Yankees 2017 Season: How To Make Lemonade Out Of Lemons

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees, in 2017, are proving, that when management steps in to make to make decisive and intelligent baseball decisions regarding their personnel, that it’s easy to make lemonade out of lemons

When the Yankees began the 2017 season, let’s be honest. Can you think of another player besides Masahiro Tanaka who you didn’t have some concern? And were you happy with the decisions the front office made as Spring Training as to which players made the cut versus the others who were sent down?

And how’d you feel about the idea of the Yankees going through another season with Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Brett Gardner penciled into the everyday lineup? At the same time, were you wondering if CC Sabathia had mastered the art of pitching without a devasting fastball in the way he showed the second half of the season. And on and on and on.

Brian Cashman was the first to step in and lay down some caveats for the season, and Joe Girardi followed right behind him with a plan to make lemonade out of the lemons they were confronted with.

First, though, they needed a plan. And together they came up with one that created a recipe that that is destined to be saved and used again. Here’s the formula.

Don’t Go Picking Lemons In Another Farmer’s Grove

With the exception of adding Matt Holliday to the team over the winter, the Yankees sat back and did absolutely nothing, despite the ongoing cries from the media, myself included, that they needed to do “something.”

After all, these are the Yankees. They play with the big boys with big money. But, they held back spending only on Aroldis Chapman, who was in their back pocket anyway as soon as he was rented to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for, guess who?

If It Ain’t Ripe, Don’t Pick It

Brian Cashman was barraged incessantly about promoting Gleyber Torres to the big league squad. The pressure on Cashman increased when Didi Gregorius went down with an injury that forced him out of the Opening Day lineup.

More from Yanks Go Yard

Meanwhile, Torres does nothing but light it up in the Arizona Fall League seizing the Most Valuable Player award and following that up with a spring that could not be avoided concerning his ongoing production with the bat.

Cashman said no, and not it was, claiming that Torres posed some interesting questions for him, but in the long run, he was best suited for further seasoning in the minors.

Don’t Pick The Low Hanging Fruit

When Joe Girardi first looked at his starting rotation, he had to have been thinking that he needed to have one more guy, in addition to Takaka, who could make the Yankees a viable threat in the AL East, putting them on par with Boston’s Chris Sale and David Price.

And there was one of those sweet, big fat lemons, just waiting to be picked over there in Chicago. Never mind that it might have cost you a couple of bushels of your prize lemons, just go for it.

Again, Cashman reneged, perhaps deciding to take a wait and see approach as to how the Yankees rotation would shake out.

As a footnote, Jose Quintana is currently 0-4 for the Chicago White Sox and is sporting an ERA of 6.17.

Sprinkle In  A Lime If You Don’t Have A Lemon

. The Yankees found themselves without a starting shortstop when Gregorius went down. A big problem no doubt, but Girardi stepped in to pick a five-foot-five 150 lb Ronald Torreyes to replace him and the rest, as they say, is history.

But the current recipe is working well, and the Yankees might do well to not push anything to the point where it upsets the “lemon cart”

Make no mistake, Torreyes is not Gregorius. But you have to ask yourself, where would the team be without him? Masterful, on the part of Girardi.

So then, Gary Sanchez goes down and what do we have except the same thing. Does Brian Cashman immediately get on the phone to acquire some hand-me-down recycled catcher, or does the team of he and Girardi decide, Hey, what’s wrong with Austin Romine?  Again, the results are in the numbers we’ve seen Romine putting up.

See A Lemon You Like, Don’t Be Afraid To Pick It

Greg Bird has been an anomaly for Joe Girardi all season. But as Girardi looked up at that tree in the grove, something about this lemon appeals to him. He has options. Cashman just spent $3+ million to acquire Chris Carter, and he could justifiably insert Carter in there.

But he chooses not to. Because he has a baseball feel that his lemon is soon to turn into lemonade.

Girardi had the same feeling about Jordan Montgomery when he had this “curiosity” about him that led to his injection into the Yankees rotation as the fifth starter.

And Finally, Don’t Add Too Much Sugar

The temptation will be there in July to add a bit more sugar to the team. And once again, it will be up to Cashman to hold the fort before the pressure to unload prospects in favor that “one guy” who can make the difference for the Yankees this season.

There are prospects in the Yankees system who are expendable either because they are blocked by players on the 25-man roster for the foreseeable future, or because they are not expected to “reach their Harvard” anytime soon.

Cashman has shown a talent for making deals that leave the Yankees on the plus side, and if he sees one, he should,  and will, make it.

But the current recipe is working well, and the Yankees might do well to not push anything to the point where it upsets the “lemon cart” with any significant additions or subtractions. Because so far, this lemonade is tasting mighty good.