Injuries happen to every MLB team over the course of a season, but the Yankees have seemed to make an art form out of it this year. But the issue extends beyond just the seemingly bizarre turn of events. Rather, it has brought to light what has been a pattern of players brought in by general manager Brian Cashman who have been lost to stints on the injured list.
After it was announced earlier this week that Lou Trivino would undergo Tommy John surgery, he became the final player from the 2022 trade deadline that Cashman added to finally succumb to injury since joining the Yanks. A look back on last year’s deadline shows a group that never panned out despite a glowing review for Cashman’s work at the time.
“The more recent moves have not worked out,” Cashman said during a nearly 30-minute chat with reporters on Wednesday. “We haven’t had as much success recently as we’ve had before and I wish certainly, especially last year at the trade deadline, to have gone better.”
Harrison Bader was already hurt when the Yanks traded for him and he was back on the IL to start this season. He did return this week, but he left Wednesday’s game after colliding with Isiah Kiner-Falefa trying to make a catch.
Scott Effross had Tommy John surgery, Frankie Montas had to undergo shoulder surgery and won’t return until later this season, and Andrew Benintendi — who left the Bombers in free agency — suffered a season-ending wrist injury last year.
Even the Yankees’ lone offseason acquisition this year, Carlos Rodon, has been hamstrung by injuries that have kept him from making his debut. At first, he was dealing with a left forearm strain before his back started flaring up and delayed his return.
Cashman said that it was the Yankees holding Rodon back in order for him to be back fully healed when he does step onto the mound in pinstripes.
“I can tell you this I talked to him today. He wanted to throw today,” Cashman said. “He wanted to throw yesterday and he’s chomping at the bit because he wants to pitch. We got the reigns on him right now. … It’s important for us to make sure that we dot every I, crossed every T so we’re not dealing with me having to talk about something like this a month from now why we can’t get him out of the gate because we ignored a stop sign.”
Still, the number of injuries has remained confounding and Cashman could offer few answers as to why his offseason additions haven’t been able to stay healthy. In terms of Rodon, he said that the pitcher, who has a lengthy history of injuries, had gone through a physical and that over the last year and a half, the lefty had been healthy.
Montas, according to Boone, had been someone the Yankees’ GM met with in person and the team had been given full access to the needed information.
“In terms of health, you do your deep dive, medicals, you deal with the players directly,” Cashman said. “You get their feedback, how they are, where they’re at. And if they get hurt, they get hurt after the fact. … I know that we are doing all the deep dives and the checks and the assessments along with the player contributions at the same time. But it doesn’t avoid an injury regardless.”
Cashman was not wrong to call some of the Yankees’ injuries just things that happen during the year. Bader colliding with Kiner-Falefa was a baseball play, as was Jake Bauers’ knee issue after running into the wall to make a catch.
Even Aaron Judge’s recent issues can be looked at as something that could happen during the course of the year, but when the spotlight turns to some of the other injuries this year it raises questions about what the Yankees are doing.
Is there an issue with their medical staff or strength and condition? Are they relying on too many players that come with injury histories that would rival a CVS receipt?
Stanton, for instance, is a major piece of the Yankees lineup, but he is good for an IL stint at least once a season. Naturally, this year it came with so many others already out of the lineup.
Cashman acknowledged that there was a certain risk with players like that, but continued to chalk up the current situation to timing more than anything else. He used Chad Green as an example, explaining to the gathered press inside the Yankees dugout, that the pitcher was someone they figured would have to have Tommy John Surgery at some point, but it was one of those things that you just don’t know when it would come.
“Some guys, you know, you’re aware of what they’ve got. And it’s like a storm cloud that potentially sits on the horizon. Some guys are more predisposed than others in certain things and sometimes it doesn’t happen,” Cashman said. “Our roster has, like everybody’s roster, has guys like that. And ultimately, the worst thing that could happen is when you have a lot of stuff happening at the same time, which is going on with us right now.”