In 2001, the Arizona Diamondbacks ended the Yankees’ season in Game 7 of the World Series.
Twenty-two years later, the Snakes did it again. Sunday’s rain-soaked 7-1 loss in the Bronx officially eliminated the Bronx Bombers from the playoffs. This is just the fifth time in Brian Cashman’s 25 years as general manager that New York has missed out on October baseball.
And not to sound like a broken record, but we can only sum up the 2023 Yankees’ season as such:
Murphy’s effing Law.
In fact, Gerrit Cole being the odds-on AL Cy Young favorite is all that’s kept this year from being an absolute bust. The rest, from Opening Day up until now, has been a slow, disappointing burn. The 2023 season is the year of what was supposed to be.
Who knew the rival Tampa Bay Rays would start 13-0? How could anyone have predicted the Orioles’ youth carrying them? Who knew Aaron Judge, fresh off of a dramatic free agency, would crash through a bullpen fence and miss two months? And with a toe injury, at that?
The list goes on. Carlos Rodon signed a seven-year deal in free agency and was the worst of both AJ Burnett and Carl Pavano. Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson became high-priced midseason cuts.
Oh, and how about Giancarlo Stanton’s continued decline at a high price tag?
Don’t think the disappointment of the season is lost on the players, despite manager Aaron Boone’s constant hope of a turnaround. Judge, handling the captain’s duties accordingly, was blunt. This season was a failure.
“If I’m not standing here talking to you guys after a championship, it’s a failure,” Judge said. “When you don’t show up and produce and get kicked out like this in the regular season, that’s a big failure right there.”
Judge parroting the dated “Yankee Way” aside, he’s right. He even called out the organization for what “needs to be fixed.”
Of course, the Yankee captain didn’t give specifics.
So what will those changes be? Well, the fans won’t like it, but Cashman stays. He just signed a new contract and, no matter how you spin it, is good at his job. Perhaps even great.
Don’t count on Boone leaving either. He still has a year left on his deal and the players, including Judge, have his back.
But no matter what happens, 2024 can’t be a repeat of this year. It just can’t. The Yankees have big decisions to make and holes to fill on the roster. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, perhaps?
And on the upside, New York’s future is pretty bright! Jasson Dominguez looked great before needing Tommy John surgery and will be back in the lineup next summer. Austin Wells may very well be the everyday catcher and maybe Everson Pereira can stick in the outfield.
Don’t forget Drew Thorpe and his 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and 139.1 innings pitched…in his first pro season!
This is a uniquely unfamiliar position not just for the Yankees, but their fans. What do they do now, anyway? Watch the Jets? The Giants? An actual New York football team like the Buffalo Bills? That’s Mets fan behavior!
Sure, maybe it is, but it’s normal. This is what people do when their baseball season ends early. There’s really only one way to look back on a season that was supposed to be. A season so unbelievably disappointing.
Sit back, enjoy the offseason, and look forward to the season that will be.