Some random thoughts following a busy Thursday in Yankees Universe:
1. Yanks lose to Rays
The Yankees were looking to sweep the last place Rays at Tropicana Field last night. It did not happen. Part of the 2-0 Rays win was the relief outing of former Yankee, Chase Whitley. The Yankees are 3-8 since the season high seven game winning streak earlier this month. We all became accustomed to this talk of a Wild Card spot that emerged in the six weeks since the sell off off. A playoff spot for these Yankees was never supposed to be and now it appears it definitely won't be this season.
2. Yanks Trade Phil Coke to Pirates
Who haven't the Yankees traded to Pittsburgh? Coke, who was a member of the 2009 Championship Yankees and appeared in three games for the Yankees this season was part of the playoff push for the Yank's top farm club, AAA champion Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Now Coke becomes another former Yankee trying to raise the "Jolly Roger" in Pittsburgh. In return, the Yankees were given some cash, which is about as boring a story as any Yankees fan can read. Recent Yankee trades have netted prospects. Not this time. Trades made on September 23rd of any year don't amount to much. This one certainly did not. Nice to know Brian Cashman is still engaging fellow general managers at what is usually a dead time on the calendar. That type of activity might come in handy over this coming off season.
3. Yanks Announce Masahiro Tanaka Will Skip His Next Start
They say the injury is so minor, Tanaka will not throw for five days and then he will be good to go for his final start of the season. What really is the point of Tanaka even trying to pitch again this year? My guess is they won't shut Tanaka down until the Yankees are officially eliminated, which could be settled in the upcoming series at Toronto. Of course, the Yankees might roll out Tanaka one more time on the final home stand and see if they can get five innings out of their ace. It's just a hunch that they don't even try. If they don't try, Tanaka finishes the season just one third of an inning shy of 200 innings. CC Sabathia was the last Yankees hurler to throw 200 plus innings back in 2013.
4. Gary Sanchez is a Beast!! (Just in case you haven't noticed)
Gary Sanchez never hit more than 18 home runs in any minor league season. He has hit 19 in the majors, since his early August call up. For a full season, Sanchez is on pace to exceed 70 home runs, which isn't going to happen. Graig Nettles went on a homer binge to start the 1974 season with 11 April home runs. Nettles finished 1974 with 22 home runs, so they can come in bunches. The read here is Sanchez comes back to earth with his homer happy ways. The other read is Sanchez has established himself as the Yankees number one catcher. The same cannot be said for other young players like Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Tyler Austin, who must continue to work out some deficiencies in their respective games. Joe Girardi has stated there will be some competition for open spots on the roster and some among the Yankees' youth might have to start 2017 at AAA.
5. Luis Severino Is Demonstrating Why He Belongs In the Majors
But the question remains, should Severino be a starter or remain in the bullpen, where he has been most effective? Since being added to the roster as part of the September call-ups. Severino has allowed one earned run in 15 innings, all out of the bullpen. Expect Severino to be part of the competition for a starting role along with Luis Cessa, Chad Green (if healthy), Bryan Mitchell and probably one veteran, CC Sabathia, to name a few contenders. A trade or two this winter might change the landscape, but Severino appears to be part of the Yankees future.
So, Thursday was not a great day in Yankees Universe. Not great when eleven reach base and nobody scores. Luis Cessa pitched well, as did Severino. Sanchez had no hits but walked twice. Still, the positives include Sanchez has arrived, Severino is on the comeback trail and Cessa may be a legitimate rotation candidate for 2017. Tanaka has become an ace and there may be cause for concern, but he is reasonably healthy, if reports are accurate.
Such is a day in the life of the New York Yankees. We may not like the results of the day but there are some nice silver linings.