After keeping Aaron Judge, owner Hal Steinbrenner promised him that there was enough money to make more moves.
But the Yanks only made one move after that—signing Carlos Rodon, who hasn’t pitched at all yet for the Yanks this year. More on that later.
One move the Yanks didn’t make, and it is costing them now, is that they didn’t address left field. They wanted to retain Andrew Benintendi but lost him in free agency to the White Sox (the White Sox have a terrible record right now at 10-22 before last night, and although Benintendi is hitting .275, it is without any power. His OPS+ is just 83, 100 being average).
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yanks do something to address LF. There has been misplaced trust that Aaron Hicks should have a bounce back season. Hicks before last night’s game was hitting .146 with no extra base hits and is below a converted infielder (IKF) on the totem pole. IKF is a converted infielder hitting .196 with no extra base hits before last night’s game. Oswaldo Cabrera has not built on the success he had in his MLB beginnings last year. He is struggling at .196. Franchy Cordero had a hot week but has been sent back to the minors after hitting just .151. Willie Calhoun has been DH-ing because his defense is subpar. The Yanks’ LF production may be the worst in the majors at that position this year.
With the struggles of those players, and injuries, the Yanks have brought up Jake Bauers. The journeyman OF hit a HR the other day, but in just his third game with the Yanks, he misplayed a fly ball last night into a run-scoring double, and that proved to be the deciding run in a 5-4 Yanks loss last night. The loss to Tampa Bay dropped the 17-16 Yanks ten games behind those first-place Rays in the AL East.
So yes, injuries have hurt, but LF is a place where no one has gotten injured. The Yanks just haven’t received any production there and I would expect and hope that something is done to fix that soon.
Speaking of Rodon, the lefty pitcher will have a cortisone shot in his back next week. His condition is chronic. Sigh. He was just signed to a 6-year deal for $162MM. When right, he is lights out, but now you wonder if he can manage that back issue or if he turns out to be another Pavano.
I wanted and applauded the Rodon signing. Of course, I, and probably the Yanks, not to mention Rodon, didn’t know there was going to be a chronic back issue to come with it.
Last night’s game started poorly. Starter Jhony Brito gave up a HR to Randy Arozarena in the bottom of the first. Arozarena was HBP twice later in the game, causing Arozarena and the Rays to become infuriated and causing Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash to be ejected.
Tampa Bay, who are 18-2 at home this season, scored in the bottom of the second to make it 2-0. Yandy Diaz touched Brito for a HR in the bottom of the third, and the Rays tacked on another run after that. 4-0 Rays after three.
The Yanks tied it up in the top of the sixth. With one out, Anthony Rizzo singled. Gleyber Torres doubled home Rizzo. D.J. LeMahieu walked and after Willie Calhoun struck out, Harrison Bader hit his first regular-season HR as a Yankee (he had five in last year’s postseason) to tie the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, with one out and a man on first, Wander Franco hit a fly ball to left. Stats said there was a 95% chance of it being caught for an out. Instead, Bauers misplayed the ball into a double. The Yanks almost got the runner at home. He was originally called out, but the play was overturned upon review. The run turned out to be the deciding run.
In the postgame show, Jack Curry on YES mentioned what I believe. That instead of Jimmy Cordero pitching in that seventh inning, that it should have been Michael King. Manager Aaron Boone needs to realize that too, that King is his best reliever right now and to use him as such. Forget roles. You go by what you see and adjust to that.
Yes, injuries have hurt. But the Yanks have to make adjustments. In the bullpen, with King taking on the go-to role, and also in LF, where the Yanks’ LF production so far this season has been weak.
GM Brian Cashman said they tried to make more moves in the off-season but no move made sense. We will see if one makes sense soon. Someone in LF needs to step up or a move has to happen.
And with Rodon’s back being chronic, and with no pitching depth in the minors, a move for a starting pitcher may have to happen as well.
Volpe 2 hits, SB (11).
LeMahieu 2 for 2 with 2 walks.
Bader 3 RBI. 3-run HR (1).
Brito 4 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 1 W, 2 K. 1 HBP. 2 HR given up. 6.08
Abreu 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1 HBP 4.60
Hamilton 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.50
J. Cordero (L, 1-1) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.09
King 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K 1.42
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