Yankee fans had hoped that April showers would bring May flowers. Instead of flowers, we got a few weeds…but at least that means the soil is fertile enough to grow something soon. The Yankees just need to identify and remove the weeds from the garden to leave some space for the flowers to fully blossom. After all, spring time is the time of hard work and aggravation while preparing for the summer. It’s all about getting the garden ready for Memorial Day so everyone can see how nice, or not nice, your garden and yard really is.
As of right now, the Yankees sit in fourth place of the AL East at a record of 24-19. As weird as this sounds, the Yankees would be in 2nd place in every other division in MLB, except for the NL West, where they would be in 3rd by .5 games. Unfortunately, the Yankees cannot swap divisions, so they have to deal with what they have. In this case, the hand they are given is the best division in baseball so far this year with the Tampa Bay Rays off to an astounding 31-11 start.
Even more optimistic, the Yankees have proven that they can go toe-to-toe with the Rays. After playing 2 series’ against the Rays, the Yankees went 3-4. However, when considering the Yankees had a blown 6 run lead during the first series, and also had the lead in their final game so far, one realizes the Yankees were in realistic position to have gone 5-2 against Tampa Bay. Add to this list the Yankees blown lead in the 9th inning against Cleveland on May 1st, and one could argue the Yankees should be 26-16, and sitting in 3rd place in the division.
Of course, the “would/should/could” doesn’t count towards the stranding, but this tells us two important things about the Yankees. Firstly, the Yankees are better than what their fans would likely believe. Second, they lack the ability to slam a nail on a coffin, which is proving to be the difference maker in the standings. So far, the Yankees are looking like the same old “really good, but not great” team that fans have gotten so accustomed to witnessing.
The only place this likely leads to is another respectable season with a pre-World Series playoff exit. By any other teams standards, it’s a darn good season. Let’s be real, this is Yankee fan purgatory.
Overall, the good news is that the Rays are not invincible, and the Yankees are very much in the fight for a playoff spot. That playoff appearance is most likely coming in the form of a Wildcard spot, even though the division is not unattainable at this point in the season. The bad news, however, is that this process will require patience, something that Yankee fans are not great at practicing. Yankee fans satisfaction will depend on a sense of realism as to what this team could realistically accomplish instead of living off the fantasies of yesteryear.
Similarly, Yankees team success will depend on Brian Cashman’s sense of realism as to what the team is and is not built for, and how to make the essential adjustments. As of the moment this is being written, none of the top 4 highest payrolls are in 1st place in their divisions. If nothing else, this season so far has proven one thing: it’s not about how much money is spent, but how smartly the money is being spent. The Yankees are smart with spending, but they are not the smartest. When the Yankees appear to have the same problems year after year (particularly with injuries), they must reconsider the front office members who evaluate players and make roster decisions.
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images