Where do the Yankees go from here?


Jeffrey Hayes | Wikimedia Commons

Joseph Sappir

The New York Yankees’ 2022 season is over as the Houston Astros humiliated them in the American League Championship Series with a four-game sweep. The Astros have eliminated the Yankees from the postseason four times in the last eight seasons.

The team’s loss makes it 13 years since its last World Series championship. The Yankees have reached the playoffs consistently, but fail to make it to the World Series each year.

But unlike prior postseason exits, this one felt different. For many fans, it felt like the end of an era, as the Yankees seem as though they need to make big changes to return to the World Series.

The Yankees came into this year’s ALCS as clear underdogs. Their historic 61-23 start seemed like a distant memory as they stumbled to a 99-63 finish, clinching the American League East pennant on Sept. 28.

They defeated the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Division Series in five games, setting up a highly anticipated matchup with the Houston Astros. Not only had the Astros beaten the Yankees in the postseason three times since 2015, but they were also proven to have cheated against the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS, using an elaborate scheme to steal signs.

Fans wanted revenge, chanting “we want Houston” outside Yankee Stadium after Game 5 of the ALDS. Even Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman had a score to settle. Before the start of the 2022 season, he described the scandal to The Athletic’s Andy McCullough as “something that was so illegal and horrific.” The talk of the 13-year World Series drought offended him as he explained the Astros’ cheating was the only thing that kept the Yankees from advancing in 2017.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t get the revenge they sought, as the Astros dominated the Yankees. The Astros pitching overwhelmed the Yankees offense, who ended the series with a meager .162 team batting average. MVP frontrunner Aaron Judge, who carried the team for most of the season, went one for 16 with only one RBI. Only veteran first baseman Anthony Rizzo and deadline acquisition Harrison Bader had a strong series at the plate.

Significant injuries to players like DJ LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi, their two best contactoriented hitters, caused the Yankees’ batting order to fluctuate from game to game. And the bullpen was depleted by injuries and lacked a defined closer due to a sub-par second half from Clay Holmes.

Even without any injuries, the Yankees would not have beaten the Astros. The Astros are a better organization than the Yankees in every facet. Manager Aaron Boone and General Manager Brian Cashman need to stop making excuses and instead find ways to improve the team.

Boone should not blame the weather due to an open roof for the team’s loss in Game 2. Brian Cashman needs to let go of the Astros cheating scandal and focus on building a better team.

An overhaul of the Yankees roster is needed to compete with the Astros. Key players that leave Houston via free agency are replaced by talented young players from their farm system each year. They also don’t depend on one single player, as the Astros consistently scored runs in the ALCS despite superstars Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez driving in only a single run combined.

An emphasis needs to be placed on players who are good defenders and hit for a high average without striking out. Critical errors in the field and rally-killing strikeouts plagued the Yankees the entire series.