The 2021 New York Yankees paved the way for the 2022 New York Yankees to underwhelm at the trade deadline by undercutting their previous solid moves. What, you think the Yankees invented that move this season? No, no, my friend. Before “Jordan Montgomery for Harrison Bader,” there was Andrew Heaney’s arrival, securing some nebulous pitching depth just before the horn because Brian Cashman seemed to believe he could solve a problem like Maria.
At the time, Heaney was an eternally-frustrating top-pick left-hander with a hittable fastball. There were stats floating all around indicating Heaney could become a weapon, if only he could change X, harness Y, and develop Z. During his two months with the Yankees, he didn’t do any of the above, and when New York ended up tied with Boston for a playoff spot, Heaney’s many meltdowns were a major reason why.
It’s no wonder the left-hander doesn’t seem to even consider that season to be part of his career, based on what he told the media over the weekend after the world-beating 2022 Dodgers clinched their own playoff berth three weeks before the season’s conclusion.
Heaney popped champagne with the rest of his teammates over the weekend (in subdued fashion, probably, as they await the NL West clinch and likely postseason success) and gushed to gathered reporters about what it means to him to finally be on a playoff team, as opposed to his well-decorated teammates.
Only problem? He was on a playoff team literally last season.
Andrew Heaney forgets playing for Yankees as Dodgers clinch playoff berth
This begs many questions. Did the Yankees ban Heaney from celebrating last October’s Game 162 clinch? Did they make him stay in the corner while everyone tore Aaron Judge’s jersey off? Does he not consider the Wild Card Game to be the postseason? In that way, could he actually be … the truest Yankee of all? He did dominate the Red Sox in a momentum-changing doubleheader sweep last year … no, no. Can’t entertain that at all. He’s still a homer-prone five-inning pitcher who needs a piggyback.
Heaney has, of course, found his rhythm with the Dodgers, just like many other former Yankees who’ve finally figured things out after they left. He’s still a strange hurler, though, with a remarkable 84 strikeouts in 57 innings in the “plus” column and, well … only 57 innings in the “minus” column.
Heaney’s battled multiple shoulder injuries this season, and his recent work has been more solid than spectacular (six earned against the Giants, five runs in Milwaukee). There’s a good chance he can contribute in October, but be forewarned: he’s doesn’t transition to a bullpen role as naturally as the Dodgers are hoping he will, which Yankees fans saw firsthand last year.
Or maybe they didn’t? Maybe the Heaney Era never actually happened. Probably better off that way.