Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Yankees Second Half Outlook is Bleak at Best

Matt Slocum/AP
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Coming into the season people knew that it would be an up and down year for the usually dominant New York Yankees. They no longer looked like the team of the 2000’s with big boppers throughout the lineup and All-Stars all over the field.

Injuries then delivered a blow, as every regular from last season outside of Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner were either on another team or on the disabled list to start the season. Despite the uphill battle facing them the Yankees, thanks to shrewd pickups by General Manager Brian Cashman, started the season off better than anyone expected. They then began getting players like Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis back.

Things have begun to turn for the worse in the Bronx recently though as the players who came off the DL quickly found themselves back on it. Youkilis and then Teixeira shortly after were lost for the season. The veterans that Cashman brought in to steady the ship while the regulars were out had started regressing back to where they would normally be. Lashing out at Alex Rodriguez in the media by Cashman after some tweets he felt were inappropriate brought more negative attention on a team with not much going for them currently.
Outside of another strong season from second baseman Robinson Cano, whose impending free agency looms large, and Andy Pettitte taking over as the all-time strikeout leader in Yankees franchise history, it has been very bleak times for the Yankees.

The Yankees currently sit with a record of 44-39 just passed the halfway point of the season. The Yankees are coming off a disappointing June as they compiled an 11-16 record with two five-game losing streaks thrown in.

The outlook for the remainder of the season is cloudy at best. There are fans clamoring for Cashman to make another move to bring in more talent but moves could he really make? Cashman is on a strict plan to avoid the luxury tax so adding salary would not make sense with so much money tied up in C.C. Sabathia, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Granderson especially with Cano needing a new contract after the season.

There is some in-house help that will be on the way soon that may help right the ship. Rodriguez started his rehab Tuesday on the path to returning from his hip surgery. Right now the Yankees would love to get A-Rod back in the lineup as they are getting no production from third base right now out of David Adams. Rodriguez has been a recipient of a lot of hate during his Yankee tenure but the fans who dislike him the most would even like to see him in the lineup surely; he couldn’t possibly do worse than what the Yankees are getting now.

Jeter should be able to return sometime after the All-Star break as his rehab from ankle surgery continues. Starting pitcher Michael Pineda had a rough outing his last time he took the mound during his rehab but looks good according to the people who have watched him pitch. His velocity is back up and he looks poised to make a return to the club after his rehab assignment is over; July 8th is the last day Pineda can be on assignment. A return from Granderson is something no one is able to gauge right now. He played catch with a glove on Monday but he is still unable to grip a bat.

The American League East will not be getting easier as the season goes on. The deeper of a hole the Yankees dig themselves now the harder it will be to get out later. Currently they sit six games behind the division leading Boston Red Sox, but would also have to jump the Baltimore Orioles, who just swept the Yankees in a weekend series, and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Toronto Blue Jays have also been playing much better baseball of late and look poised to overtake the Yankees. That is a lot to ask for out of a team that is struggling to score runs and get their pitching staff on track; it looks like it will be a long August in the Bronx as this Yankees squad. They have some players that will be returning from the DL that may help right the ship but even with those players they do not stack up to the talent of their AL East counterparts.

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