The Yankees’ season is over: some thoughts

The New York Yankees’ 2018 season has come and gone. That really sucks. No other way to put it, really. At least I have the Giants? The Knicks? I like LeBron, at least I have that? Yeah, no, it’s going to be a long winter. None of my other teams are particularly close to a real shot at winning anything. That suuuuuuuucks.

I have a lot of thoughts on what’s happened here. Some of them will become their own, in-depth posts as the offseason gets going. Let’s just get right into it:

I don’t like to play the “Fire (insert coach here)” game. I think people are too quick to blame coaches in every league for their team’s deficiencies, but it’s especially true in the case of baseball managers. I think that Boone did a mostly fine job for most of the year and gets more hate than he deserves.

*Stephen A. Smith Voice* HOWEVA

Boone has made some awful decisions throughout this season. I think a lot of those decisions may have been coming from Cashman and Co., but the point is that whoever’s in charge really needs to have a change in philosophy because it clearly didn’t work and was frustrating to watch all season.

The completely laid back spring training and the punt games need to be a thing of the past. Every game counts and they can’t be just throwing the game away and let Luis Cessa spin a few frames just because they go down 3-0 in the early going. That dude sucks.

I’m not saying the guys should be tense all the time, but going to the complete opposite of Joe Girardi at manager may have been an overcorrection to something that was only debatably an issue. I don’t necessarily think that a change at the helm was the worst idea ever, but I was a huge Joe Girardi guy and I can’t shake the feeling that if he were still in charge, then we’d still be playing baseball and we very well might have had home field advantage throughout the postseason.

I’m not saying Boone was completely useless. As I said, I think he gets more hate than he's deserved. He managed the Wild Card game beautifully, aside from the choice to have Severino start the fifth inning. His management of moving on from the starting pitcher and going to the bullpen was consistently his biggest mistake as manager this year. For the most part, I think his bullpen decisions (ignoring the AJ Cole fetish in the regular season) were fine. Particularly in the playoffs, actually. His biggest mistake in regard to bullpen choice was probably going to Lance Lynn before Chad Green in Game 3.

The Andujar decision is a weird one. I am not against the plan they had to not start him with CC Sabathia, a ground ball machine, in Game 4. They had started Neil Walker there in 5 of his last 6 starts and they started Not Miguel Andujar and third a lot throughout the season when CC was on the hill. Miggy isn’t trustworthy at third. Maybe he gets there in a year or two. That’d be pretty neat! We’ll see.

Not getting Andujar an at-bat at all in this game was the real head-scratcher. I thought they’d sub him in for Neil Walker once CC was out and that lineup spot came around again. I think they abandoned that when Neil had the only hit for a while. I wasn’t entirely against leaving Neil in, but they had to get Andujar at least one at-bat. He was the most consistent contact hitter all season. I think pinch hitting him for Gardner instead of McCutchen in the eighth would have been the right call since they didn’t sub him in for Walker earlier. Andujar has a really good chance to be the Rookie of the Year, and he didn’t touch grass in the game that the Yankees were eliminated.

Ultimately, we can’t blame this all on Boone/the front office if they put the right lineup out there and then the lineup did nothing for two straight games at home. They did next to nothing with the bats in Games 3 and 4 until the ninth inning in Game 4. It suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked to watch.

On the season as a whole, it feels like nobody on the team really over-performed this year besides Miguel Andujar (with the bat), Aaron Hicks, and the second version of Luke Voit. That kind of goes for the pitching staff, too. The Red Sox, conversely, had at least two guys (Betts, Martinez) have the best seasons they will ever have. I know I'm often overly optimistic, but maybe that’s reassuring for the future?

Andujar was impressive with the bat, but his defense was so bad that it almost counteracts any over-performing he did with the stick.

Hicks had an awesome year and he didn’t have too many injuries, so that was cool. He was still a fairly frustrating watch, though, because his ideal at-bat contains exactly zero swings.

Luke Voit 2.0 was awesome. I hope that guy is here to stay if that actually is the real Luke Voit.

Aaron Judge missed two months. He was a top-5 player in baseball when he played, but he missed two (2) months and looked like it until he got to the postseason.

Giancarlo Stanton had a good, not great, first year in pinstripes that included basically two separate months of nothing at the plate and then he underwhelmed in most big spots in the playoffs. He’s going to get more hate for his postseason performance from other people, so I’ll lay off for now, but he seemed to be the guy that the other teams wanted to face!

Didi Gregorius battled injuries down the stretch of the season and had a season about on par of what we expected from him, looking at his numbers on the whole. He also had a month where he forgot how to hit a baseball.

Gleyber Torres had a good year overall and showed everyone why he was a top prospect. I need to see another year of him in the field at second base and I’d like for him to be less streaky moving forward. A full year in 2019 will be telling.

Greg Bird had maybe the worst season I’ve ever seen someone have. I love Bird, but I think the injuries have caught up with him and it looks like the dude can’t hit fastballs anymore.

Gary Sanchez had a horrible year. He got hit with the groin injuries and literally never got into a groove in the regular season besides the month of May (.856 OPS). Next year is a big year for him.

Brett Gardner proved that he’s no longer an MLB starter. If he wants to be back, it’s going to be as the fourth outfielder.

Even Austin Romine, who had a good year, faded down the stretch again. His non-power numbers ended up right about where we expected.

The bullpen guys performed about as expected and everyone in the rotation had big red flags. Severino couldn’t pitch down the stretch. Tanaka had a bad start to the year and did not fix the home run problem.

There are a lot of questions heading into the offseason. Each of these topics will get their own posts, but it’s time for us to start wondering about all of these:

  • Are they keeping Brett Gardner or Andrew McCutchen?
  • They’re probably only going to keep one of D-Rob and Britton. Which one are they re-signing?
  • What the hell is the rotation going to look like? Will CC be back?
  • The Machado/Harper offseason is finally here. What’s happening there?
  • Are we trusting the Luke Voit/Greg Bird tandem at first base for next year?

There’s going to be so many more topics to look into as the offseason begins to unfold. We’re going to try to hit on everything over here on Talkin’ Yanks.

Overall, I mostly feel a persistent sadness about the end of baseball season. I love the NBA season, of course, but the Yankees are my favorite thing. This was my first year full-on covering the team, between my internship this summer and joining Talkin’ Yanks in August. I’m going to miss having baseball to watch every night.

 

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