ESNY’s New York Yankees Bomber Buzz highlights the latest chatter following a disappointing Opening Day loss.
If you were a realist all along, the New York Yankees 2017 Opening Day performance may have put a smile on your face.
It showcased the worthlessness of Spring Training results and shouted the words “temper your expectations” at each and every Yankee fan — if they had not already done so.
There will be growing pains. Not everything will pan out the way it’s supposed to.
In a 7-3 loss at Tropicana Field, Masahiro Tanaka simply did not have it, Gary Sanchez had arguably his worst day at the big league level, Greg Bird made a defensive miscue and Aaron Judge waved at a slider tailing down and away.
After absolutely mowing down every single lineup in Spring Training, Tanaka’s woes came to the surprise of many. For those who enjoy overreacting to Game 1 of 162, which seems to be most of the fanbase, a rotation of Tanaka and question marks became a rotation of pure question marks.
The right-hander cited the magnitude of the game as one of the reasons for his poor performance.
"Looking back, just because it was the first game of the season, maybe I was a bit hyped up." – Masahiro Tanaka
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) April 2, 2017
For anyone else, the citation would be his horrific command, which resulted in the most earned runs he has ever allowed in his young, yet successful, career.
Joe Girardi: You can't make too much of one game. pic.twitter.com/IlWjPxEc7l
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) April 2, 2017
Prior to the game, when New York was still undefeated, the team signed Pete Kozma to a major league contract, finalizing the 25-man roster and solidifying its defense off the bench.
Kozma’s primary role will be to backup Ronald Torreyes and Starlin Castro up the middle — at least for the time being.
In order to make room for the veteran, the Yanks placed Didi Gregorius on the newly-established 10-day disabled list (retroactive to March 30) with his right shoulder strain. Tyler Austin, whose injury occurred early in camp, was moved to the 60-day DL.
Opening Day Roster Moves… pic.twitter.com/CvODdhmmbr
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) April 2, 2017
The hope remains that New York’s starting shortstop will be back on the big league diamond in early May.
Additionally, for those concerned with the financial aspect of baseball, the Yankees, amidst their youth movement, are beginning to drop in the payroll rankings.
According to ESPN.com, for the first time in nearly 25 years, Hal Steinbrenner’s pinstripes are not listed as one of the top two payrolls in baseball.
The Yanks came in at third at $195 million, placing behind the Detroit Tigers ($199.75 million) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($225 million).
APNewsBreak: Yankees drop to 3rd in #MLB payroll; Dodgers lead. #sportsbiz https://t.co/TYvfLeieV0 pic.twitter.com/fQVRBuyfxs
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) April 3, 2017
With increases in luxury tax, this particular way of doing business has become the norm. It should not come as a surprise if the Yankees fall out of the top five before 2019, when the front office is expected to spend its way back into championship contention.