The Yankees are playing a dangerous game.
General manager Brian Cashman made the proverbial wager that his team — which is ravaged by injuries — will get and stay healthy over the last 25 games of the truncated 2020 MLB season.
Rather than give up a highly-touted young player for arms to aid a beleaguered and injured bullpen, the Yankees passed.
No Mike Clevinger, no Trevor Bauer, no Josh Hader, no Ken Giles, no Ian Kennedy, no Archie Bradley. Nothing.
And Cashman didn’t hide the fact that he was looking to bolster his arsenal of arms.
“Without a doubt, the effort was to try to get — whether it was a controllable starter moving forward or even a short-term starter — to continue to give ourselves a better chance,’’ Cashman said Monday. “But the price tag associated was usually a subtraction of an impactful player that was currently playing a role or anticipated to play a very important role for this franchise in the present or immediate future.”
The Yankees knew heading into the season that they weren’t going to have Luis Severino because of Tommy John surgery undergone in February.
But this season has seen almost all of their starters not named Gerrit Cole stricken by the injury bug, including James Paxton, who is currently on the IL because of a forearm issue.
In the bullpen, the Yankees lost Tommy Kahnle for the season in early-August while Zack Britton is working his way back from a hamstring issue.
It’s left the Yankees’ ranks beleaguered and somewhat depleted. And now it’s leaving the organization to rely on something it hasn’t had over the last two seasons: Health.
Last season, they led the league with 2,776 man games lost, which featured notable names such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Severino. This season, they’ve already lost over 230, per Spotrac.
A conservative Cashman has become commonplace over the years, but 2020 was supposed to be the Yankees’ season to add World Series No. 28 to the trophy case — even if it’s coming in a shortened anomaly that is the 60-game schedule.
Not doing anything to improve the team or maintain its depth could be something that comes back to haunt them.