All year we saw time after time how Aaron Boone left his starters in way too long when it was clear they had nothing. This was a team that won 100 games and had one of the best offenses in baseball and yet time and time again they frustrated to no end. The most glaring issue highlighted, though, was the pitching.
The starting pitching was always going to be the downfall of the 2018 Yankees. That was the case in the offseason, it remained the case through the trade deadline, and it was most certainly the case in the playoffs.
Starting pitching wasn’t the only reason the Yankees aren’t playing anymore baseball this year. Boone’s miscues and the offenses struggles are problems on their own, but the pitching is their biggest issue.
It’s absolutely infuriating that the Yankees didn’t do more to address their biggest need. Gerrit Cole would’ve been a nice get, but the Yankees tried and the Pirates didn’t take the offer. Whatever. J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn were fine additions, but that they were the only moves was ridiculous. The reason behind all of this was even more frustrating.
I know the Yankees’ main goal this year was to get under the luxury tax threshold and they accomplished that. Congrats to them, the banner will go up on Opening Day. Since that goal is accomplished, there has to be some action. Now, I never cared about the luxury tax. It’s not my money and the Yankees have more than enough to pay the penalty and still afford their yachts. I just accepted the truth. The free agent market being awful also helped accept the lack of moves.
Now though? There’s no excuse. The numbers have reset, the penalties are gone, the Yankees have to flex their financial might and get reliable starting pitching.
The Yankees were able to assemble one of the best bullpens in baseball history this year. However, even the best bullpens are useless if the rotation is always putting the game out of hand. They went into the playoffs not needing their starters to go more than four innings, which is a great weapon to have but it shouldn’t be the game plan. They need at least one starter, but probably two.
Fans don’t need to see Aaron Boone making a pitching change in the fourth inning of every game because the starter can’t go through a lineup a third time through the order. This team needs starters who can consistently provide length and keep the game in control.
I won’t pretend to have all the answers. I don’t know which available starters out there would actually be a solution, I just know that the status quo can’t remain. They also can’t afford to go into the season with a combination of Jonathan Loaisiga, Domingo German, and Justus Sheffield competing for more than one spot, if any.
My biggest fear right now is that the Yankees will try and deploy “the opener” next year instead of signing a starter. I’m not actually against the idea of the opener—the Rays and Athletics showed it can work when used properly this year—but without any actual evidence to back this up, I know the Yankees will mess this up. It’ll be the new shift, which always feels disastrous for the team on both sides of the ball.
Giancarlo Stanton was the prize of the offseason last year, and while disappointing at times, he was still a big part of why the Yankees got as far as they did. Still though, his acquisition only distracted from the team’s real problem. Now it’s time to solve the problem.
There’s a long offseason ahead for the Yankees. We don’t know what kind of changes are coming or when they’ll happen. All I know is that the time for looking at tax penalties is over and it’s time for the Yankees to be the Yankees once again.