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Yankees Are Caught in Mission - Thoughts from 2023 MLB Trade Deadline

"The Yankees stand for tradition, excellence, and winning." 

That is the official (like, for real, for real) mission statement of the New York Yankees. 

Based on those words, it's hard to argue that the New York Yankees aren't meeting the requirements of their organization's mission - each tentpole being met. Tradition - check. Excellence - lately, somewhat. And winning - maybe not as much, but open-ended interpretation admittedly, so. 

Yankees fandom as noted several times by yours truly, is insufferable. The fan base often can come off as spoiled, disconnected from reality, and at times, unrealistic. Just being honest.

However, within the same truth is passion, and yes, an expectation set forth by an organization that has raised standards from a once-in-a-lifetime dynasty, as well as the cost and price for just about any and everything associated with the brand. 

So yeah, go ahead Yankees fan - go off. 

I try to remain levelheaded within this fandom (special thanks to the scars from my beloved New York Knicks). However, with this trade deadline, I can't be that guy that pulls fans off the ledge. There are some serious concerns with this team, most importantly, the plan and philosophy guiding it all. The trade deadline exposes some fractures that even conservatives within the fanbase are going, ummmm, uhh, hold up just a second! 

The Yankees are caught in a tough spot provided by their official mission, and of course, the unofficial mission - "World Series Championship or Failure". 

Here are a few quick thoughts following the 2023 Trade Deadline: 

DYSFUNCTION

I'm glad I waited a few days to touch on this topic because within 72 hours we got word that Domingo German is gone for the season in need of substance abuse help and Anthony Rizzo has had a concussion affecting his play since May. 

Things happen. They do.

However, for an organization that is on top of everything - EVERYTHING - it's these occurrences and moments that lead to believe that the organization isn't as "buttoned-up" as it used to be. German missed a start, then came in the same game and threw shutout baseball. Rizzo, who was the worst baseball player in the big leagues (not hyperbole), and somehow, we come to a resolution on these items at this point of the season. Seems odd.

Again, all of this happens or comes to awareness AFTER the trade deadline where roster adjustments could have been made. 

PHILOSOPHY

I'm not a "Fire Cashman" guy. I find the take to be lazy for most who declare it. 

However, I do not understand how this team went into the 2023 season without a left fielder, and now finds itself with even more holes at third base, first base, catcher, closer, and yes, still, in left field. 

I also do not understand the overall buy-in with analytics. I think numbers help and should be considered in any problem-solving situation, however, the all-in approach has brought to the surface some important questions - most notably, why haven't those calculations assessed, measured, and predicted a lack of success for pretty much the same team as last year?

Finally, we're awful defensively with a great pitching staff. We have limited left-handed hitters in a park that is friendly for such a hitter, and well, the roster feels incredibly clunky and misaligned. 

Again, what's going on here? 

SELL, GIVE UP, NEXT YEAR

I don't believe in giving up on a season. I just don't understand those who call for such a thing. Why would you give up when you're only 3.5 games out of it? I'm just not for it. 

However...

I was all in on selling pieces that you do know won't be an option for you next year. Of course, waiting a few days later and we hear that was a call from the big guy. 

I'm not sure what you could get for the pieces that have underperformed, but getting something for 2024 is a nice option when it's apparent the current product hasn't shown signs of making that run. 

Call me crazy, I thought there was a way to walk that line. I'm still fine with keeping everyone and going for it, but if we are going for it, shouldn't we well, have gone for it?

It was the inactivity for me that spoke the loudest this week. 

What's the plan?!

FIRE BOONE, FIRE CASHMAN

I'm not there yet on firing people. Because I would like to see the season play out. If Cashman is indeed on the hot seat, I think he's at least earned a warning for one more year. Yeah, I'm a mad man that is possibly on a planet by himself on this take, but here is a truth many within this fanbase haven't encountered - this roster isn't flexible. We're in this. 

I think Cashman deserves one-more off-season to get this right. 

If not - chant away and make your sports radio phone calls in disgust as much as you wish. No problems here. 

As for Boone - he hasn't been perfect, but also, maybe I'm a half-glass-full-guy - shouldn't he get credit for keeping this team within the race considering EVERYTHING around it? 

Just saying...

WASTING PRIME

My biggest concern in all of this is the absolute waste of Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge's prime years. 

Watching a guy like Stanton, who feels like maybe the best years are behind him, I'm fearful that the window is closing sooner than we thought. 

WHAT HAPPENED?

All of this makes you wonder and think back on that 2017 squad that felt like the beginning of something big, possibly foundational. 

Here we are...with this mess.

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