The only people in the Northeast section of the country happy about the New York Yankees this 2014 baseball season are Boston Red Sox fans. Sox fans are starved for good news and the best they can come up with is that the Yankees aren’t any good either.
Out of Sorts
In fact, it seems, the Yankees aren’t the Yankees at all, anymore, though it is risky to make such a blanket statement since somehow Bronx Bombers administrators find new safe deposit boxes containing stacks of cash any time they need new players.
They need new players right now. Up until the All-Star break the only thing keeping the Yankees afloat was Masahiro Tanaka’s right arm. Now that he is injured, out for weeks at the least and the season at the most, the holes in the Yankee lineup are more glaring.
The Derek Jeter Farewell Tour is well into its third lap and is a fine distraction as the world pays tribute to the great shortstop as he plays out his final season. Jeter is hitting about .270, which is OK for someone 40 years old, but he must wonder about the contributions all of the strangers in the batting order surrounding his name and, indeed, wonder who some of them are.
Coming out of the All-Star break the Yankees are 47-47 and sliding. Their best pitcher is injured. Their biggest star is past his prime. And unlike recent decades when the late George Steinbrenner was all in to win every minute of every season, the current Yankee administration doesn’t just flex its New York muscle and buy a new player.
Perhaps those bosses, son Hal Steinbrenner among them, will make such a bold move before the non-waiver trading deadline July 31. The problem is: Where do you start? One bold move won’t be enough to lift the Yankees into playoff contention, never mind make them into an American League East Division title contender.
The simple reason for that is that the Yankees are flat out mediocre this year. They lost Robinson Cano to free agency and he is an MVP candidate with the Seattle Mariners. His replacement at second base, Brian Roberts, is hitting .241.
First baseman Mark Teixeira has never looked right and he also is batting .241. Designated hitter Carlos Beltran is batting .216. The Yanks cut Alfonso Soriano, even though he was making millions of dollars, because they didn’t believe he could help them at all.
Their free agent signing of Jacoby Ellsbury, stealing him from the Red Sox, to boot, has been solid, and Ichiro Suzuki is still hitting around .300. But overall the lineup has no pop or consistency. The team average is .252.
Pitching is no better. Tanaka (12 victories) was exceptional, at his best the best pitcher in the AL, but he is out indefinitely and nobody else on the staff has more than six wins. The retirement of future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera turned the closer job over to David Robertson and with 23 saves he has been creditable. The Yankees have bigger problems than him, for sure.
Middle reliever Dellin Betances, 4-0, 1.46 ERA, whom no one has heard of outside of New York, made the All-Star team. They had to take somebody.
Right now the Yankees are a .500 team and that seems to be exactly what they deserve to be.