Well, that all ended much too quickly. The ALDS against the Red Sox was a disappointment. The Sox outplayed the Yankees in every way. The Yankees now have a winter to look back and make the necessary changes as they prepare for next year.
The 2018 Yankees are baseball’s all-time leader in home runs for a team, but, like the other top teams on that list, while they hit the most homers, they didn’t do one most important thing - win the World Series. Here are the top ten teams in home runs in a season. The main thing they have in common is the lack of a title. Home runs are great, but alone they don’t mean the team will win.
The Yankees’ main objective this year was to stay under the luxury tax - which they did. Now that they accomplished their objective, it’s time for them to flex their financial muscle and spend, spend, spend. It is time to bring a winner to the Bronx.
The Yankees also have to know that no matter how much they spend, when they do win their next World Series, critics will say “they bought the championship” whether it’s true or not. How about they just win one soon? I’m ok with them buying a title. Isn’t that what every team is trying to do anyway?
Great Yankees teams are built around left-handed hitting. It is clear that the Yankees need to better balance out their line-up. It just so happens that a great lefty bat will be available - Bryce Harper. He should be priority #1.
Starting pitching has to be priority #2.
I would not be surprised if we don’t see Brett Gardner, C.C. Sabathia, or David Robertson in the Bronx in 2019. I will miss all three.
Last night, Aaron Boone stuck with C.C. Sabathia too long. It wasn’t as bad as Monday night, but the decision making was the same. The manager didn’t do what was necessary in the big games. I hope Aaron Boone learned from this, but having a slow trigger and a lack of urgency was a trait we saw from him all season long.
I think we’ll see (starting with the quotes below) many discussions regarding Aaron Boone and his skills as a manager. I know the argument, “The Yankees won 100 games, he must be a great manager.” That’s difficult (and pretty much impossible) to argue against. But there are some real questions around Boone’s abilities as a leader. Could the Yankees have been better in 2018? Is Boone the right man for the 2019 team? What if a great manager is available? We’ll examine all of this in detail throughout the winter.
My son Ethan made a great point the other day. He noted that while 100 wins in a season is impressive, in the 2018 American League, it wasn’t as impressive as it might seem. Someone had to win the games and in 2018, there was a large collection of bad teams. Three AL teams lost 100 or more games and two others lost 95 or more games.
I still believe in Giancarlo Stanton, but something is wrong with his ability to pick-up pitches out of the pitcher’s hand. For the entire year, pitchers have been able to get him out with bad pitches out of the strike zone down and away. He swings at them and doesn’t even come close to making contact. He also “flinches” a lot as the ball comes to the plate. Again, it seems that he cannot read some pitches coming out of the pitcher’s hand. This is something the Yankees need to figure out.
In the immediate aftermath of the game, River Ave Blues made some of the same points I have been making all season long:
“Given the hype, it’s hard for me to consider this 100-win season anything but a disappointment.”
“The Yankees were more talented than last season but not nearly as fun.”
“The Yankees cut payroll by $50M and reset their luxury tax rate. and that was ownership’s priority all along.”
“What happened in Game Three was a stunning display of managerial negligence. Then it happened again in Game Four. That was an inexperienced manager in over his head and unable to adapt to the things happening on the field.”
“I don’t know how any of the higher-ups could’ve watched the two managers in this series and been okay with it.”
The long off season begins today. I miss the Yankees already.
If nothing else, it will be an interesting winter. We will be here all winter long to report on it all and give our thoughts, perspectives, and commentary.
Thanks for spending the 2018 season with us. It was a great great great thrill to share the season with you.