|Mandatory Credit: CBS Sports|
I'm not the type of fan or blogger, that demands a World Series title. I'm not the guy that says it's World Series or the season has been a dismal failure. There are 29 other teams, more than half of whom are capable of winning a world championship. It's the spoiled, ignorant fans of the most recent dynasty that have that mindset. Earlier this summer, I stated that I believed that the Yankees would win the AL East "going away." That wasn't arrogance or a feeling of superiority as a Yankee fan. I looked at the records of both New York and Toronto, looked at their home records, their remaining schedules, and how they had performed up to that point. I was obviously wrong in my statements. It happens, nobody is perfect, including me.
What was more pathetic was the idea that fans of this team actually thought the Yankees had a chance last night. They literally stopped playing solid baseball on August 1st. They dumped a division lead, and if it weren't for the Diamondbacks, they would've choked away their one home playoff game as well. This team was flawed from day one. Second base was an issue all season. Right field was an issue most of the season. Injuries and ineffectiveness were issues all season. The mismanagement of this team by Binder Boy has been an issue since 2008.
I picked this team to win 74 games and miss the playoffs. I was wrong. A postseason berth was good enough for me. I had no delusions of anything beyond a one and done. I'm satisfied with the season. Am I happy? Of course not, but I'm satisfied, and there is a difference. It was nice to see bounce back seasons from McCann and Tex before he was injured for the year. I also said A-Rod would go .270/20/70. Two out of three ain't bad is it? The emergence of Luis Severino and Greg Bird show glimpses into the future of what a solid farm system can produce if allowed to be nurtured.
I won't blame Stephen Drew. He provided power at the bottom of the lineup and very solid defense in his first full season at second base. Does that mean I'd re-sign him? Not on your life. There were too many dead spots on this roster to think the Yankees would make a deep run into October. After struggling, Didi Gregorius was one of the best shortstops in the American League by the time the regular season ended. Attitude or not, I like what I see from Rob Refsnyder. He's got pop in his bat, and he should be starting at second come spring training...if Cashman and Girardi just leave him alone to play.
As much as I enjoy watching a fellow Oregonian in Jacoby Ellsbury don the pinstripes, it's time for him to go. He and Tex both are like porcelain China dolls. The slightest sprain or strain, and their games are in the toilet. That signing was a HUGE mistake. Whatever the Yankees have to do, they have to shed some payroll, and improve their lineup. Unfortunately heading into 2016, there is simply too much bad money on the books to think much will change. I do love the future of the rotation. With Severino, Pineda, Tanaka, and Eovaldi as the front four, that is a scary thought if, and it's a big if, they can all make 30-35 starts a piece. The bad news is, Ivan Nova and C.C. Sabathia are still on this team, and they aren't going anywhere.
What about the guys coming off the roster? Are you really going to shed any tears for the departures of Drew, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young, or Chris Capuano? Only Ryan has a club/player option attached, and personally, if Drew were willing to become the utility guy, it's a no-brainer that with his power and glove, he stays and Ryan hits the bricks.
Should the Yankees try and make a splash in free agency? For who? The rotation is set unless Cashman decides he's had enough of guys like Pineda and Nova, and tries to package them for an upgrade somewhere else. Beltran is stuck in right for another year, but with Young departing, it might be time to consider Aaron Judge (who I personally think needs more seasoning at Triple-A) as Beltran's platoon partner, while easing him into big league action. While I really like John Ryan Murphy as McCann's backup, it's time for Gary Sanchez to be on the big league roster. Murphy hit well, but doesn't have nearly the potential that Sanchez does as an impact bat. Deal Murphy for more bullpen help, bench help, or farm depth, just as they did with Francisco Cervelli.
I also hate to say this now, but if the Yankees wanted to get cheaper and younger, now is probably the best time to consider dealing Brett Gardner. For God's sake, the man thinks he's a home run hitter now, and hit a whopping .206 after the All-Star break. Slade Heathcott might be that younger, cheaper option. Who knows what the Yankees could fetch in return for Gardy.
Obviously with both Tex and A-Rod on the roster next season, they would be a straight platoon at DH. Greg Bird would be my starting first baseman from this day forward. He's still learning with the leather, but he's proven he can hit at the big league level. After 2016, a ton of money comes off the books with Sabathia, Tex, and Beltran all being eligible for free agency. By that time, Sanchez could take over full time behind the plate, and McCann could become the DH partner with A-Rod for 2017, and also work in with Bird at first occasionally. In terms of arms, if Ian Clarkin can return healthy, and James Kaprielian continues to develop, the final piece of a powerful rotation could be in the not so distant future. 2016 future? Not quite, but maybe by early-to-mid 2017, one of these young arms would be ready for a Severino-like ascendancy to the Bronx.
What to do what to do with Joe Girardi? Personally, I think he should've managed his last game for the Yankees on Tuesday night. He's been over matched so many times throughout his tenure, living and dying by that stupid black binder of his, with no instinctual feel for the game whatsoever. If the Yankees wanted to stay in-house, why not give longtime utility man and current Yankees minor league skipper Luis Sojo a shot? Could he do much worse than Girardi? I'm about fire and intensity, and I believe Tino Martinez is the right guy to be the hitting coach as well. It's time for new blood. It's time for guys that did nothing but win in the Bronx, to start making an impact as managers and coaches. The uptight, deer in the headlights look on the manager and coaches' faces need to go away.
I am proud of this 2015 Yankees team for making it to the postseason. What I'm not proud of, is how this team looked listless for the last two months of the season, and didn't really seem to care about playing when it mattered the most. You can't expect a title every time out. What you should demand, is a full out effort. When that fails to be the case starting with the manager in the dugout, and rolling right on down the roster sans a handful of guys, it's time to make sweeping changes, and it can start as early as today.