3 Yankees players who need to step up before it’s too late

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A win over the Seattle Mariners with Gerrit Cole on the mound won't change the outlook of the New York Yankees after what fans have seen since Aaron Judge went down with his toe injury. And even before that, plenty of players were failing to carry their weight.

But now we're reaching a critical point. It's the end of June. The All-Star break is almost here. The trade deadline is barely six weeks away. General manager Brian Cashman will have plenty of tough decisions to make if this team fails to get in some sort of rhythm, with or without Judge.

The fact of the matter is that the supporting cast around the reigning MVP needs to be better than this if the Yankees want a chance to win the World Series in 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026! The outlook doesn't get better heading into any of those seasons, and it's looking particularly bleak right now when it seemed like this was supposed to be "the year" with Carlos Rodón, Frankie Montas, Harrison Bader and others expected to be in the fold.

Spoiler alert: injuries have once again left us wondering what this team is actually capable of. But that's not an excuse for some players, even some that dealt with ailments to begin the season. With some undefined situations and murky futures, there's no question these three players need to start turning their play around before it's too late.

Yankees players who need to turn their seasons around now

Anthony Volpe

When scouts are worried about Anthony Volpe's swing to the point where they think he might need a demotion to Triple-A, then, yeah, it's time to fret a bit. Volpe has gradually regressed this season after a promising-ish start in April. Apparently, he had to take matters into his own hands to determine a mechanical issue with his swing ... but that also hasn't yielded the proper results.

His defense has also left a lot to be desired. He's struggled with routine plays and definitely needs his footwork/angles to be a bit more refined (to compensate for his less-than-stellar arm). At first, his defense was a breath of fresh air because fans were accustomed to two unnatural shortstops in Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa the last three seasons, but the most important position on the field is still lacking elite defense. That needs to be fixed, especially if Volpe isn't an offensive contributor.

Statistically, he's one of the worst full-time hitters in MLB. He's batting .191 with a .265 OBP, .614 OPS and 70 OPS+. He's stolen just two bases since May 14 (through Tuesday's play). He has three walks since May 25. One homer since May 31. The Yankees claim he won't be demoted, but at what point does this play become too detrimental to the roster?