We’ve all thought it, we’ve all said it. What a first half!!
We’re never satisfied as Yankees fans. There is always something they need to improve on. There is always at least one Yankee that the fans despise. There is always someone within the organization that needs to go.
Yet other than Jonathan Holder, we really don’t have much to complain about this first half of this season. The Yankees lineup has been incredible despite never being at full strength. The bullpen has been the backbone of the team, being just as good as we knew they could be. All things considering, the starting pitching has actually been pretty good, sure there have been some bad starts but even J.A. Happ has been pitching better as of late. The fielding? Wow, we haven’t seen anything like this in at least 20 years. Voit has been as good as we could hope while LeMachine, Torres, Urshela, and Sir Didi are superb. That’s right, “superb”.
But the past is the past and the Yankees need to close out the season strong then come in even stronger for the postseason. I absolutely, 100% am not guaranteeing anything when I make this next statement, but in all reality, the way this season has played out so far, it’s World Series champions or bust from here on out.
With that in mind, I thought it would be fun for us all to take a look on what needs to happen in the second half of the season.
Starting pitching is obviously something Brian Cashman is going to have to address. We all know it, we all know it’s inevitable. We don’t know who the Yankees are going to acquire or what it will take to get that pitcher.
Landing Madison Bumgarner would probably be a game changer for the postseason. I doubt he adds much to the regular season but we do know he can handle the pressure of the postseason. That is something that is going to be invaluable with a World Series or bust mentality. He’s left-handed so the dimensions of Yankee Stadium shouldn’t require as much of an adjustment period as we see when the Yankees acquire a right hander at the deadline. For what it’s worth, he’s also a good hitter for a pitcher and would be the best starting option going into a National League stadium World Series game.
I would like Marcus Stroman but not as the big prize of the trade deadline, more as a 3rd or 4th starter. They need a proven postseason pitcher at the top of the rotation, which Stroman isn’t. Trevor Bauer is interesting. Considering his intense personality, he would either thrive in NY or completely implode, there would not be a middle ground with that guy.
Yankees are not getting Max Scherzer, that ain’t happening. Washington is currently in 1st place in the Wild Card with a 90+ year old owner who wants to win so getting Scherzer just isn’t realistic. The Mets won’t be making any deals with the Yankees, because the Wilpons are absolute morons. Don’t waste your time envisioning Noah Syndergaard or Zach Wheeler to the Yankees ever happening.
I hate to say this, but I don’t think we’re seeing Luis Severino this season, at least not as a starter. He’s still shut down for weeks to come, even if he does start throwing again, how long does it take him to build his strength back up? At best, maybe he comes out of the bullpen in September as a 1 inning guy, possibly carrying that over to the postseason if he is successful in that role, but even that scenario might be wishful thinking.
We have an idea of who we want to see moving to the Bronx, we know we have the trade chips to make it work. Who gets traded?
The quick, easy, and obvious answer is Clint Frazier. I love Clint Frazier. This guy has postseason hero written all over him. Fearless in the clutch, you can see it in his body language, there is no doubt in his mind that he is going to succeed. I would absolutely hate to see this kid getting traded.
Being a pragmatist, I realize it is probably going to happen. He has proven that he is major league ready, he has proven he can produce in the big spot. He has had defense lapses but those are all fixable. (If you have 10 mins, watch this once you’re done reading here – https://www.mlb.com/video/byrnes-on-outfield-difficulties). He’s a tremendous talent and you have to give up something big to make the deal you want happen. The good news is that he is proven, he is ready, he is under control so they might not have to give up much else if they move Frazier for a big time pitcher.
Miguel Andujar hasn’t come up in rumors but you have to think he is on the table. LeMachine is locked up for next season and could potentially be around for much longer. Gio Urshela has still been producing even in his decreased role. Does this make Andujar expendable? I have to think so, he’s another proven major league talent that has amazing upside with years of control. Just like Frazier, I love Andujar, he’s another clutch performer who can handle the bright lights of Yankee Stadium but that infield sure looks crowded for the foreseeable future.
I think Thairo Estrada is an intriguing trade chip. He showed he can contribute during his short stint in the big leagues earlier in the season. He’s got a good glove and showed he can hit for contact when he was playing every day. His days in New York might be numbered.
We’ve all head of the untouchable Esteven Florial. I don’t believe he is untouchable anymore. The longer you hear about a player without actually seeing him play, it’s a bad sign. Besides, I don’t think you see Hicks get a 7 year deal this past offseason if Cashman was 100% sold on Florial.
Other than needing a starting pitcher, I am really confident in the rest of this team. Luke Voit has proven that last year wasn’t a fluke. I feel like a kid again watching Gleyber Torres play. He’s 22 but his approach at the plate is already on a veteran level. Both Aaron Judge and Sir Didi looked like they were starting to get into a good groove the week leading up to the all star break, they both might be ready for a real breakout starting the second half.
DJ LeMahieu is the first half MVP of the team and possibly the league. He’s hitting .462 with Runners In Scoring Position and some of his other splits are off the charts. Did you know he is 9 for 11 with the bases loaded? That’s an .818 average. Amazing.
Can you believe there were people out there that actually thought the 2018 Gary Sanchez was the real Gary Sanchez? (**Cough** Luke **Cough** city of Boston) Can you believe that?!?! We’re not only talking his bat either, look at how well he has improved behind the plate.
The bullpen has been everything we hoped. I do think that we see Betances down the stretch. A fresh and healthy Betances would be a great addition to this bullpen going into the postseason. I have to give credit to the bench as well. Estrada, Mike Tauchmann, Cameron Maybin, and Austin Romine have all played their roles and contributed when it was needed.
Let’s get the second half of the season started!!