By the end of today, we’ll have made it five days without Yankee baseball happening or to even look forward to. It’s a long way till February and with the LCS’s going on and the World Series on the horizon, it feels even longer. To keep you warm–or cold, depending on how much you’ve recovered from the abrupt end to the season–here are some thoughts.
A Fitting End
The end of the Yankees’ season felt a little bit like the season itself. All year, this was a very good team; it won 100 games, despite what browsing Twitter might make you think. But given the great success and the home run record, the Red Sox had and moments of frustration, it seemed like this team was just one step shy of great. Game three’s disaster aside, the Yankees were close (or winning re: game two) in their losses, and had chances to win, to be great. At times this year, the team was great and probably will be going forward. While this year ended with disappointment, it wasn’t a failure by any means. Next year, however, the expectations should be ramped up a bit more. An ALDS loss in 2019 would be way more disappointing than it was this year.
Sonny Gone Gray
Before this year started, I thought Sonny Gray was going to have a big year. He had some good peripherals in his time as a Yankee in 2017 and he had–still has–great talent. But this year, it just never happened. Any time it looked like he was going to get on a roll, he fell flat on his face again. Despite how hard I rooted for him, I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong about a player than I was about Sonny Gray in 2018.
During the year-end press conference, GM Brian Cashman didn’t do much to obscure the fact that the Yankees are going to look for trades involving Gray, which is too bad. Sonny seems like a really good guy and took his lumps this year without much noise.
Looking back, it seems that the trade to bring Gray to New York isn’t really working out for anyone, unless Dustin Fowler really turns it on in 2019. Even then, this was a smart trade to make and I’m glad the Yankees did. The process was good even if the results haven’t been. I want to say haven’t been ‘yet,’ still hopeful for some value from Gray, but it doesn’t look like that’s ever gonna happen. A trade is likely the right thing to do here, even if the Yankees don’t get an exact match on value.
With the news of Didi Gregorius’ impending Tommy John Surgery, we all got a little sad. Then, our minds began to wander towards Manny Machado for obvious reasons. The fact that the Yankees are back in a position to spend big also helped that fantasizing, which led to more and more fantasies, like Bryce Harper. I’m on record as saying I’m skeptical that the Yankees will spend big again, but after narrowly missing the World Series in 2017 and getting eliminated early this year, hopefully they pull a 2008-2009 and push themselves over the edge. I let my mind run a little wild with the possibilities and came up with this roster-bated squad that would start the year in Didi’s absence:
C: Gary Sanchez
1B: Miguel Andujar
2B: Jed Lowrie
3B: Manny Machado
SS: Gleyber Torres
LF: Bryce Harper
CF: Aaron Hicks
RF: Aaron Judge
DH: Giancarlo Stanton
BN: Austin Romine, Clint Frazier, Ronald Torreyes, Luke Voit or Greg Bird
SP: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Patrick Corbin, JA Happ, CC Sabathia
RP: Dellin Betances, Chad Green, David Robertson, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, Stephen Tarpley
CP: Aroldis Chapman
To quote Doctors Jan Itor and Chris Turk, not gonna happen. The chances that the Yankees sign seven free agents (counting CC + Happ + Robertson) is pretty slim, even if they do have bucks to throw around. Additionally, there would definitely be a roster crunch when Didi returned, and I doubt Jed Lowrie would settle for what would be a supersub role come the second half, unless he were paid exorbitantly. Were this to happen, though, you’d put Gleyber back at second, Didi at short, and Lowrie would take Toe’s spot on the bench.
Again, something this drastic won’t happen, but it’d be a lot cooler if it did.