FanPost

Open Writing Position: The Strong Team with Weak Links

Hello, my name is Dan and I would like to be considered for a writing position here with Pinstripe Alley. I have writing experience with a few different websites and can provide prior pieces as necessary. Thanks for reading!

The 2018 New York Yankees currently sit at a 28-12 record -- currently making them the best team in baseball. They are just 0.5 games above the Boston Red Sox (28-13) in the AL East. This feat is all the more impressive considering the Yankees started 9-9 while the Red Sox began their season by winning 17 of their first 19 games.

Even though this team has obviously managed to find notable success, the poor play from veterans such as Giancarlo Stanton and Sonny Gray, and the road bumps from young players such as Miguel Andujar and Tyler Austin, could use some attention and improvement.


FIRST BASE

Going into March, the Yankees were optimistic that Greg Bird would be ready for his first, full season of baseball. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck again as a broken bone spur in his ankle has kept him out of the Yankees’ lineup. Tyler Austin and Neil Walker have split first base duties to this point, and while Walker has heated up recently, the two have combined to hit .224 with five home runs. Of course, Austin gave Yankee fans something bigger than baseball: a beat down on Joe Kelly that will be remembered in Yankees lore. However, Bird is on his way back and should return to the Yankee lineup in the next two weeks, so production should return to the first base spot soon.


LEFT FIELD

Giancarlo Stanton got off to a brutal start to the season, striking out 50 times before anyone else in baseball. Billy McKinney got a chance to play left field, but an awful collision with the outfield wall in Toronto put him on the shelf in April. Jace Peterson played two games before the Yankees placed him on waivers, which is one more game than Shane Robinson got with the big league club. The Yankees have been going with a combination of Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton, a natural right fielder who had never played left field at the big league level before this season. Recently, Stanton has rediscovered his stroke as he has hit .310 with five home runs in May, including a 4-4 performance with one home run and three RBI in Sunday's win over Oakland. His performance in left field has also been admirable, as he has not committed an error in his 14 games in left field.


STARTING PITCHING

This is where most expect Cashman to improve when the trade deadline comes around in July. Severino has been outstanding, while CC has been putting on tremendous performances every time he steps on the mound as well. Unfortunately, the good news ends there. Tanaka has been unpredictable, compiling as many poor starts as quality starts. Jordan Montgomery was diagnosed with a flexor strain in his throwing arm earlier this month and is out until at least the middle of June. Sonny Gray has been bad and can only pitch mildly well when Austin Romine is behind the plate. Gray has definitely not been the pitcher the Yankees were expecting when they acquired him for Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo, and James Kaprielian last summer. Domingo German put on a show in his first start, allowing zero hits over six innings with nine strikeouts. His next start, however, was far from perfect as he allowed six earned runs through five innings. Acquiring starting pitching is a must for the Yankees and, fortunately, there should be many available options this summer.


TRADE TARGETS

Cole Hamels and Michael Fulmer are two major leaguers that the Yankees have been eyeing before they could even realistically dream of making the acquisitions a reality. Hamels has had an illustrious career, as he is nearing 150 career wins and 2300 career strikeouts. He has formidable postseason experience, pitching in 16 games and being crowned the World Series MVP in 2008 with Philadelphia. He has pitched well this year with a 3.48 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 51.2 innings so far. Hamels is due $22.5 million this year and $20 million next year, but has a $6 million buyout for 2019. Fulmer has four more years of arbitration remaining, which means that he is under team control until 2023. While he has not pitched as well in 2018 as he pitched in 2016 or even 2017, he would be a cheap, controllable asset that can take the mound for the Yankees for years to come. A third option would be Danny Duffy, the ace for the Kansas City Royals. Duffy has struggled out of the gate with an ERA of 6.51 (yes, even higher than Sonny’s), but Duffy has a track record of pitching much better than his statistics show thus far this year. Most importantly, Duffy is under team control until 2022 and is a proven ace with postseason experience and a World Series championship under his belt.


The Evil Empire is on the rise in the baseball universe once again, but if this team wants to truly strike back, changes need to be made for the better.

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