Thoughts after the deadline and sweep in Miami

Embed from Getty Images

What a fun past few days for the Yankees. The acquisitions of Joey Gallo, Anthony Rizzo, and Andrew Heaney have imparted life into the 2021 Yankees, who swept the Marlins in Miami over the weekend. Watching this year’s club had been a drag before the trade deadline, but now, things are looking up.

It was really refreshing to see the Yankees go for it at the deadline even with not-so-great playoff odds at the time. It was especially satisfying to see the front office address the lack of left-handed bats. We’ve been clamoring for that for a while! And to see it pay off immediately thanks to Rizzo’s big weekend was fun. Lefty power, what a concept. It’s almost like the Yankees have a history of big left-handed boppers.

The hole the Yankees have dug themselves still leaves the team with plenty work to do, but it’s hard not to feel much better after this past weekend. I have thoughts on the playoff hunt and more after the page break:

Even with injuries, the Yankees rotation has been fantastic. Domingo Germán joined Corey Kluber and Luis Severino on the injured list, and yet, I’m really not too concerned about the team’s starting rotation. Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, and Jameson Taillon have been very good. Nestor Cortes has been a godsend out of nowhere. And Andrew Heaney, even with the five-plus ERA, has a few underlying things going for him.

Having Cole goes a long way, but would you believe me if I told you that the Yankees’ starters rank first in FIP- and sixth in ERA- in all of MLB? Yup, it’s true.

Even though Cole had a dud at the Trop last week, I think he’s done more than enough to prove that he’s still an ace following the sticky stuff crackdown. Taillon has turned his season around and has been marvelous down the stretch (2.28 ERA in his last eight starts). Montgomery has been incredibly consistent and owns a 3.69 ERA on the year. Those three have carried the rotation, even as much of the rest of the roster sputtered, over the last couple of months.

Meanwhile, the cavalry is coming. Brian Cashman noted that Kluber and Severino could be back before the end of August. It’s not quite clear when Germán will return, but he could help too.

Point is: you can really dream about this rotation. Pitchers get hurt a lot, but there’s a nonzero chance that the Yankees enter October with Cole-Kluber-Severino-Montgomery as the front four. That could be a scary sight for opponents as long as the Yankees can make it to the dance.

The division could still be in play after all. Call me overly optimistic, but perhaps winning the East isn’t totally out of the question just yet. I thought the Yankees were toast after dropping three of four in Boston, but now I’m dreaming again. The trade deadline, the sweep of Miami, and the upcoming light schedule has me invested once more.

Seven games in two months is a steep climb, no doubt, but what fun is it to act like it’s out of the realm of possibilities?

All those Boston/Tampa Bay head-to-head games will give the Yankees a great chance to gain on either one of the two teams they’re looking up at. Plus, with six games remaining against the Sox, the Yankees could take care of business themselves to at least get into second place. Alas, I wish there were more games against the Rays. Those three could be pivotal (literally the last series of the regular season).

At the very least, I fully except the Yankees to leapfrog Boston, which could mean that they could get the top Wild Card seed and thus play host in the Wild Card game. That’d be big.

My one complaint about the Yankees deadline. I really expected the Yankees to acquire a shortstop by July 30th. Not someone to replace Gleyber Torres in the lineup, but rather, someone who could have served as a defensive replacement and upgrade over Tyler Wade off the bench.

Freddy Galvis, who the Orioles dealt to the Phillies, would have been a nice fit. What about José Iglesias? The Angels already dealt Andrew Heaney to the Yanks, so why not him too? Andrelton Simmons was another player the Yankees had been connected to. None of these guys would have cost an arm or a leg, even if the Yankees asked the trading teams to eat the rest of the money.

At least the Yankees upgraded its infield defense with Rizzo. We saw him make a few nifty plays at first base this past weekend, including some scoops. His play certainly will help out Torres at short. It just would have been nice to have someone with a plus-glove come in at the spot in the late innings.

Getting bullpen help from within. I tweeted about this over the weekend, but I’d like to expand upon it here. I’d like to see the Yanks try at least one of Deivi García, Clarke Schmidt, Luis Gil, and/or Luis Medina in relief, and soon. They’re all on the 40-man roster with varying degrees of electric stuff. And considering the lack of minor league season in 2020, I doubt the organization wants to put too many innings on those arms (aside from Schmidt, who’s just getting into games now). So, a transition to the ‘pen for the rest of 2021 before going back into the rotation next season makes a lot of sense to me.

Had the Yankees brought in another arm at the deadline (Daniel Hudson, perhaps?), maybe I’d feel differently. I don’t love the idea of messing with a prospect’s pitching role during development, but the Yankees are also in win-now mode. The more big league help, the better.

Regardless of how the team moves forward with those young arms, the back-end of the Yankees’ bullpen still looks great, especially if Zack Britton can find a semblance of his old self. Aroldis Chapman has rounded back into form, Jonathan Loaisiga is terrific, and aside from a few clunkers, Chad Green has been excellent. That’s a great foursome. All I’m saying is that another arm wouldn’t hurt.

Luke Voit’s future. There were plenty of Voit-related rumors around the deadline, but he stayed put once the dust settled. It must be a weird feeling for him to watch Anthony Rizzo come in and take his job while his name is bandied about, only to remain with the Yankees. It’s also probably tough to swallow considering how great Voit’s been in New York (when on the field). Since the Yankees picked up Voit in 2018, the first baseman has hit .274/.367/.522 (138 wRC+) with 60 homers in 1,014 plate appearances.

Frankly though, Rizzo is a better fit on this roster than Voit. Rizzo’s another lefty bat and a far superior defender at first. That doesn’t mean Voit can’t be useful going forward, though. The DH position can be Luke’s for the taking once he returns from the injured list, especially if Giancarlo Stanton gets more time in the outfield (as he should).

As for next year? Voit very well could be the team’s first baseman again. Rizzo is a free agent and Voit is arbitration eligible. The Yankees certainly could revisit trading Voit in the winter, especially if they re-sign Rizzo, but the nice thing is that keeping Voit provides a fallback option, and a great one at that.

It’s interesting, though, that Rizzo is only a year-and-a-half older than Voit. It doesn’t necessarily feel like that, but Voit was a late bloomer. Meanwhile, Rizzo has been far more durable than Voit, which could be appealing for the Yankees this winter. The Yankees certainly could use more durability going forward. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Rizzo back in pinstripes with Voit dealt over the winter.

There will be plenty of time to discuss Rizzo vs. Voit in the offseason, but for now, the Yankees could trot out an absurd lineup the rest of this season with both of them in it.

Advertisements

Previous

DoTF: Tampa sweeps double header with offensive barrage

Next

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: August 2 – August 4

5 Comments

  1. DZB

    Not playing a good team in Tampa is a positive in my opinion. Head to head is an opportunity, but I would far prefer playing Baltimore while watching Boston and Tampa beat up on each other. So I take their schedule overall as a positive since it pretty much means the number of times they play each opponent is in inverse to the current standings, which is great.

  2. dasit

    up until this weekend they were truly boring, so i’ll take 8 weeks of entertaining baseball even if they miss the playoffs. they were never going to sell, so the choice was buy or stand pat. obviously, i’m glad they bought. we should appreciate the present moment, because with the state of the world (and the CBA) there’s no guarantee that baseball will even be played next year

  3. HenryKrinkle

    I wouldn’t mess with Clarke Schmidt at this point. Getting him healthy and pitching every 5th day should be the only goal. Maybe he can make a spot start or two with the big team at the end, depending on the standings. But converting him into a reliever, where he’ll work more often, seems like a bad idea for a guy with chronic arm problems.

  4. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    It’s a good rotation, Bobby. Cole is the weakest link. I hope they didn’t boot our ace Nestor for Heaney. Tallion should win Comeback POY. German I think would be better suited in the pen and give us that multi inning reliever that can soak up some innings. I don’t know how much we can count on Sevy and Kluber. If we do get into the LDS a rotation of Cole, Monty, Tallion and Nestor should be god enough to win.

    The division has always been in play. The Sox pitching behind Eovaldi is not that good and they did nothing to address it at the deadline. They shoulda gotten Rizzo and instead let us get him. Then they traded for Schwarber, who is injured, creating their own Stanton DH problem. I just don’t think the Sox will stay afloat. And the Rays just lost Glasnow for the season. We should now be considered the favorites to win the division and meet the Dodgers in the World Series. We’ve dominated Houston this year, and shoulda won all 6 games and we swept the White Sox earlier without Rizzo and Gallo. So long as we take care of business vs the O’s, Mariners, Royals we’re going to make up a lot of ground these next couple weeks.

    Gleyber is not a major league SS and he doesn’t seem particularly smart. You saw it in the Miami series letting that pop up drop and tagging a guy with his glove without the ball in it. Sign Story in the offseason, re-sign Rizzo, put DJ at 2B and try to package Gleyber and Voit for a starter. Volpe can come up in the next couple years.

    Deivi would be a good reliever. As I said earlier, German can be a good multi inning reliever. I think we need to keep Loisaga and Green fresh for Sept/Oct. Green especially seems to fail miserably when he is overworked. Hopefully with the extra fire power in the lineup and weak schedule there are more blowout games. Chappy seems like he’s back to his old self. Maybe it was the fingernail.

    Voit needs to be traded this offseason and Rizzo re-signed to whatever deal he wants. Rizzo gives us a contact hitter with pop, an elite glove and he’s left handed. Voit is too much like Stanton, Judge and Gary and a liability defensively. I don’t mind keeping him around this year as insurance against a Stanton/Judge injury and he can probably DH if Stanton can actually play LF more often.

  5. At some point in time the ‘absurd’ lineup needs to start hitting and scoring runs on a regular basis-so far in 2021 that hasn’t been the case.

    I love the Rizzo acquisition and hope they sign him to a new deal at the end of the season; Gallo is clearly and ‘all or nothing’ hitter and he’s been really cold since the All Star break so is bound to heat up, as is Stanton. Torres is showing signs of waking up (I wish O’Neill would get in his ear because it would really help), Sanchez has cooled off as well, and Urshela, if gets back soon, will continue to produce at the bottom of the order. DJM is going to be seeing lots more good pitches to hit because the other team won’t want him to walk in front of (hopefully) Rizzo batting 2nd and Judge 3rd as well.

    If these guys put it together they will start scoring runs in bunches and with the good pitching and improved defense they just might go on a tear for the rest of the year, it’s something we will have to just wait and see.

    I would prefer a more balanced offense (subtract Gallo and add another Rizzo-type bat) but that ship has sailed for 2021 and they will live or die with what they’ve got on the roster.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén