Face it. The Yankees’ season is all but definitely over.
Sunday’s awful showing in a 9-3 loss to first-place Baltimore makes a pretty strong case. It cost New York a key series and kept them in last place in the AL East. A game that may have been winnable if Aaron Judge had been in the lineup after a three-hit performance Saturday, his second back from the injured list after two months gone.
The end-of-season script will practically write itself, starting with general manager Brian Cashman’s end-of-year press conference. Manager Aaron Boone being the fall guy is anybody’s guess, but we can otherwise expect the same predictable platitudes from the milquetoast GM.
Judge’s absence really affected the team. Surprise, Anthony Rizzo was injured the whole time. DJ LeMahieu’s age is finally catching up with him, improvements aside. Blah blah blah, “big decisions to make” and more prattle of “making important changes.”
There really is nothing else to say except the trade deadline is Tuesday evening and the Yankees are in the worst possible position. They’re too “good” for a full-blown firesale, but not competitive enough to be serious buyers. And even if Cashman does swing an interesting trade, how much would it actually help?
Not to mention, other teams are striking while the iron is hot and sucking up all the top trade targets. Forget Randal Grichuk, the Angels are all-in on keeping Shohei Ohtani and making a playoff push. There’ll be no reunion with Jordan Montgomery, nor stealing Max Scherzer from the Mets, because the Rangers are doubly serious.
The cherry on top? The Cubs won’t be trading Cody Bellinger.
But hey, it’s all right. The Yankees still have a shot at Cardinals switch-hitter Dylan Carlson. We’ve discussed how he might be a good fit in New York, but the window for him to be the difference-maker is closed. If anything, he helps shore up the outfield next year and his switch-hitting makes the lineup interesting.
The long and short of it is that regardless of how the Yankees handle the trade deadline, no move will do anything. Adding a Carlson or even *gasp* Jeimer Candelario’s expiring contract won’t make Rizzo, Stanton, or anyone else play better baseball. That’s the core problem. Nobody is playing well and there is no clear answer.
Worse yet is that losing this weekend series in Baltimore is just the beginning of the Yankees’ latest troubles. Next on the schedule are seven consecutive games against the Rays and Astros, all at Yankee Stadium. At this point, independent of any trades or lack thereof, the Yankees need to essentially sweep one series and win the other.
Then, cue three games against the tanking White Sox and what should be a winnable series against the Marlins in Miami. August also features series with the Nationals, Red Sox, and Tigers, plus three with the MLB-best Braves.
The point, and not to sound too much like Doctor Strange: There is indeed *a* slight chance of the Yankees going on an epic run and go on a double-digit win streak. Or maybe win most of the series instead of just plodding through each game, hoping for something to finally click.
One thing is certain, though. It’s July 31, the Yankees are in last place, and nine games out of first place. At this point, nobody is expecting anything.
Hell, some probably relish the end of the most lost and disappointing season in recent memory.
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