The New York Yankees are, at best, an imperfect product awaiting the return of the best hitter in baseball. At worst? Save for an excellent month of May, they've been roughly a .500 team since mid-June last season. After collecting an extended data set, it sure looks like this team's offense is meh, and only getting meh-er.
Is there a way to fix all this before 2024? Did the Yankees really "run it back" after being swept out of the ALCS by the Astros, or did all their supposed improvements just dissolve in the same way that many past adjustments have? Was it fair to believe in a bounce back from several fan-favorite veterans, or is nothing in Yankee Land ever fair these days?
Either way, the Yankees have a number of problems that can't be immediately solved, perpetrated by some supposedly core members of the lineup. Unfortunately, that has placed the burden on a few vulnerable players, who might be working with a shorter leash than they should be. Struggling in the nine hole for a first-place team? Figure it out. Bouncing around the lineup of a league-worst offense in June struggling to stay in the playoff race? Yeah, we might not have time for this.
With the All-Star break (and Aaron Judge's...return?) less than a month away, it's time for the Yankees to make some difficult choices before the season melts away like a soft serve cone in the bleachers.
3 difficult roster decisions Yankees must make before All-Star Break
Is there room for Oswald Peraza on Yankees' roster? Does Anthony Volpe go down?
To demote, or not to demote will be the Anthony Volpe question all year long. He began with a strong enough April, but regressed in May, then regressed further in June. One chicken parm video session got him closer to his peak, but not close enough to sustainability; his doubleheader performance against the Red Sox on Sunday was more of the same. His struggles with the fastball have led to pitchers taking full advantage of his sudden jumpiness, retiring him with either heaters in his theoretical hot zone or breaking stuff down and away. It's become routine.
Is there anything more for him to learn at Triple-A that he couldn't figure out against big-league pitching, really? At this point, it might not matter. He might require a mental reset regardless.
Whether or not Volpe does go down, the team has to consider bringing fellow top prospect Oswald Peraza up. The 23-year-old Peraza has responded as well as possible to his post-spring training demotion, hitting .292 with 11 homers and a .923 OPS, most of his production coming after recovering from the injury he sustained on the bases in the Bronx earlier in the season. Add in the Estevan Florial conundrum, and it's tough to argue the scuffling Yankees are currently putting their best offensive foot forward.
Maybe the necessary corresponding move involves Volpe taking a gap month in Scranton. Or maybe it's something else...