After the 2012 season, the Yankees were in rebuilding mode, but they weren’t rebuilding just anyway. They were rebuilding the Yankees way. Prior to the 2014 season, the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Beltran. Prior to the 2015 season, the Yankees traded for Nathan Eovaldi and Didi Gregorius. And as the 2015 season ends, the Yankees have almost everyone slated to come back next year minus Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew and Chris Young.
These aren’t George Steinbrenner’s Yankees, which means the Yankees aren’t going to go out there and get a top flight starting pitcher and the best bat on the market. They’re going to stick with the current set of Yankees they have. But can the Yankees compete next season without making a big deal? Joe Girardi thinks it can be done, but only if everyone has a good first and second half of the season.
“If you look at our club, if guys would have had some of the offensive numbers that they had in the first four months in the last two months, I think we substantially would have had more wins.” Girardi said. “I think it’s possible we would have won our division. I know that didn’t happen and those are reasons that we have to sort out as an organization, probably more me as a manager. If you look at that, we won 87 games. Our division winner won . We had some guys that really had some tough second halves. If they had the same second half as the first half, I think it’s a much different story.”
The Yankees would have been a completely different ball club if the following scenarios had happened:
A) If Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t flounder during the second half of the season.
B) If Mark Teixeira didn’t get hurt in late August.
C) If Carlos Beltran didn’t struggle offensively the first half of the season.
D) If Didi Gregorius played better defense the first two months of the season.
E) If Chase Headley didn’t have 23 errors at third base.
F) If the Yankees experimented at second base with someone other than Stephen Drew.
G) If the Yankees had more reliable arms in the bullpen.
H) If the Yankees rotation–with the exclusion of Nathan Eovaldi–was more consistent throughout the year.
Now, I’m not saying the Yankees can’t go out there and get a second bat or a pitcher for the rotation or pen, but they’re not going to sign someone who will shake up the chemistry of the ball club. The Yankees have shown flashes of brilliance in 2015, but they also showed flashes of disappointment. If the Yankees can play as well as they did before the All-Star break, then the division next year could easily be theirs.
Every team has holes. Can the Yankees find a way to plug up their holes without sinking their battleship?