As the calendar turns to June, it doesn’t seem as though the 2016 New York Yankees are a playoff team. The Yanks currently have a mark of 24-26 and plays exactly like a squad that hovers around .500. They don’t endure any prolonged slumps and they can’t sustain anything more than a three or four game winning streak. I figured the season could go like this but I also believed that much of the American League East would be in this sort of predicament. However, the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles have played better ball than I thought they would and with the Yanks 6 1/2 games out of first place, I don’t believe the team as constructed can make up that difference. Perhaps they can take a shot at a Wild Card and as it stand they are 4 1/2 games out of that spot. One question remains about what the Yanks will do at the deadline:
Selling or standing pat?
One thing we know they will not be are buyers. New York was a better team last year and did not pull the trigger on a big deal that would have caused them to lose one of their top prospects. Sure, they may deal for a bullpen arm or a bat off the bench but that’s about it. So now they have to evaluate if they can reach the playoffs with some tweaks or get something for free agents to be such as Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira. Therein lies the problem of being a mediocre team that can hang around long enough to believe the postseason is in sight. This is part of the overall plan to remain competitive while going younger (see the trades for Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro) and injecting the fruits of the farm system.
I have to believe that as long as the Bombers remain within striking distance of a postseason spot, they will do no worse than stand pat. After all, the formula is there to have a deep playoff run. Get six innings out of your starting pitchers before turning it over to your dominant bullpen. The Kansas City Royals have worked that into back-to-back-World Series with a starting rotation comparable to the Yankees’. The big difference between the two teams is that KC’s lineup is much better, manufacturing runs when it needs to, extending innings with their speed and contact. The Yankees are more power-laden and more prone to dry spells when it comes to prodcutivity. The trade for Aroldis Chapman is a sign to me that as long as they are within five games or so at the July 31st trading deadline, they will not be sellers. However, don’t expect any big trades that gives up a significant prospects in order to take a run at a title.
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