It seems to be the same story every year with this team. The New York Yankees have fallen in love with a disastrous ex-lover named The Injury Bug. She comes and goes, messing with the mindset of the team and dismantles the momentum of the so-called "death star".
The 2021 season has been a whirlwind and a disappointment, to say the least. They are in command of 4th place in the AL-East, underperforming in every category. On the other hand, they are owners of a no-hitter, a couple of immaculate innings, and three triple plays. Besides Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge, the teams two of three All-Stars, everyone has been subpar. The momentum needed to turn post-mid-summer classic, and the hopes were high for the Bronx Bombers. Then along comes that nasty ex-girlfriend who loves to linger, the injury bug. The past few days have been gut-wrenching.
July 15th - Six Yankees test positive for COVID-19, and were placed on the protocol IL list. The players include right fielder Aaron Judge, third baseman Gio Urshela, Catcher Kyle Higashioka, and relief pitchers Jonathon Loasiga, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Wandy Peralta.
July 16th - First baseman, Luke Voit, heads back to the IL for the third time this season, this one for inflammation in his left knee.
July 18th - Outfielder, Tim Locastro, heads to the IL after tearing his ACL in the Saturday night game against the Red Sox.
That doesn't include the list of players before the All-Star break.
- SP/RP Mike King (Finger)
- OF Clint Frazier (Vision)
- INF/OF Miguel Andujar (Wrist)
- RP Darren O'Day (Hamstring)
- SP Luis Severino (Groin)
- SP Corey Kluber (Shoulder)
- RP Clarke Schmidt (Elbow)
- OF Aaron Hicks (Wrist)
So who filled these voids? Well, that leads us to the replacements. The list shows all the players that were picked up from the team's AAA affiliate, the SWB RailRiders. It isn't necessarily the correct order, but it shows who they are presumably replacing for the time being.
As a fan, this is disheartening. I respect these guys' hard work and competitive play, and it is no insult to them, it is just a tough look to see how many players are out on injury, and how fans can be happy with putting out a majority AAA lineup. I would have loved and appreciated the call-ups of Amburgey, Park, and Abreu in normal times, just as a little spark off the bench. To have them come in and be everyday starters and demand immediate performance is just a lot to ask for. No matter what the situation is, this is an awful product to put out as the New York Yankees.
In the eyes of the team's brass, these call-ups will cement themselves in the continued narrative of the "next man up mentality". These players will have some flashy plays in the field or provide a nice at-bat from here to there. They will keep the Yankees just over .500, and when the "reinforcement return", Cashman will state that the best deadline acquisitions were guys like Judge, Urshela, and Severino. They will limp into the Wild Card and fail to make it to a World Series for the 12th straight season.
If Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman want to kick the season away and disappoint the fan base, then do so, but don't expect the fanbase to remain loyal. "Next Man Up" was fun and cute over the last few seasons, but enough is enough. This shouldn't be the war cry that helps turn a season around.
If the team doesn't go out and add players like Joey Gallo, Kris Bryant, and others then don't expect Ring 28 anytime soon. Brace yourself for some painful baseball over the next few weeks, and start looking at the potential free agents and the youth movement in later years. This is what New York Yankees baseball looks like in its current state,.