Priming The Panic Button For Our New York Yankees

new york yankees

Three games over .500 with a +13 run differential and in LAST PLACE. The New York Yankees are treading water within a deep chasm. Prime the panic button.

Prepare for the intense sports debate that only sibling rivalry can conjure. Seesaw Sports, where Dan Salem and Todd Salem throw down on the NFL, MLB, NBA and more. Only on BuzzChomp. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.


As we enter the second week of May and barrel toward Memorial Day, the first real checkpoint of the MLB season, the New York Yankees sit with a record of 20-17 (as of May 10th). They have a +13 run differential. Considering all their injuries, they have done relatively well to hang tough.

As we enter the second week of May, the New York Yankees sit in last place in the AL East. This division has been so good, it is on pace to set a record for best performance against non-divisional opponents. All five teams have a record above .500, and all five teams have a positive run differential. The Yankees, in fact, at three games over .500, sit a full game out of fourth place and nine games back of first (as of May 10th). It is wild.

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So, what’s the true reality? Have the Yankees performed admirably and are in good position to thrive once injured players return? Plausible, considering their record and road bumps. Or are they in such an inhospitable divisional home that even this mediocre start sets them too far behind to contend? Prime the panic button for this truth.


New York Yankees Priming the Panic Button

new york yankees
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


Todd Salem: Ready To Panic

As we said to start, Memorial Day is the real barometer. The Yanks still have some time before they need to push the panic button. I mean, for goodness’ sake, the Pittsburgh Pirates have lost seven consecutive games and are still in first place in the NL Central! Early season results are finicky.

Despite the long way to go, what this really comes down to for the Yankees is how good do we think this team will be the rest of the way, and is that enough to make up half a dozen games in the standings against good teams in their own right? I’m leaning toward being worried.

First, as mentioned, are the injury issues. One list had New York with the most games missed and most salary on the IL of anyone in the league to this point. If you’ve followed this team through six weeks, it’s not surprising. The problem is a lot of the hurt guys aren’t coming back any time soon, if at all. 

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Trivino, Loaisiga, Efross are huge bullpen pieces. They are gone for the long haul, which brings arguably the strength of the team to something ordinary. Rodon and Montas are out indefinitely in the rotation, with questions remaining for Severino as well. The rotation was legitimately supposed to be one of the best in the sport. Even as Domingo German excels, there aren’t enough healthy Major League-caliber arms right now. 

The lineup was already kind of thin to start the year. With Judge and Stanton out, it feels like one of the feeblest lineups in all of baseball, a far cry from what you’d normally associate with the Bronx Bombers. Even with Judge returning, the lineup is shallow. We are relying on a number of young guys who can’t hit their weight and a number of quad-A types who were jettisoned by other clubs. 

I was high on this team in the preseason because of the pitching, not because of the lineup. Injuries have now forced the lineup to carry the club, and it isn’t equipped to do so. I don’t see a readily available solution. On top of that, the four teams ahead of NY in the AL East are all playoff-caliber. I suspect Baltimore and Boston will fade because of their lack of starting pitching, but that still leaves two more teams of presumably premiere quality. It is still so early in the season, and yet the start these teams have had makes it tough to make up ground. Everything is stacked against New York.


new york yankees
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images


Dan Salem: Not Quite Good Enough

Our New York Yankees remain in the top 10 in bullpen ERA and are doing quite well in terms of starting rotation ERA as well. Yet these numbers don’t fully reflect our post-injury lineup, because this team did in fact begin the season quite strong. They appeared more or less healthy and looked sharp, until they were no longer either of those things.

Judge returning, along with Harrison Bader finding his bat after returning to the lineup from his own injury, will provide a huge jolt to New York’s offense. That being said, I don’t see it. I don’t see a complete lineup that can hang with the best teams in the sport. Nor do I see a pitching staff that can stay healthy enough to be dominant. What truly scares me is that I’ve identified a pattern.

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What derailed the New York Yankees last season? They got hurt and were not the same team afterwards. A massively impressive first half could not be matched even remotely because of injuries and a failure to patch holes or get guys back on the field in the manner in which they had left. Don’t misunderstand me; we are talking about the difference between a playoff team and a championship team. Not the Athletics versus the Rays. These Yankees are not a championship team.

There is a saving grace in all these less than stellar outcomes. New York is currently taking the opposite trajectory to last year, when they were the toast of the American League until the All-star break. What are the odds that all of Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore and Boston cool off in August and September, if not sooner? Very high. Only a rare perfect storm allows a team to dominate from April through September. The Rays this year appear as good as our Yankees did last year, but it’s not sustainable.  The 2023 Yankees are a playoff team and the MLB Playoffs clean the slate. If we’re hurt now, then maybe we are super healthy later. The opposite was true last season, so the optimist in me is hoping for a reversal. I’ll let this team prove it first before I get excited. They are boringly average right now.


Meet our New York Yankees Writers:

Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Writer, and Co-owner of BuzzChomp. He’s a published author, as well as an award winning Actor, Director and Producer. Visit M Square Productions for his film work, or get lost in his old-school comedy on Pillow Talk TV. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Todd Salem is a Staff Writer and Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also a fantasy football and fantasy baseball Staff Writer for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter or comment below for his unfiltered opinions.

New York Yankees Photo Credits: via Tom Pennington/Getty Images and via Getty Images

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