Hello everyone, let’s open the mailbag for more of you Yankees Ask. Remember to email your questions for our weekly call Pinstripe blog [at] Gmail [dot] com.
PinstripedPride1994 asks: That the Yankees need a good midfielder is one of the most obvious facts in baseball right now. Of all the potential options on the market, who do you think the team should be targeting the most and why?
The best midfielder that could be in the market would be Bryan Reynolds of Pittburgh, but it would be difficult to get him in pinstripes. Reynolds hasn’t even started his arbitration years, which means he’s valuable and manageable – and depending on the team’s predictions for Estevan Florial and Jasson Dominguez, they may prefer to look for a short-term fix for this year.
That leads us to Ketel Marte from Arizona who has been Diamond back I can hardly remember what winning feels like Marte’s contract is only guaranteed until 2022 – though he has two club options that could hold him until 2024. These option years could be a boon or an unnecessary extra charge depending on how things play out, but he’s just as good a bridge player you might find in the middle and most importantly, he could help the Yankees win this year. There are other options, but these two will call the GMs the most often, and New York is considered to be one of the toughest callers.
NYCKING asks: What do you see Yankees look like over the next five years, something of a combo from the early 2010s? Phillies and Tigers, competitive teams falling off planet Earth, or Yanks remaining competitive Americans with a ring or no ring to show for?
I think this squad is at too critical a moment to really project its prospects very well – a year or two ago it was inconceivable that this team would have trouble making the cut for the postseason and now let’s see to a scenario in which the bombers have to shift into high gear to stay afloat. I think the comparison with these specific teams doesn’t fit well enough as they were teams that had championship ambitions for a while before they bottomed out.
For all their frustrations and concerns this season, the Yankees haven’t bottomed out – they’ve been mediocre, which is worse in some ways, but a mediocre team with the Yankees’ resources can bounce back quickly. It’s way too early to increase this team’s chances, but it seems like there should be a sense of urgency that hasn’t been felt. You were close with two near misses in the ALCS, but also had two extremely disappointing dropouts in the ALDS. Five years could bring in five deep postseason runs and a ring or two, but it might as well just be a real shot or two in the fall classics.
For me, this team is more like that Chicago Cubs, with a little less success. Both teams built a core that analysts berated as potentially dynastic, and both started their runs with deep October runs – the Cubs came with some hardware – but recently got the wind blown out of their ears. Either core was eligible, and the Cubs decided to part ways with some of the members and retool, with few key holdovers from 2016 left – guys like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo (and both were also on a rampage of trade rumors exposed). .
The Cubs were surprisingly in the running this year when most left them out for these decisions, but I don’t know if I’d like to call them contenders despite their early success. The Yankees are currently staring at that fork in the road as players like Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres come under the microscope and wonder about their skills. It would certainly be easier for the Yankees to go this route, but I think it would be premature – this core can succeed, although they certainly could use some help now.
Bleachers1976 asks: It’s quite frustrating to see a left-hander park one on the right field porch at Yankee Stadium almost every home game. Has ANY Yankee team ever been left-handed free? Can you name EVERY Yankee team that won a pennant that is so left-handed?
I haven’t checked every iteration of the Yankees, but in their championship years only one team had a starting line-up as right-handed as this year’s line-up. The 1956 Yankees took on a line-up with a lefty (Yogi Berra) and a switch-hitter (Mickey Mantle).
Well, obviously that’s two Hall of Famers, and the ’56 Yankees were anchored in Whitey Ford by another Hall member – these days the Yankees have Gerrit Cole, but Brett Gardner and Rougned Odor can’t quite live up to that comparison. The old days also had a wider bench due to the lack of a DH and let the starters go deep a lot more often, so the 56 Yanks had more left-handers in the dugout, but for the most part they let the best players play regardless of the handedness advantage.
That’s the motto these Yankees need to get off of, and that’s what they will in the end. Would it be nice if they still had a few left-handers? Sure, but frankly it’s not that critical an issue. The lack of left-handers didn’t let DJ LeMahieu hammer it all in half the season, and Gary Sánchez didn’t lose timing on his swing either. They will succeed or fail based on their own abilities, end of story.