NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: First base coach Reggie Willits #50 of the New York Yankees wipes down padding in the dugout with Clorox wipes in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 18, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Let’s face it: the New York Yankees are floundering in an already dismal 2020. For now, that “Next Man Up” mentality needs to be put to bed.

Allison Case

Man, it was fun while it lasted for the New York Yankees. After starting out 16-6 for the 2020 season, completely dominating their opponents in every sense of the word. And then the bottom fell out.

In their last 18 games, the Yankees have posted an abysmal 5-14 record. Their big signing of the offseason has allowed 13 home runs in just nine starts. Their heavy hitters in the lineup have been shelved for most of the season. The remaining heavy hitters have been completely non-existent.

It’s been a fight to the finish for the New York Yankees, going from being a shoo-in to win the World Series to now barely on the cusp of making the expanded playoffs. And yet the Yankees keep preaching the belief in the “Next Man Up” movement.

Just a year ago, the “Next Man Up” motto was displayed on t-shirts, flags and anything else we could get our hands on. Now it is simply mocking the Yankees as they scrounge to get any sort of production out of anyone with just 12 games remaining.

This whole motto has played a key role in the 2020 season, with big names like Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton going down early. Even with Tommy Kahnle having to give up his 2020 season for surgery, the Yankees still stuck by the motto of “Next Man Up” and it has only come back to bite them.

This year, their men up from the alternative site haven’t had the same magic as previous years. Mike Tauchman hasn’t tacked onto his impressive 2019 performance, Tyler Wade has been completely lost at the plate and while Miguel Andujar is picking up the pace at the plate, he definitely did not have a smooth welcome back into the lineup.

The New York Yankees decided to continue this method when the well has almost run dry down at the alternative site and no trades were made at the deadline. The shortened season has made finding replacements that much more challenging, as many are coming up through the system without real in-game action to prepare.

The system is no longer working this season. The year is too short to rely on semi-cold players coming up through the system when injuries derail the original plans. There seems to be no end to the big names ending up on the IL and, quite possibly, it seems the 2020 Yankees are ultimately cursed. But the plan that has worked before is definitely not working now.

Everyone continues to use the “Next Man Up” motto but it’s simply mocking the New York Yankees at this point. It is basically saying that their designated team at the beginning of the season is just not good enough. Take Gary Sanchez for example, who has been a steady contributor and the starting catcher for the Bombers, despite his .130 batting average and “home run or bust” swing. Or Brett Gardner, who the Yankees inked to a one-year deal, who is becoming a liability in the everyday lineup.

The saying needs to completely disappear. This 2020 season is definitely out of the ordinary and consistently hearing “Next Man Up” has become a symbol of just how depressing it is to see all these big names who were supposed to bring home a trophy go down with injury.

Maybe the 2020 motto should be “It Can Always Get Better.” At least we’re being honest, here.

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