Yankees end of year mailbag: Questions and comments from readers

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Health Issues

August saw the Yankees flounder but never drop farther than the top wild-card spot. One big reason was that several of the Yankees starters were injured. Another, of course, was that Judge struggled.

However, as September approached, it seemed very likely that the team that looked so dominant in April and May might get healthy in time for that last month and beyond.

And I said as much in a piece called, The Yankees are about to get healthy and make the AL East sick, which included the comment that:

"Bird will send Headley back to third; Andujar might send him to the bench. And he could do that as early as four weeks from now. By then, the Yankees might have already added the other three and not only re-created their intimidating first half offense, but improved it."

Please, dear reader, take a moment to note the difference between the, “will,” and the, “might.” As expected, some agreed and some did not. And one even reminded me I forgot about a key player.

"Jack Marshall • 5 months ago Calm down. All of those marks you assume that the injured players are going to return to from earlier in the season were way, waaaay beyond their owners’ established or predicted levels. Interesting that there is no mention of Aaron Judge, who is currently giving a master class in “regression to the mean.” Didi is NOT an 800+ OPS player. Neither is Hicks. Neither is Castro. You’re assuming that Bird will play like a superstar based on Spring Training? This post reads like the things desperate 12-year-old fans of mediocre teams say when they are whistling past the graveyard in March: “If everybody has a great year, we’ll win!” The Yankee offense played over its head in the first half, and reasonable, rational fans knew it was a mirage. I bet you were convinced that Sanchez was going to be Johnny Bench this year too. Right? And by the way, the starting pitching isn’t championship caliber. Hey, but if CC’s knee feels better and he pitches like he did five years ago, watch out! Grow up."

Jack, if you are auditioning for the role of my new dad, you got the part!

But I did not base my assumptions about Bird strictly on Spring Training. He was always projected as a top hitter, produced every year he was healthy in the minors, and he was once the Arizona Fall League MVP. Cashman said he considered him the Yankees’ top prospect in 2015.

Still, you were right to be suspect as he has not done it in the majors. And he still has not put together even close to a full season. Others were more circumspect, though.

"Michael Bennett • 5 months ago We’ll see. Jack is dead wrong about Did and Castro, they’ve both been steadily improving year to year, they’re right where they’ve been projected to be. Hicks…I’m really curious to see if he can pick up where he left off, hitting wise, his other tools are fine. As far as the Bird saga, I looked it up – there are 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles in the foot. How in the world can those 14,397 docs all miss the fracture of the one friggin bone? Was it something that only exploratory surgery can find? If not, they should do exploratory surgery on those guys heads to see if they have unnecessary or unused brain cells floating around up there."

"john doe • 5 months ago Did you forget about Todd Frazier? Where does he go when “Bird sends Headley back to third” or when “Andujar sends Headley to the bench”?"

Yes, yes, I did. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa.

Now, John, in fairness to me I said Andujar “might” send him to the bench. But you were right, and so was I. Bird did indeed send Headley back to third, where he split time with Frazier. I think it might even be fair to argue that he was more important than Chase. Good on you, John.