More than an hour after Gleyber Torres’ fly ball floated into Fenway Park’s right-field expanse, representing the tip of the Yankees’ 2021 season, Brett Gardner was nonetheless carrying his assigned road-gray uniform with “NEW YORK” stitched throughout the entrance — every bit of substances, sans the cleats.
The solely remaining hyperlink to the franchise’s most up-to-date World Series championship, Gardner by no means may have guessed that he’d possess simply the one ring a dozen years later. Now 38, Gardner’s last massive league at-bat could have already got occurred — and, if that’s the case, he felt no urgency to interact what waited outdoors the clubhouse partitions.
“I’m not going to put on it house and sleep in it tonight,” Gardner mentioned. “I simply haven’t gotten round to it but. You don’t know what number of possibilities we’ll get to place the uniform on once more, and go on the market and do what we do. It simply feels good to nonetheless have it on.”
As Gardner rested inside one more pin-drop quiet October clubhouse, much like those previous it — Houston (2017), Yankee Stadium (’18), Houston once more (’19) and San Diego by the use of the Rays (’20) — he expressed hope of reporting to a sunny Spring Training and taking the sector as soon as once more together with his teammates.
Gardner has a $2.3 million participant choice, which the workforce should purchase out in the event that they determine to shuffle the roster — and contemplating supervisor Aaron Boone’s remarks after Tuesday’s recreation, during which he mentioned that “the league has closed the hole on us,” the workforce could already be leaning towards sweeping modifications.
“Looking again to ’18 and ’19, I felt like we have been one of many groups — actually razor skinny between us profitable the world championship and the Red Sox and the Astros,” Boone mentioned. “It’s not simply the Rays and Astros and Red Sox anymore. It’s the Blue Jays, the Central groups are coming, the Mariners and Angels. These groups are on floor with us, and we have to carry on getting slightly bit higher.”z
Nothing needs to be off the desk because the Yankees enter the offseason, together with partaking prime free brokers or making aggressive trades. Their monetary assets are a weapon that a few of their competitors (the Rays, for instance) can’t match, and there needs to be no disgrace in utilizing that as a blunt object within the hyper-competitive American League East.
The Yankees should intently study every facet of how they do enterprise, together with the analytics division, the place their competitors appears to be reaching extra with much less. New York’s lineup building was suspect early within the season, requiring strikes to import left-handed bats in Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo, however the Bombers have been nonetheless too one-dimensional.
A fluky 55-34 report in video games decided by two runs or fewer, and MVP-caliber performances from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, obscured their offensive underperformance: The Yanks scored solely 711 runs and owned a +46 run differential, far under the division-winning Rays (+206), White Sox (+160) and Astros (+205). There was a number of swing-and-miss within the Yankees’ lineup, but Tampa Bay struck out extra, walked much less and hit the identical variety of house runs (222) as New York, whereas scoring 146 extra runs.
“Overall, it was robust for us to actually be the offensive juggernaut we’ve come to count on,” Boone mentioned. “I’m unsure why we didn’t understand our potential there.”
Who’s the boss?
Technically now a free agent, Boone mentioned that he “can maintain my head excessive” as he heads towards managerial limbo. Over 4 years on the helm, Boone has steered the Yankees to a .601 profitable share (328-218) within the common season, however his golf equipment have superior no additional than the AL Championship Series.
Within the group, the urge for food for change is much less rabid than, say, on social media. Managing normal companion Hal Steinbrenner and normal supervisor Brian Cashman supplied votes of confidence through the season, reiterating that they thought-about Boone to be the suitable individual for the job, lauding his communication model and reference to gamers.
Changes to the teaching workers appear extra probably than a managerial change. It was notable that Judge spoke strongly in favor of Boone after Tuesday’s recreation; Judge’s phrases carry weight with the Yanks’ gamers and brass.
“He’s only a particular individual, a particular coach,” Judge mentioned of Boone, “and I’m hoping for extra sooner or later.”
What different strikes may very well be coming?
Even had the Yankees superior previous Boston, they might have had their palms full with the Rays, largely pinning their hopes upon Judge, Stanton and Gerrit Cole. They should construct a greater supporting solid round Judge and Stanton, ideally with much less swing-and-miss and higher athleticism.
Gary Sánchez was on the bench for one more winner-take-all recreation and will have caught his final recreation in pinstripes. Rizzo is a free agent, Luke Voit’s future is in query, the membership has deserted any considered Torres as their shortstop of the longer term (Corey Seager or Trevor Story, anybody?) and Gardner could be elsewhere, leaving a rehabbing Aaron Hicks because the most probably choice in heart area.
That’s so much, and we haven’t even addressed the pitching. His underwhelming begin at Fenway however, Cole is the ace of a rotation that doesn’t maintain a candle to the final championship trio of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett. Of more moderen classic, they may have used somebody like Masahiro Tanaka, a stable No. 2 to fit behind Cole.
Maybe Luis Severino may be that man; Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon have been stable mid-rotation starters. Corey Kluber tossed a no-hitter in May, however it’s unimaginable to say what he would have given the Yanks throughout a deep playoff run. One space the place the Yankees would possibly loosen up: their bullpen was a power, particularly after Cashman’s transfer to accumulate the unheralded Clay Holmes in July.
“There’s a number of unsure, uncharted waters with this workforce heading into the offseason,” Gardner mentioned. “Even sitting right here proper now, I really like that teaching workers. I really like that group of gamers in that room, and I nonetheless imagine in them, although the season is over. So we’ll see what the offseason holds. Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to run it again.”