There's plenty to discuss about what's wrong with the New York Yankees. We do it every day. Social media is a cesspool. Sports talk radio has reached new heights of idiocy. But since when did SNY turn into "First Take"?
On the surface, the Yankees aren't succeeding because they have a poorly constructed roster that quickly falls apart when one or two injuries occur. That's been the case since 2020 and the team hasn't been able to recover from it.
Brian Cashman's to blame for that. Aaron Boone is surely a "capable" manager, but he's definitely not a motivator and he lacks the necessary experience most of his other peers have.
Then you have the players. Gerrit Cole let this team down in 2021 and 2022. Bummer. Giancarlo Stanton is the definition of injury prone and continues to fall off a cliff as his play becomes more and more one-dimensional by the hour. DJ LeMahieu conveniently started coming down with countless ailments after signing his extension. Every trade acquisition has failed. Gleyber Torres' 2020-2022 stretch was detrimental beyond words. Aroldis. Chapman.
We can write a thesis on each of these players and have they've contributed to the Yankees' World Series window closing, but even the most unforgiving fans will draw the line at Aaron Judge. Not gonna happen.
Insane SNY take on Aaron Judge takes Yankees discourse to new toxic heights
Sal Licata of SNY and WFAN wondered if Judge was to blame for the Yankees' lack of success since 2018. On the one hand, yes, Judge's postseason performance needs to be better. He's certainly come up short and has played a role in bitter postseason exits.
But are we really going to fault him for carrying the team during the regular season in 2021 and 2022? What about in 2023, before he rammed into a concrete slab at Dodger Stadium?
Oh, and that's the other thing! Judge is not "injury prone." That term is reserved for players who are rarely ever on the field because they're constantly dinged up with minor injuries. Judge's freak accidents don't apply. Back in 2018, he was hit on the wrist with a fastball. Nothing anybody can do about that. In 2019, after injuring his oblique, he punctured a lung and broke a rib (and played through it) after making a diving play. Then we have the 2023 toe injury that was, like 2019, the result of an all-out effort play and incredibly bad luck because the Dodgers still have an outdated stadium design.
Hold Judge accountable all you want for his oblique issue and calf strain (2020) if you'd like, but those are the only two lengthy injuries that played a role in holding the Yankees back (and his oblique issue actually didn't because the 2019 Yankees were a machine).
Judge is the reigning MVP and arguably the game's best hitter when he's healthy. He's playing right now in what was a last-ditch effort to save a helpless roster that was completely incompetent without him. He can't be blamed for not putting the team on his back when he isn't 100% and when pitchers are giving him the Bonds treatment because they'd rather pitch to the other feckless hitters in the starting lineup.
Judge is hitting .281 with a 1.030 OPS. There's only so much one singular player on a baseball team can do. Do we hear anybody getting on Mike Trout for the Angels' inability to make the postseason over the last decade? No, because that roster is poorly built and is constantly mismanaged. That's what the Yankees have replicated -- a middling roster surrounding a singular star player who is incapable of delivering in every moment because baseball is a game of failure. Are we forgetting that, too?
At least we know Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 was the breaking point. The Yankees' awful play officially took the discourse off the rails and into a canyon.