The New York Yankees – Off-season Update – November/December 2015 – “Ludicrous”

“Ludicrous”

How else to explain the moves that the Yankees have made since the season ended in October?

The Yankees might have listed their goals for the off-season as follows:

a) To strengthen their 25 man roster

b) To reduce the average age of players on their 25-man roster

c) To make themselves more competitive for 2016

d) To achieve the first three without majorly increasing their payroll for 2016 from its 2015 level.

As we are now halfway through that off-season period, it is fair to say that they have failed in the first three categories and, therefore, in the 4th.

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The New York Yankees – The Batters in September and October (2015)

Well, that is in the little bit of October the Yankees were actually involved in this year. They made it to the playoffs but only by wildcard qualification. And then in the one-game wildcard playoff, they failed to produce a single run in their game against the Houston Astros. Let’s look at what went wrong… and one or two things that went right and look bright for the future.

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Changes in the City That Never Sleeps

What: New York Yankees versus Tampa Bay Rays

Where: Yankee Stadium, New York, New York, USA

When: September 4 to 6, 2015

New York City is one of my favourite places in the world. London, Whitby (UK not Canada), Stratford-upon-Avon and New York are the places I love and not necessarily in that order. Being back there is always a good thing.

They call it the City That Never Sleeps and you can see why. But I guess in a city that never sleeps then sometimes changes seem to happen at double the speed. Some of my favourite things about this city are gone forever.

There was Mickey Mantle’s restaurant on 59th Street and its mashed potatoes and chicken. It’s not there are any more. There was the food and idiosyncratic shopping at the South Street Seaport. It’s been demolished. Of course, there was the old Yankee Stadium which you will look for in vain. It’s a long time gone. It’s not only Joe DiMaggio who we must ask where he is gone, some other favourites are gone too.

I first caught the baseball bug in the mid 80s but it was the mid 90s before I journeyed to New York to sit in that old Stadium that Ruth built. Then there was a players’ strike but like them I was to be back the following year. 1995.

1995. The year that a still developing centre-fielder called Bernie Williams was joined in the majors by four more developing stars. Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Somebody told me a few days ago that the New York Yankees buy their success. That’s fine rhetoric and oft repeated but the evidence won’t bear it. The Yankees are at their strongest when their farm system is at its strongest – whether it be the “Core Four” of 1995 or the debuts of Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig or Munson. Growing internal greats has always worked out best.

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The New York Yankees – The Batters in July (2015)

In June, the New York Yankees’ bats caught fire, rising from a .249 team monthly batting average to .273. In July, against all expectations, they managed to maintain that and take it a little further with small gains in batting, slugging and on-base average.

Across the team, the bats are giving the pitchers that little extra breathing space and run support, resulting in a 17-7 month and a six-game lead in the American League East.

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The New York Yankees – The Batters in June (2015)

At the end of May, the Yankees were tied for first place in the American League East. By the 9th of June they were 2.5 games clear at the head of that table. By the 23rd, they were 2 games behind. As June turned into July, they were poised to take the lead in the division again.

June was a mixed month for the New York Yankees. June was a very streaky month for the New York Yankees.

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The New York Yankees – The Batters in May (2015)

April 2015 was a bizarre month for the New York Yankees. They started with a 3-6 record and were bottom of the table. From there, they sprinted to 10 wins out of their next thirteen games, ending April one game ahead of the American League East and setting a pace which meant they should then relentlessly open up a gap ahead of all-comers.

And indeed, by the 11 of May with 8 wins out of their next 11 games, they opened up a 4 game lead. Journalists, experts and pundits were staggered as the Yankees’ bullpen and offense led them to performances that were far beyond anything that was predicted or anticipated¬† — or even imagined by the most rabid fan.

And then the team returned quietly to the form of the early weeks of April as they crumbled against opposition from outside the division. The four game lead disappeared as they won 5 of their next 18 games. Will the real New York Yankees please stand up?

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The New York Yankees – The Batters in April (2015)

The Yankees have got off to a surprisingly good start to the season with a 14-8 record in April. This becomes doubly surprising when we consider that they got off to a 3-6 run in their first nine games. Both the bullpen and large sections of the offensive line-up have done better than we had any reason to expect and whilst there are more than a few weak links, there is good reason to think they can at least stay with the pace of a division which doesn’t have a clearly outstanding team.

Let’s survey who is doing well and not so well…

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The New York Yankees Off Season Update 7

Well, in our last two part article, I made my predictions (just a few days before the start of the season) about the Yankees’ opening day roster and their performance in the 2015 season.

Wouldn’t you know that there would be an injury that would change quite a few things before we even got to that first game!

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The New York Yankees Off Season Update 6 – Part 2

We continue our survey of the Yankees who have done well and not so well in Spring Training:

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The New York Yankees Off Season Update 5

Well, the New York Yankees have had a weird off-season and it just keeps getting weirder. As we walk through the trades the Yankees made in January, I just keep hearing warning bells ringing that tell me that unless almost everyone who had an injury or a downturn in their career last year encounters a significant upward surge than this team looks worse on paper then the one which won 84 games last season and missed out on the post-season. Unless they give their manager Joe Girardi the right tools to work with, he doesn’t have a hope of turning this team into a winner.

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