I imagine the Yankees fanbase would’ve been apoplectic if you told them in spring that the team would be 10 games out of first place through the first half. That’s exactly where the team sits as June comes to a close — closer to last place than first. Before we look forward to July, let’s recap a rather dismal June in the Bronx.
Just when it appeared the Yankees would carry the momentum of a hot May into June, winning the month-opening series at the Dodgers, we got word that Aaron Judge would be going on the IL with a toe injury. The team has since been evasive with any information about the severity or recovery timetable, though Judge himself did reveal he tore a ligament. Results plummeted the minute he was lost with the team limping to an 11-12 finish with a negative run differential in June.
Losing the reigning MVP exposed the lack of impact depth behind the team captain should the expected cornerstones of the offense not produce top-percentile outcomes. Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson, Gleyber Torres, and Anthony Rizzo have all experienced rough patches over the last month-plus, and the result was an offense lucky to score more than three runs per night. In June, the Yankees sat in the bottom-four in runs, OPS, and wRC+ which even the most pessimistic oracle could not have foreseen.
This is all the result of the roster assembled by GM Brian Cashman. A strategy which has seen the team acquire older players over the last handful of seasons, many of whom had checkered injury histories, was always at risk of producing stretches like the one the team just endured. Before we assess Cashman’s approval rating, let’s remember how he got here.
Forty-seven percent of fans approved of the team’s GM on Opening Day thanks to optimism over bringing Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo back, signing Carlos Rodón, and awarding Anthony Volpe the starting shortstop job out of spring. That took a nosedive to just six percent with a lackluster April that saw the team play .500 ball as injuries once again mounted. A resurgent May in which the team regained ground in the division returned Cashman’s approval to 29 percent, but now the team is right back where it was at the end of April only now without its most valuable player.
The two positions of highest contention entering this season were shortstop and left field. Volpe was initially successful following his debut but suffered an abysmal May and first half of June. He’s since picked up his play, but that month-and-a-half stretch shined a spotlight back on the Yankees refusal to upgrade the position over the last two off-seasons.
As for left field, Aaron Hicks was designated for assignment while Oswaldo Cabrera has been sent down multiple times. Hicks is batting .270/.393/.500 with four home runs, 11 RBI, and a 151 wRC+ in 24 games for the Orioles but that’s beside the point. That two minor league call-ups in Jake Bauers and Billy McKinney were the team’s two best hitters last month speaks volumes about the state of the offense.
Just when it seemed all would be lost in June, Domingo Germán pitched the 24th perfect game in MLB history. At the same time, the offense logged its first back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts since May, and it’s hard not to get excited that maybe Germán’s moment of history could be an inflection point for positive movement in the second-half.
So that brings us to today’s task. Do you approve of the job Brian Cashman has done through the end of June, with his team sitting third in the division? The polarizing GM certainly elicits stronger feelings than can be captured in a one-word response — you may feel a question such as the one being posed requires more nuance, greater elaboration, or a wider selection of options than just a “yes” or a “no,” however for the sake of this exercise, a binary question works best.
Please vote in the poll below and let us know! We’ll revisit the results in a month.
Do you approve of Yankees GM Brian Cashman?
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