Home SPORTS Everything must be in play as Yankees prove they’re not enough

Everything must be in play as Yankees prove they’re not enough

by NYPost
0 comment
Everything must be in play as Yankees prove they’re not enough

Everything has to be in play now. 

Hal Steinbrenner can’t just offer familiar blather about not meeting the ultimate goal and being disappointed to fail the fans and promise to redouble efforts in the quest for a 28th championship. Then after a cooling-off period, have essentially all the same people back to do all the same things. 

You can kid yourself when you take the Astros to seven games in an ALCS or six games, but after being swept by the Astros, is this really going to be the plan again? Is Steinbrenner really going to be fine with a pattern in which the Yankees are good enough to beat up an AL Central patsy in the playoffs and then go all fetal position when the October degree of difficulty rises? 

Or does Steinbrenner have to reassess how he allows his money to be spent and whether his demands to curtail spending in certain times led to worse spending in a Plan B — hello, Josh Donaldson as an example? 

Does he have to ask if Brian Cashman, with his contract expiring at the end of this month, has to either be replaced or shake up his baseball operations group. The Astros beat the Yankees in 2017 to win the AL pennant with a different GM, manager and largely different roster. They moved from league champion to league champion over the Yankees in 2017, 2019 and now 2022. They evolved. The Yankees devolved. 

Does Steinbrenner have to reassess whether Aaron Boone, an offseason after receiving a three-year extension, is a dexterous enough strategist who can win real-time battle after real-time battle in the postseason? Getting ejected over borderline ball-strike calls is not enough. 

And Steinbrenner will have to decide just how deep he wants to reach into the family coffers to retain Aaron Judge, the face of the Yankees these past six years as they have failed to take the last step to even reach the World Series. Judge had one of the most brilliant regular seasons ever and followed with a disappointing postseason. His loss would be devastating to the club’s talent base and allure, but how far will Steinbrenner go? 

Emotions run high in low moments like these. You don’t want to overreact. We tend to beat up teams good enough to play (and lose) big games. The Marv Levy Bills are known as losers for falling in four straight Super Bowls while a team like, say, the Lions never plays important enough games to endure such abuse. 

The Yankees are good enough to get here. It is not easy to do with their consistency, even with mammoth payrolls. That said, this is not good enough. It is not a sample size of a year or two now. Postseason after postseason they melt when another real heavyweight shows up in the playoffs. 

Aaron Boone makes a pitching change during the Yankees' Game 4 loss.
Aaron Boone makes a pitching change during the Yankees’ Game 4 loss.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Houston eliminated the Yankees for the third time in six seasons in the ALCS. This was most decisive as they finished off a four-game sweep Sunday night with a 6-5 victory. Judge grounded to the mound for the final symbolic out and yet another visiting team celebrated on the Yankee Stadium infield. 

These teams played 11 times this year and 10 of them were decided by three or fewer runs. Close. Except that the Astros won nine of the 11 games. The teams played 99 innings against each other in 2022. The Yankees led after just five, including three in Game 4. But the Astros just kept erasing the leads Sunday. They did everything little and small better. They are just better. 

They are better at drafting and developing players such as Jeremy Pena, the kind of shortstop who could seamlessly replace Carlos Correa. The Yankees, waiting on Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, ignored Correa and other free-agent shortstops and made a trade that worsened as the season progressed with Isiah Kiner-Falefa losing his defensive confidence and Donaldson’s failing offense going on life support in the playoffs. And Donaldson is still owed $29 million between 2023 salary and a 2024 buyout. 

The Astros are better at international signings, rebuilding a rotation around Yankees killer Cristian Javier plus Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy. 

Brian Cashman
Brian Cashman’s contract is set to expire.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

They are better at game planning and audibling within the game plans and rebounding from postseason punches. This was their sixth straight ALCS. They are going to their fourth World Series in that period to face the Phillies. 

The Yankees can lean on untimely injuries that crushed their lineup (Andrew Benintendi, Matt Carpenter, DJ LeMahieu) and their bullpen (Scott Effross, Chad Green, Michael King, Ron Marinaccio) and on Sunday Nestor Cortes was lost after two-plus innings with a groin ailment. But the alibis pile up with the early exits. Harrison Bader showed up. Anthony Rizzo did, too. But how many others from Steinbrenner’s payroll and Cashman’s decision-making and Boone’s orchestration. 

This has been a very good team for a very long time. But something feels stale about it all now — as if it can go so far, but not far enough. 

Steinbrenner cannot simply take a moment of reflection and say let’s do it all again.

This story originally appeared on NYPost

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Edtior's Picks

Latest Articles

All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by OneAsks.com.