clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where do the Yankees go from here?

After yet another disappointing playoff exit, how will the Yankees pave their way forward?

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

October 18, 2017

After blanking the Houston Astros in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead in the ALCS, the New York Yankees found themselves one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2009.

October 20, 2017

With Justin Verlander on the mound for Game 6, the Yankees managed to score just one run in a 7-1 rout at the hands of the Astros. With the World Series on the line, it would all come down to a pivotal Game 7 in Houston just 24 hours later.

October 21, 2017

In a shocking turn of events, the Yankees’ bats failed to show up in Game 7, as they mustered a measly three hits in a 4-0 defeat. The Yankees, who were just one win away from returning to the World Series, ended up blowing a 3-2 series lead with little more than a whimper.

October 22, 2017

Despite the heartbreaking end to the 2017 season, the future was the brightest it had been in quite some time.

Aaron Judge, the massive homegrown superstar who hit 52 home runs as a rookie, was the new face of the franchise. Gary Sánchez, the power-hitting catcher who played so well in 2016 that he placed second in Rookie of the Year voting despite appearing in just 53 games, was redefining the type of offensive output we could expect from a catcher. Luis Severino, the 23-year-old flamethrower, was drawing serious Cy Young consideration and comparisons to Pedro Martinez. Miguel Andújar, the doubles machine, was set to take over third base. Gleyber Torres and Jackson Frazier were waiting in the wings. To help supplement the young core, NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton was brought in from the Miami Marlins.

Suddenly, a team that went to Game 7 of the ALCS with a lineup that routinely featured Chase Headley, Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday, and Jacoby Ellsbury was arguably the most feared lineup of young talent in the league.

Faced with an expiring contract, the Yankees let Joe Girardi walk. In his stead, the organization brought in Aaron Boone, a first-time manager and savvy communicator who was ostensibly tasked with connecting with the young core of this team on a level that his predecessor was apparently incapable of reaching.

Out with the old, in with the new, as they say.

The stage was set for a new era of Yankees baseball — one built on young, otherworldly talent with a penchant for setting the world on fire and the attitude to match. And the sky was, apparently, the limit.

October 23, 2022

On Sunday night, for the third time since 2017, the Yankees’ season was prematurely ended by the Houston Astros in the ALCS.

This time it was a sweep.

Just five years removed from what was supposed to be the start of a new era of Yankees baseball, the organization now finds itself in the exact same spot it has been in every year since 2010: On the outside looking in.

In the past calendar year, we’ve seen the departures of Gary Sánchez, who apparently forgot how to hit and couldn’t field, in a doomed trade with the Minnesota Twins; Miguel Andújar, who just couldn’t stay healthy (and was incapable of fielding a position when he was), and was eventually designated for assignment and picked up by one of the worst teams in the league; and Jackson Frazier, whose entire saga is just far too complex to fit in with my word count.

Of the remaining Baby Bombers who inspired an entire fanbase to believe, Luis Severino has thrown just 311.1 innings over the last five seasons — 191.1 of which came in 2018 — and Gleyber Torres has struggled to find any sort of consistency on both sides of the ball.

On the managerial side, Aaron Boone has shown limited growth as a manager, as evidenced by his shoddy bullpen work throughout his five postseason runs, and the team’s principal architect for the last 24 years, Brian Cashman, is now without a contract.

Most horrifying of all, though, is the fact that Aaron Judge, the new franchise and AL single-season home run record holder and likely 2022 MVP, is a free agent at 30 years old.

After New York’s Wild Card loss to the Red Sox in 2021, Boone said something along the lines of the rest of the American League’s top teams had caught up to the Yankees.

Needless to say, the championship window for this once young and promising core has officially slammed shut. And, after this series, it’s abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that the top team in the American League — the Houston Astros — has lapped them.

October 25, 2022

Where the hell does this organization go from here?

Staring down the barrel of a serious identity crisis and faced with the very real possibility that the face of their franchise will be playing baseball elsewhere next season, the Yankees now find themselves at a crossroads with no clear path forward.

They have an incredibly wealthy owner who is hesitant to exceed luxury tax thresholds, a General Manager who has failed to allocate resources that other GMs would kill to have at their disposal in an effective manner, a manager who’s still making the same inexcusable mistakes he made as a rookie manager in 2018, a ton of money tied up in aging vets, and a roster of two or three stars that is filled out with stopgaps and bargain options around them.

While it’s certainly possible that Hal Steinbrenner decides on wholesale changes on all fronts — the type of earth-shattering changes that certain sects of this fanbase came to expect when George Steinbrenner was at the helm — the current iteration of the Yankees clearly think they have a plan, and have shown no indication that they intend to deviate from that script.

With a ton of money already tied up in Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole (with a special shout-out to Josh Donaldson’s $25 million luxury tax hit), a ton of length tied up in the oft-injured and aging Aaron Hicks and DJ LeMahieu, and a clear reluctance to go too far over the luxury tax threshold, it’s really hard to foresee this team making any monumental additions in free agency.

Much like 2018, though, there is a new, exciting core waiting in the wings. We saw flashes of what Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera can do at the major league level, and Anthony Volpe and Jasson Domínguez should be ready to make the leap in the next couple years, if all goes according to plan.

But, given the organization’s failure to develop the last new and exciting core, why should we have faith that this management team will develop this one any better? After what we’ve seen over the last five years, is there really any indication that this organization is capable of ushering in a new era of Yankees baseball? Or are we doomed to repeat the last 12 years of disappointment over and over again?

As we enter the winter of our discontent, one thing is certain: The Yankees have not been the class of the American League for quite some time now, despite what their internal metrics say.

Faced with the type of identity crisis that none of us could have predicted at the start of the 2018 season, this organization simply cannot afford to follow the same path they’ve been following for the last 12 years, because it’s simply not good enough anymore.

But even that may be asking too much of them.