of whether Joe Girardi’s team finishes with 80 wins, 85 wins, or 90 total victories, fans will be content knowing the giant leap of faith that has been taken.
Gary Sanchez was called up after years of indecision and has provided a historic spark. Aaron Judge is experiencing growing pains but is growing nonetheless. Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, two extremely talented and exciting middle infielders, have a combined age of 42, only three years older than Carlos Beltran, who the Yanks were finally able to boot in favor of roster flexibility.
With all of the change, they have managed to go 23-19 in the second half. Over a 42-game span, that record seems awfully pedestrian. Projected over a 162-game season, that record entails 89 wins. Under the current format, 89-73 amounts to a playoff shoo-in.
Yes, the Yankees have that kind of potential. A few bounces go their way and they are a 90 win team in 2017.
All of the hype surrounding the acquisitions such as Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, and Justus Sheffield effectively undermined what the organization already had waiting in the farm system. Mature, big-league-ready, box office youth which can resurrect a relatively sorrowful period for the franchise.
Once the likes of Frazier, Torres, and Sheffield are ready to come aboard, the sky is the limit.
However, what this year has shown is that the studs down in the minors are added incentive. If they pan out, the franchise will prosper; they will be a cherry on top. If they do not, what was already developed in the meantime will handle the task at hand.
The same goes with a playoff bid.
Would it be nice to earn another game in October, and potentially a series? Would it be epic to get a couple of home playoff games, sell some tickets, and bring major buzz and attention to an already revitalized organization? Sure.
Is it an end-all, be-all? Absolutely not.
All the Yankees have displayed is a forcefulness, a will to win, and a ballclub that will not run away from a fighting chance. Scrutiny is the last possible worry if playoff baseball is not in the equation for the third time in the last four years.
Brian Cashman’s magical deadline was heroic, Joe Girardi has milked every ounce of stellar play out of his team, and ownership has stayed out the way. Furthermore, as far as the second half goes, the team has done its part as well.
What more can you ask for?
October is a great time of year, but perhaps that caliber of play is better suited for a formidable pinstriped team 396 days from now.
Fans should hold their respective heads high when the most likely scenario comes about. If another respectable year is added to the so-called “rebuild,” the baseball gods should be praised for being so kind to the greatest franchise in sports.
The playoffs? Well, that can wait for another time.
There are 11 additional wins to be had for title number 28. Not one, 11. A hungry Yankee team does not need to be misinformed that a season short of a championship deserves a useless pat on the back.