Yankees need players to step up after roster updates
Postseason losses for fans of a franchise like the New York Yankees cause a lot of discomfort. And the Yankees’ loss in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros it was no different. It was time for the Streaks to get revenge on one of their biggest rivals and reach their first World Series since 2009, but instead, the Astros won the series in emphatic fashion. The loss sent all fans reeling and directing their anger toward management, be it general manager Brian Cashman or majority owner Hal Steinbrenner.
Criticism of both was deserved. The World Series drought for a team with that kind of championship pedigree has been too long. However, throughout the current offseason, it’s hard to argue that they haven’t done everything they can to improve the team in critical positions.
First, they re-signed one of the underrated but important pieces in Anthony Rizzo. Retaining his left-handed bat was paramount to the lineup’s hitter diversity, and his 133 wRC+ and 2.4 fWAR would have been sorely missed if they hadn’t been able to bring him back into the fold. Then they signed Tommy Kahnle for two years to bolster the bullpen, which last season pitched to a 2.84 ERA and 3.14 xFIP in just 12.2 innings due to injury.
And of course, the biggest signing was superstar outfielder Aaron Judge in a massive nine-year, $360 million deal. Needless to say, this was the biggest part of the offseason and it took Steinbrenner everything to bring him back, but it worked to the relief of every Yankee fan in the world. Getting back the guy who hit 62 home runs and broke the American League home run record was first on their to-do list, and management was able to check that box.
Finally, the Yankees made a big addition to their starting rotation with Carlos Rodón. The left-handed pitcher had an incredible year with the San Francisco Giants, and in 178.0 innings pitched he posted a 2.88 ERA, 2.91 xFIP and 6.2 fWAR with a league-leading 11.98 K/9. He’ll be the number two pitcher behind ace Gerrit Cole, and he’ll make a rotation that was one of the best in the league even better last year.
There’s still plenty of time for the Yankees to make another move, though at this point it doesn’t seem like the best thing to do is to lose valuable prospects for a left fielder. Steinbrenner made it clear that he wants Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza on the field through 2023, and given the Pittsburgh Pirates asking price for Bryan Reynolds, that wouldn’t make much sense.
Regardless of whether the Yankees make another move or not, the management team along with Steinbrenner have done a lot to retain their big names while bringing in one of the best pitchers on the free agent market and bolstering their bullpen.
At this point, it is the responsibility of the players to meet the established standard. In the postseason against the Astros, the bats disappeared outside of a handful of players who got an occasional hit, who isn’t in the management team. If they want to win a World Series, guys who get paid tons of money have to show up when it matters most. Whether or not the team is better on paper than their main competitors is a moot point: they’re close enough in talent, but that talent has to come through in the end.
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