The 2018 Season is officially over for the New York Yankees and while there is optimism, there’s also cause for concern.
Well it’s over. Close the book on the 2018 New York Yankees. The Boston Red Sox are celebrating in Yankee Stadium while the fans watch in disbelief.
CC Sabathia may have pitched his last game in Pinstripes. Brett Gardner may have played his last as a Yankee. Giancarlo Stanton is drawing comparisons to non-2009 Alex Rodriguez. Aaron Boone is being treated as if he managed a 100 loss team.
Sure the overall numbers on the year look pretty good. It’s pretty difficult to complain about 100 regular season wins, breaking the MLB record for home runs, and running out two Rookie of the Year candidates in Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar.
But the Yankees struggles were never about the overall numbers.
Brian Cashman designed this team to do three things: Homer, walk, and strikeout. So the Yankees did exactly that. They hit a lot of home runs (they broke the record!), they walked, and they struck out.
They didn’t hit with runners in scoring position, they didn’t run wild on the bases, and they didn’t execute in situational hitting opportunities.
They hit home runs. They worked walks. They struck out.
This alone is a recipe for disaster even before addressing Aaron Boone’s role.
Boone is a first-year manager who has never managed or coached a Major League Baseball team in any capacity. We saw the first year skipper go through exaggerated growing pains that clearly stemmed from a lack of experience in any coaching role before being taking over as the Yankee skipper. Even worse for Boone, he will be forever linked to Alex Cora who was a coach with the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros.
He consistently mismanaged the bullpen week in and week out, using relievers based on a “well he was scheduled to pitch today” philosophy rather than a “this guy is the right guy for this situation” philosophy. He broke the cardinal rules of Dellin Betances repeatedly (to his credit that ended up working out in the postseason), he went multiple games at a time without utilizing Aroldis Chapman (a power pitcher that needs consistent work to be effective), and showed absolutely no feel for whether or not his starter was pitching effectively. Yankees fans turned on Boone as quickly as they have turned on almost any Yankee manager in a very long time.
Sure he had to manage through some tough situations. Nobody could have predicted that Jordan Montgomery would go down with injury for a full season. Nobody could have predicted that 2015 Cy Young finalist Sonny Gray would pitch like the Monstars stole his ability to throw a baseball. Nobody could have predicted an absolutely abysmal season offensively and defensively from Gary Sanchez.
Even with all of those caveats, it’s tough to back Boone, given all the talent he had at his disposal. It got to a point at times where even I had to say “ok maybe the Twitter people really are smarter than the manager of the New York Yankees.” That just feels wrong.
Still, while this year was not successful by Yankee standards, there is a lot to build on going into 2019. New York finally has a true core of players that will be effective for years to come. Although he struggled in Game 3, Luis Severino has the talent to develop into an ace once he gets his head right. The lineup consists of MVP-caliber players in Aaron Judge and Stanton. Not to mention, there is a slew of exciting young talent in Torres, Andujar, Justus Sheffie, d and Clint Frazier. And finally, they have the chip on their shoulder that should motivate them to come back strong next season.
None of those positives mean anything to Yankee fans right now though. The sting of losing to the Red Sox in the playoffs makes us sick to our stomachs. All we can do now is pray that they don’t win it all and we get another shot at them next year.
Let’s hope Cashman addresses some of the glaring needs in the starting rotation. Lets hope the young talent we have lives up to the legacy of the old guard that’s on the way out. Let’s hope that a National League team wins it all this year because I really hate both the Red Sox and the Astros. Mostly let’s just hope that Spring gets here soon so the 2019 New York Yankees can begin the path to the 2019 World Series.