With MLB's postseason still knocking off teams, Bally Sports is reviewing the performance of each club with a look at what happened in 2021 and what could happen next season.
Our next Exit Interview is with the New York Yankees.
What went right
• They won 92 games and advanced to the American League Wild Card Game, marking their 57th appearance in the postseason in franchise history, including 23 of the past 27 seasons.
• After many doubted he would return to a regular big-league rotation, Corey Kluber threw a no-hitter in May and posted a 3.83 ERA in 16 starts overall.
• Giancarlo Stanton played in 139 games, his most since 2018 after missing nearly half of the shortened COVID-19 pandemic season and all but 18 games in 2019. Stanton hit .273/.354/.516 with 35 home runs and 63 walks.
• Right-hander Gerrit Cole posted a 2.78 ERA in his first 26 starts and was a top favorite for the AL Cy Young award until an injury coincided with a late-season decline.
• Jonathan Loaisiga became the best pitcher in a good bullpen, striking out 69 in 70 2/3 innings and posting a 2.17 ERA.
• The Yankees paid out more than $203 million in salaries but avoided surpassing the luxury tax threshold. (Did this go “right” or “wrong”?)
What went wrong
• They fell in the AL Wild Card to their nemesis, the Boston Red Sox, and have failed to win the World Series for the 12th straight season.
• Cole struggled for a bit when umpires started checking pitchers for tacky substances, but he adjusted and began stringing together effective starts. He tailed off at the end of the season, posting a 6.93 ERA and opponent’s slash line of .348/.412/.674 in his final five starts after going on the injured list because of a strained hamstring. He also had a short and ineffective performance in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night.
• They finished 19th in runs scored (13th in the second half) and got above-average offensive performances from only Aaron Judge, Stanton, Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit (in limited time).
• Deadline acquisition Joey Gallo hit .160/.303/.404 with 13 homers, 37 walks and 88 strikeouts in 58 games. Gleyber Torres continued his slide, batting .259/.331/.366 with nine homers in 127 games. DJ LeMahieu did not repeat his remarkable short-season performance at the plate, batting .268/.349/.362 with 10 homers and 73 walks in 150 games. He ended the season on the injured list because of a hip/groin strain.
• Voit, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andújar missed significant time because of injuries
• Gary Sánchez hit 23 homers, but he struck out 121 times and slashed .204/.307/.423 in 440 plate appearances.
• Sidewinder Darren O’Day and lefty Zach Britton missed most of the season with injuries.
• They finished in the bottom third in team defense via the Fielding Bible and MLB’s outs above average rankings.
• Playing in his most games since 2017, Judge batted .287/.373/.544 with 39 home runs, 98 RBIs and 75 walks in 633 plate appearances. He finished 14th in fWAR. He was a plus player on defense, scoring nine runs saved via Fielding Bible.
• It was only five innings, but Stephen Ridings looked great with seven strikeouts and two walks allowed. He’s 6-foot-8 and throws 97-98 mph.
Reasons for optimism
• Left-hander Jordan Montgomery posted a 3.83 ERA in 30 starts. Jameson Taillon made 29 starts after many physical difficulties had prevented his full participation since 2018. Nestor Cortes Jr. made 14 starts and finished with a 2.90 ERA in 22 total appearances. Rookie righty Luis Gil had a 3.07 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings over six starts.
• In 2022, Gallo probably will settle down during spring training and hit like he did with the Rangers.
• Cole is still a great pitcher and should be the top candidate for AL Cy Young again in 2022.
What needs work
• The Yankees need to decide if manager Aaron Boone is their guy for the long haul. He has a .601 career winning percentage, but he also manages a team with the Yankees’ resources. He is 11-11 in the playoffs.
• They could bring back Kluber as a free agent, but it also might behoove the Yankees to spend big bucks on another starting pitcher. Is Max Scherzer going to want to come to New York? Maybe not, but they should throw three years and $100 million at him. Stealing Robbie Ray away from the Blue Jays would be an incredible twofer. You know what George Steinbrenner would do? Roll the dice on Carlos Rodón.
• Carlos Correa would look great at shortstop. They need better catchers. They need a better center fielder.
• The broadcasts won’t be the same without Ken Singleton, who is retiring.
Watch for more MLB Exit Interviews as the dominoes fall in the playoffs. Check out our earlier MLB Exit Interviews below.