Here are three players who the Yankees likely still wish they had on their current roster.
The 2020 MLB playoffs have finally arrived and the New York Yankees, despite their glaring inconsistencies this season, remain among the favorites to win it all — at least, they can’t be counted out. Though the offense went cold in the final week, it’s obviously still right up there as one of the deepest and most dangerous of the remaining teams.
Fans in the Bronx will just have to hope that the lineup’s clutch gene doesn’t fade like it did in their last two postseason journeys beyond the initial rounds. As crazy as it sounds, the Yankees’ pitching — which was widely said to be their most glaring weakness — ultimately proved to be their biggest strength during the 2019 playoffs. At some point, both sides have to click at the same time in October, and there’s no reason to think it couldn’t be this year.
Like every team in the postseason, however, the Yankees have a number of concerning holes on the roster. The majority of them can be found in the starting rotation and bullpen, as the offense has the depth to overcome the struggles of two or three hitters.
In other words, this puts a ton of more pressure on the Yankees’ pitching staff and it goes without saying that the club could really use some former players who general manager Brian Cashman let get away in recent seasons. Here are the first three that come to mind.
3. Justus Sheffield
It might be time for Yankees fans to start thinking about whether trading for James Paxton was a mistake. When you consider that the 31-year-old southpaw will hit free agency at season’s end and is unlikely to be re-signed, New York essentially traded for one season of solid starting pitching and a season-saving ALCS Game 5 start.
It’d be an entirely different story had the Yankees captured a championship in 2019, but that obviously wasn’t the case. Lofty expectations were set on Paxton entering this year, and injuries unfortunately limited him to five starts. If that puts on a bow on his tenure in the Bronx, he delivered a 4.16 ERA and 1.304 WHIP across 171 innings (34 starts).
The Yankees, of course, acquired Paxton in exchange for touted southpaw Justus Sheffield, who put together a solid debut campaign with Seattle in 2020, finishing 4-3 with a 3.58 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 10 starts. We all know how valuable lefties are come playoff time, and the budding 24-year-old would undoubtedly have a role to play — most likely out of the bullpen — on this Yankees roster.