The New York Yankees have started the 2021 season with five wins and 10 losses, including five consecutive defeats over the past few days. They were most recently swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, scoring a total of seven runs during those three games.
Ultimately, the team has struggled considerably to get things going, and while their pitching has been decent at times, it is their offense that has lacked gusto. The Yankees desperately need a catalyst to fuel a turnaround, and while GM Brian Cashman says the team needs to self-correct, he also stated that Aaron Boone is in control of the roster and will be making those strategic decisions.
Ultimately, the analytical process that Boone has utilized isn’t working, and rotating Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier in left-field isn’t going to get the job done. They went out and acquired Rougned Odor from the Texas Rangers to help in the infield, and while he’s added a slight spark, he can’t carry the team alone.
Currently, DJ LeMahieu leads the team in batting average at .286, with a minimum of 50 at-bats. Even that is a bit low for a player of his caliber that finished the 2020 season with an impressive .364 average. Again, there’s plenty of time to turn things around and go back into the shape of things, but Boone’s lack of motivation and strategy behind the scenes is clearly on display.
“As the manager, (Boone) always has the disposal to utilize the roster how he sees fit,” Cashman said Monday in a Zoom media call. “Clearly there’s a lot of different choices to play with. That’s something he deals with and wrestles with his coaching staff on a day in and day out basis. If you want to switch things around in the outfield, you certainly have some other choices to play with if you want. And you can do the same on the infield, too. There’s a little bit of flexibility there. And that goes all the way to the catching spot, too. So he’s always had that in his back pocket.”
Unfortunately for the Yankees, switching things around doesn’t avoid one major reality, depth isn’t supposed to be as good as starting talent. Currently, one of their biggest flops so far this season is Aaron Hicks, who is hitting .160 over just 55 plate appearances. He has been utterly useless on the offensive side of the ball, for the most part, striking out 25.5% of the time.
Boone is considering shaking things up a bit regarding roster decisions, but he must continue to give action to his primary players instead of making too many changes too frequently.
“There’ll be some things that I consider about shaking things up, no question,” Boone said. “I’ve done it a little bit, but it’s a little tough. It’s a little bit of a different era when you only have three or four bench guys, but they’ll probably potentially be some more opportunities for guys that maybe haven’t been playing as much.”