The New York Yankees had a great offseason. General manager Brian Cashman went out and signed Aaron Judge to a mammoth, nine-year deal worth $360 million, as well as secured the services of Carlos Rodon to bolster the starting rotation. Truly, in the American League East, no one had a more productive offseason than the Yankees. But that offseason has yet to return results in the regular season. In fact, the Yankees are in a worse position than they were last season.
The time to turn things around for New York was yesterday.
Let's make one thing clear before moving forward: The Yankees finished April above .500. That may not seem like a big accomplishment; but of the American League's 15 teams, only nine of them finished above that mark, with five of those teams playing in the AL East. However, the Yanks only played two of their divisional rivals in April, finishing the month with a 3-3 divisional record against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles.
Thankfully, New York did not have to face the Tampa Bay Rays, who began the season on an absolute tear. The Rays finished the month with an absurd 23-6 record, beginning the season with a 13-game winning streak against teams under the .500 mark. But still, for the Yankees, they need to beat up on their division if they intend to make the playoffs. Right now, they're sitting at the bottom of the standings with the underperforming and slowly imploding Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees did run into the buzz saw that is the Minnesota Twins, who finished the first month of the season atop the AL Central and as the only team above .500 in the division. The Twins were able to win their first season series against the Yankees for the first time since 2001, a feat that shocked some Twins players. In their seven meetings against Minnesota in April, the Yankees went 3-4, accounting for almost a third of their losses for the month.
But in the month ahead, the Yankees will have to face the Rays seven times, leading fans to worry. After all, when you have to face the Rays, Padres and Mariners, things don't appear to be getting any easier. However, with series against the Orioles and Blue Jays, it's possible the Yankees can at least begin to climb out of the AL East cellar.
But with that tough stretch looming, the Yankees have a lot of health concerns. Luis Severino and Josh Donaldson may return to the team in May, while Giancarlo Stanton and Rodon are further away from returning, with possible timelines ending in June. Even as the calendar turned, Judge was dealing with a hip strain that requires him to be sidelined. We do know that Judge's temporary replacement, Jake Bauers, injured himself in his first game up with the Yankees; an MRI will help the Yankees determine the injury's severity.
With all of the uncertainty facing the Yankees, and the AL East heating up, it's possible that May is a make-or-break month in the Bronx. With Judge's captaincy getting off to a rocky start, it's clear that something needs to change for the Yankees. Hopefully, it takes place sooner rather than later.
MORE: Aaron Judge Named Yankees Captain, Joins Ruth, Gehrig, Jeter & Other Pinstriped Legends
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.