3 Yankees who should be buried on depth chart after latest embarrassments

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees / Luke Hales/GettyImages

The New York Yankees have played embarrassingly over 20-game stretches in 2022, 2023 and 2024. In fact, they've gone 5-15 in a 20-game period in each of those seasons after doing so only three times total in the seasons between 1996-2021. Huh! Almost like the leadership that authored these repetitive slides should be challenged in some way.

5-15 stretches clearly aren't a death knell for MLB teams. Plenty of World Series champions have battled back against them and come out on the other side, notably the 2016 Chicago Cubs. But they have been a killer for this team in particular; Aaron Boone has been completely unable to steer either the 2022 or 2023 Yankees out of their campaign-defining skids in time. 2024 doesn't feel much different, especially not after Boone repeated his nonsensical "It's all right out there in front of us" mantra once more on Sunday night in a bout of self-parody. Crafting a comeback no longer feels plausible without some major change.

That means it's time to take out this unyielding slump on several players who've been responsible for disastrous outcome after disastrous outcome, as well as low-effort plays along the way. Anthony Volpe's been moved down in the batting order already, and that's likely the only punishment he should suffer (though he should also be reminded that running is both fun and good). Gleyber Torres is nursing an injury; there's not much more than can be done on that front until the Yankees decide to elevate Jorbit Vivas. As for the rest ... they could use some solemn moments of self-reflection.

3 Yankees players who should slide down depth chart after sucking life out of season

DJ LeMahieu

Every time DJ LeMahieu rolls over a ground ball to the left side meekly, an Angel fires Billy Martin.

LeMahieu's best days -- and yes, angry Yankee fans, those really did exist in 2019-20 -- are now behind him, and his repeated foot injuries seem to have sapped any semblance of consistent exit velocity. They've also rendered his full effort moot, apparently, as Boone claimed over the weekend that LeMahieu's perceived "lack of hustle" on a fielder's choice Friday night was a full-speed sprint. If so, LeMahieu -- who was receiving treatment at the time and didn't comment -- has a good excuse for some time off. If that's his max capacity, he's not healthy enough to play Major League Baseball.

Regrettably, LeMahieu the Clutch Machine is no more. While he delivered twice on Saturday, he was back to more of his poor form in a Sunday night stinker. The Yankees are now 1-7 in their past eight Sunday Night Baseball games against the Red Sox, and LeMahieu's double off the wall was quickly erased by the later pain of watching Rafael "Brooks Robinson" Devers gun him down on a play neither party had any business making (Devers the defense, LeMahieu the sprint speed).

Whether he gave up on Friday's grounder or not, a .196 average in his past 30 games isn't worth prioritizing over a potential spark plug like Vivas, or a midseason addition. Whether his oddball circling of a grounder down the line against the Mets represented a bad hop or bad faith, his .227 slugging in the same period doesn't merit repeated defenses. It's time for a shuffle here.

Caleb Ferguson

Good news: it's already started! Ferguson has officially been deprioritized, appearing in zero games of the Red Sox series over the weekend. He didn't pop into any high-leverage situations Friday night. He didn't handle any blowout innings Saturday: those went to Tim Hill and Josh Maciejewski, and they went quite well. He wasn't tapped Sunday night in another squeaker.

The only place left for him to go is "DFA," and sadly, that's what's being proposed here.

The Yankees' bullpen isn't exactly stacked with premium solutions, but if Hill/Maciejewski have mop-up duty handled, and if the Magic Man has options, Ferguson shouldn't be carried around any longer just for the sake of "having a veteran arm in place who the team doesn't feel comfortable using". Perhaps his strikeout rate will help him normalize production in the second half, but this dead-in-the-water team should at least be taking worthwhile risks right now. What does Ferguson do that Jack Neely doesn't?

Trent Grisham

Since a semi-June surge that seemed to have him poised for more playing time, Grisham has let his on-field enthusiasm do the talking. Nobody swings less often at pitches in the zone than the Yankees' defensive specialist. Since his dramatic home run against the Dodgers on Sunday Night Baseball (coincidentally the date of Clay Holmes' last save!), his certified Moments have been few and far between. In case his lack of production wasn't enough of an argument, his lackadaisical effort on a fumbled single -- which allowed a hustling Red to reach second while he showed very little interest in impeding his progress -- merited an immediate demotion.

Somehow, Boone moved him up in the lineup the next day, kicking off a weekend of obscene excusemaking with a real whopper here, somehow twisting Grisham's obvious fumble around to represent an example of his carefree excellence? If not for Anthony Volpe claiming a double play ball was foul, and therefore he didn't need to run, it would've been the weekend's idiotic highlight.

If not for Ben Rice's showcase game on Saturday, this would represent the Yankees' franchise's lowest point of the modern era. Still, we can't allow Rice's heroics to deflect from just how much laissez-faire attitude is currently being harbored here. Boone's time should be up -- but, in the meantime, these three players should take the brunt of the on-field penalties.