I have really enjoyed this season. Well, I haven’t enjoyed the last month or so, but the Yankees have built a strong core that should be the foundation for a team that can be successful for many (many) years. This is not the time to mortgage the future. That being said, when a team has a chance to compete and battle for a division title, they must give it their best shot.
Here is my plan to stay competitive and also build for 2018 – and beyond!
1. Have someone explain to Joe Girardi (who I think is a good manager) that we are (way) past the era of relief pitchers needing defined roles. In the late innings, use your best pitchers in the critical spots. Stop using certain pitchers just because it is “their inning.”
2. That being said, unless he can find his ability to pitch well (and I don’t think he can) – never use Tyler Clippard in an important spot. I’d rather use any number of the young pitchers to test their mettle than to see Tyler Clippard pitching meaningful innings. Along these lines, the Yankees need to pick-up a solid bullpen arm. They need someone.
3. Bring up Chance Adams and have him pitch out of the bullpen. Do this as soon as the All-Star break concludes.
4. I’m not thrilled with the rotation, but I’d let it stay as is for now. Let’s hope Pineda pitches for a big contract and can throw some quality innings. Tanaka should be solid enough. (I hope.) Severino is a future ace. I believe in Jordan Montgomery. CC is a fine #5 starter.
5. Clint Frazier must be here to stay. He should be the starting left fielder going forward. Brett Gardner goes to center. When Aaron Hicks is healthy, he can rotate between Frazier, Gardner, and Judge, giving each time to get a day off or DH. This also means that Jacoby Ellsbury should be sent packing in a salary dump. He is a sunk cost, he is not part of the future. It’s time to move on from Jacoby.
6. Once Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro are healthy, the line-up will look stronger and produce more. Let’s remember that these two players, along with Aaron Hicks, have been critical to the Yankees’ success. Losing all three for this long has obviously weakened the team.
7. We need a first baseman for today and maybe the future. Ji-Man Choi isn’t the answer. It’s fun watching him capturing magic in a bottle, but this won't last for long. I trust Brian Cashman to make a good deal without sacrificing any of the important pieces of the future. Since Greg Bird is such a question, it might make sense to actually trade some chips for a solid first base prospect.
8. Miguel Andujar. Put the man at third base. Live with the growing pains. The man can (and will) hit. I think he is the third baseman of the future. I think Chase Headley is better than Yankees fans have given him credit for, but it’s time to move on. Headley's almost homer on Sunday was symbolic of his Yankee career. He was almost the answer.