State of the Empire Address

With the deadline looming, it seems like a great time to take a look at where the Yanks stand currently.

We are 4.5 out of the division and the Sox have looked good, although our series against them proved that they are beatable. They have a week long west coast road trip coming up, then come home to the likes of the Indians and Royals. Of their remaining 21 series, only 3 are really gimmes, but they only play 3 of those 21 against division leaders at this point. They close the season with Houston which could ultimately hurt the Yanks chances, because by that point Houston will have nothing to play for and might get some guys some rest. They havent been scoring a ton of runs lately, but their pitching has been lights out. If they can't add a power bat, we might see those one run games start to go their opponents way. You can only win so many games scoring 3 runs.

Were 1.5 out of the Rays. Their schedule is much tougher down the stretch with only one gimme series. Everyone else they play is within a few games of .500. Their offense has been good all year, neck and neck with the yanks and sox, so they can stay afloat, but I think their tough schedule might end up sinking them. They have a long midwest road series coming, and then end the season with BOS-NY-BOS-CHC-BAL-NY-BAL. Obviously winning those series, or even just a few really helps them, but thats a tough way to close the season.

The Yanks schedule is actually a bit more friendly than I thought it would be. We finish up this 10 game road stretch with in Seattle, a team that is right in it. A series win is huge here, as the rest of our schedule is a mixed bag. We have 5 series against division leaders, and another against Minnesota who is right there. But mixed in we also have a Subway series with the Mets, a few series with Detroit, the rangers are still on our schedule as well as the white sox, and couple games against Cincy. For all intents, I'm going to call these gimme series, as in series we SHOULD win them.

The twins are alive, as well as the royals, and mariners, even the angels are still sniffing around. We'll get a better idea of the playoff outlook in the coming week or two depending on who develops into sellers, and who develops into buyer. I dont believe the twins make any moves, atleast not season changing ones. Royals should end up selling. Mariners will buy. Angels will sell and fall off.

Schedule wise, the Yanks look quite good, assuming we can at least split the remaining series with the Sox and Rays.

The transition of Todd Frazier to 3rd and Chase Headley platooning at first makes way more sense than anyone thought. Frazier has been improving, and getting back towards what you can expect from him. He has lots of pop, but won't hit for average, he can drive in runs, and protect a guy like Judge or Sanchez simply because of his power. His lefty/righty splits are not much different, and hes been slugging lately. He should absolutely be our everyday 3rd baseman, he plays good enough defense, and power is always welcome in any lineup. Headley has a great glove, its his arm that is cringe-worthy. He will make the transition to first without issue, and I think will turn into a good/great defensive first baseman which is underrated. The difference between picking a ball and not picking a ball often results in a blown open inning so I'm embracing this. While Cooper is mashing he should remain in the lineup against lefties. Headley's splits vs rightys arent all that bad, and he can get used to batting from the left side, where he's more comfortable, and the stadium is more favorable towards, and maybe start swinging for some power there. Even if he remains at his .280 split against rightys, thats good production even without power.

The bullpen I won't really get into because it's just so good now. Long guys Warren and Green who can also come in to get you out of a jam, combined with the back end is glorious. If someone can step up as a lefty killer, then we'll be pristine.

Starting pitching we need an arm. I'm in favor of a rental. Maybe go out and get a Lance Lynn, or a Darvish. I don't want to give up too much (maybe if Darvish leans towards resigning) but we just need an inning eater. Sevy and Gumby have never thrown this much, and it will wear on them.

Overall, were in an okay spot. It looks bleak right now, but were more okay than meets the naked eye. The bullpen sucked at the end of the first half. The offense is slumping a little bit now. But both of those problems will/have correct/ed themselves. The Yankees have lost almost every close game they've played this year. Their bullpen leads the league in blown saves. Not going forward. Those 1-2 run games will now start sliding our way. This bullpen will be miles better than the first half. And when you win the close ones you gain confidence. You start to believe that you always have a chance (remember the end of last year).

Call me an optimist, but I see us as a playoff team, that could make some noise. Likely first wild card spot, but I'm not giving up on this division. Our schedule gives us a shot. As good as the Red Sox are on paper, they're beatable. And Sevy/Tanaka/CC/Gumby should give us a chance in the playoffs. If we have to win a wild card game, I feel completely comfortable trotting, Sevy to the mound and letting our offense give him a chance. And if Tanaka continues to improve even better.

I don't think another blockbuster trade is necessary. We don't need Sonny Gray, or Gerrit Cole, or Tehran. Just get a reliable arm. For cheap. Do what we can this year. I dont think we are far off from being a playoff team, and I think if we do get in, a big lineup and a dynamic bullpen can win you playoff games. But the goal remains: Let's build another dynasty. Starting next year, moving forward, the Yankees will return to power. Our system has a ridiculous amount of top end, all star candidates, and many of them are close to ready to debut. We have money coming off the books, and will be able to contend for free agents. And last but not least, we have the Judge.

So Yankees fans, I urge you: Do not revert to our old ways. Let's not look for instant gratification. Let's not rush guys to the majors. Let's not cry foul everytime we lose a game. Let's be thankful for the best minor league system in baseball. Let's be thankful for Aaron Judge, and El Gary, Red Thunder, and Sevy. Let's smile because, no matter the outcome of this year, the Yankees return to power is imminent, and all will be right in the world again.

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