The Bronx, NY – The Yankees are twelve games over .500 and in first place in the AL East by a handful of games. This is a long ways away from where everyone thought the Bombers would be at the start of the season. Most people – myself included – figured the Yanks would be somewhere around the .500 mark and treading water in the wild card race. Instead they’ve got a healthy lead in the division and are coming off of a sweep of the formerly second place Baltimore Orioles.
Alex Rodriguez has been a huge part of the Yankees’ success so far this season. A shoe-in for comeback player of the year, Rodriguez is belting homeruns at a steroids-era clip and he boasts an on base percentage of .375. There’s no doubt that the Yankees would be nowhere near where they are in the standings without him.
I hate Alex Rodriguez. I’m sure there are a lot of Yankee fans out there who are dealing with the same dilemma as I am – wanting the Yanks to win but wanting A-Rod to fail. It’s a shame that those two things seem to be mutually exclusive. Maybe if the Yanks and Amazin’s had made the Rodriguez-Wright trade as proposed by Short Matt yesterday, then there would be no issue. I would be free to root against Rodriguez every time he got in the batters box. But I have to grin and bear the fact that he’s on my team and he’s doing well.
The Yankees are winning with great starting pitching and a stellar back-end to the bullpen. When CC Sabathia is the fifth starter, things are looking up. With Tanaka, Pineda, Nova and company at the front end and Betances and Andrew Miller at the back end, the Yanks aren’t a team to trifle with. If you haven’t scored your runs by the seventh innning, then you’re probably not going to. The team has a bit of a ’96 feel. That team had Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland at the back end of the bullpen. This team has Betances and Miller.
In ’96 the Bombers went out and got a big bat at the trade deadline. Cecil Fielder was acquired to cover for the struggling Tino Martinez back then. This year at the deadline the Yanks could use a middle infielder that can get a hit every once in awhile. Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius are tough to watch. The two together leave the bottom of the Yankee lineup with little chance of even a productive out. Other than that, there isn’t much I would change right now with the Bombers.
We’ll see what Cashman and company can come up with as July 31st approaches. Whatever the Yankees do at the deadline, it will probably be more than the Mets do. As FSA pointed out earlier on in the week, there is a strong precedent set for the Amazin’s to do absolutely nothing as the trade deadline comes and goes. The Mets are three games out of first place and could really make a push if they pick up a bat or two. But they won’t. So by late August the team will be 8 or 9 games back and sliding down the standings. Wait till next year Mets fans.