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The Bronx Tales: Is it too early to panic? Small steps the Yankees can take to get back on track.

Well... like I said in the beginning of the season: April baseball is way too soon to start worrying about things, unless things are bad, and then you have every right to overreact. After the loss tonight, and the lineup that Boone rolled out, it's safe to say things aren't going well. The AL East is a gauntlet of a division, and although it's only April, a skid like this could be treacherous come September.


The Yankees boast one of the highest payrolls with one of the lowest batting averages. The team went from not losing a series, to falling flat on their face.



The same song and dance from every season with the injuries and the "next man up" mentality, is becoming a lackluster tagline that I am sick of. The Yankees' injured list (12 players) currently has a payroll of $117.8MM, which is more than the 26-man rosters of 13 MLB teams (per Bryan Hoch).


Aaron Hicks refuses to play competent baseball, while Bryan Reynolds just signed a deal that's not too far off from him The bottom five or spots in the order are automatic outs every single night.


Again, I am not worried just yet, but I don't want to hear the bullshit from Cashman when guys like Stanton and Rodon return and claims those as "in season free agents". Shut up man, you are so lucky you still have a job. Every good move you make, you are kindly reminded that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado "weren't good fits", and all of the other moves that have hindered this teams ultimate goal of winning a World Series.


Now that I have my rant out of the way, it's time to fix this team. I am not going to throw out fantasities, we aren't at the trade deadline yet, but I am going to fix this thing one step at a time. Realistically, and honestly, smartly.


Let's dive right in....

 

Number 1: Re-Shift The Roster From Within

The bottom of the lineup is absolute garbage. Franchy and Calhoun have lost their luster, and don't get me started about Hicks. Can't wait for Donaldson to come back! Not... Having that trio in the lineup night after night is painful to watch. Boone was talking about how these guys can perform and it's an absolute joke. It's time to cut the bait and promote from within. I'll save my DFA Hicks rant for down below, but there are two moves to help that can offer some sort of shakeup.

  • IN: Elijah Dunham (OF) - OUT: Franchy Cordero (OF/1B)

  • IN: Andrés Chaparro (3B/1B/DH) - OUT: Willie Calhoun (OF/DH)


Andrés Chaparro showed promise in spring training, and now he is raking for SWB. His OPS is up to .839, and he has 8 homers and 14 RBI's in 20 games. Dunham is another prospect, who can just contribute. His stats aren't as eye popping as Chappy's, but it has to be better than sub .200 averages from Calhoun and Cordero.


In terms of pitching, our bullpen isn't losing us games, and we have a ton of key injuries in our arm barn. However, I think the Yanks should take a consideration of Matt Krook. He's tossed 22 strikeouts in 11 innings, with a 1.59 ERA.


Then there's the closer conversation. Clay Holmes doesn't look like his dominant self, meanwhile Arolidis Chapman is gassing 100+ in Kansas City. I think they need to make an adjustment there. Whether it's shuffling around the personnel, or finding someone new externally.


Number 2: A Small Trade or Signing That Can Make An Impact

We cannot be dealing with Aaron Hicks anymore. We simply cannot.


We need an early trade or signing that will provide a sparkplug. Look at seasons past. There has always been a guy that has come around in the early months and absolutely raked. Last year, it was Matt Carpenter (May), in 2021 is was Odor (April), in2019 it was Cameron Maybin (April) and Edwin Encarnación (June).


Who is a guy that can come in? It is one of those things we have no idea how the Yankees accomplish this. That's the one thing I trust about Cashman and the Brass, they know how to find diamonds in the rough. They’ve recently signed free-agent outfielder Kole Calhoun to a minor league contract, so I expect a lowkey move like that.


A player I'd love to see is Tyler Stephenson from the Reds. The Catcher/First Baseman has been putting together a nice little campaign at the plate. He offers depth and a new spark, and could come cheap. I love Higashioka as a person, and I doubt this is a move the Yankees would do with Rortvedt (who???), but it would offer great depth and more bang to the lineup.


When the time gets closer, we can assess the options of trading for solid players like Jesus Lozardo or stars like Corbin Burnes, heck maybe even Ohtani. But I won't get ahead of myself just yet...


Number 3: Pray The IL Players Return Soon

It's a sad excuse when we have to wait for our "in-season additions" as just internal guys who were hurt, but that's how the cookie crumbles. We've got over $100 million dollars worth of player payroll on the IL right now. That is simply disgusting. Why does this keep happening every year? The training staff needs to be reassessed, but that's a blog for another day. It looks like Harrison Bader should return next week (thank goodness), but here's the status update on everyone else, per their transaction sheet and MLB.com.


  • Bader (Oblique): Bader began a Minor League rehab assignment on April 21 with Double-A Somerset and is expected to join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on April 25. He will need about two weeks of Minor League action, allowing him to build toward playing back-to-back games and handling a high volume of innings.

  • Rodon (Elbow/Back): The left hander pitcher had discomfort that stalled his progress, but it looks to be subsiding. He played catch this week with no issues, and had a CT scan performed with no structural irregularities. His timeframe is expected end of May/early June.

  • Severino (Lat): Severino faced Harrison Bader and Willie Calhoun in live batting practice on April 20 at Yankee Stadium, tossing 35 pitches -- 20 from the mound, 15 in the bullpen. He tossed two innings of live batting practice at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, Fla., on April 24, and is scheduled to do so again on April 28.

  • Loáisiga (Elbow): He resumed playing catch on the field at Yankee Stadium on April 21, and did so again on April 24. Manager Aaron Boone said it would probably take a few weeks for Loáisiga to build stamina and get into Minor League games.

  • Donaldson (Hamstring): Donaldson was diagnosed with what manager Aaron Boone described as a “Grade 1-plus strain” of his right hamstring, ending his Minor League rehab assignment. Boone said it would be “probably a couple of weeks” until Donaldson resumes on-field activities.

  • Stanton (Hamstring): Stanton was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring, and manager Aaron Boone said on April 18 that the club is hopeful to have Stanton back “in six weeks,” which would be the week of May 28.

  • Kahnle (Bicep): Kahnle is traveling with the Yankees for their April 24-30 road trip and has been throwing at distances up to 120 feet. He is scheduled to toss from a bullpen mound during the club’s April 27-30 series at Texas, which would mark his first time doing so since March.


On the updated roster below, I'll indicate who I think should hold their spot until the marquee player returns. For our sake, hopefully they come back sooner rather than later.



Updated 26 Man Roster


Writing this, it still only feels like a band aid. First off, the team just needs to be playing better. The young guys leash can only be so long. It's a heavier load for our stars, but that's why they get paid the big bucks.


The sad reality is the construction of the team. Donaldson will return and send Peraza down. IKF is a hustler and I respect it, but he shouldn't be getting reps for a World Series contender. When healthy and performing, this team has the juice, but I still am not in love. At this point, I am hoping by second week of May, this is what the team will look like.


Outfield (5)

  • Aaron Judge

  • Harrison Bader

  • Elijah Dunham - Replaces Francy Cordero

  • Oswaldo Cabrera (UTL)

  • Isiah Kiner-Falefa (UTL)

Designated Hitter (1)

  • Andrés Chaparro - IL: Giancarlo Stanton (June)

Infield (5)

  • Anthony Rizzo

  • DJ LeMahieu

  • Gleyber Torres

  • Anthony Volpe

  • Oswald Peraza

Catchers (2)

  • Jose Trevino

  • Kyle Higashioka

Starting Rotation (5)

  • Gerrit Cole

  • Nestor Cortes

  • Clarke Schmidt - IL: Carlos Rodon (June)

  • Luis Severino - Replaces Johhny Brito

  • Domingo German

Bullpen (8)

  • Nick Ramirez - MOVE: Clarke Schmidt (Once Rodon Returns) OR IL: Lou Trivino (June)

  • Jimmy Cordero / Matt Krook - IL: Tommy Kahnle (May)

  • Ian Hamilton -IL: Jonathan Loaisiga (June)

  • Albert Abreu

  • Wandy Peralta

  • Ron Marinaccio

  • Mike King

  • Clay Holmes




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