June 3: Aaron Judge at Dodger Stadium
This, naturally, heads the list. The Yankees won the afternoon game when Judge suffered a sprained right big toe making a catch as he crashed through a bullpen fence and the next day as well to improve to 36-25. But reality soon set in and the Yankees went 18-23 without the reigning AL MVP and their season never recovered.
Rodon hits the IL early
The Yankees signed the oft-injured lefthander, a trade target of theirs in previous years before the trade deadline, to a six-year, $162-million free agent contract, dreaming of the power pitcher slotting into the rotation behind Gerrit Cole to create one of the top 1-2 rotation punches in the game. But Rodon suffered a left forearm strain after just one spring training start and didn’t make his season debut until July 7. His season never really got on track and ended disastrously just Friday night in Kansas City.
Flawed roster construction
As the sport in recent years has moved toward becoming younger, more diverse when it comes to skillsets and, most important, more athletic, the Yankees went into the season banking on a roster that fell short in just about all of those areas.
Aug. 13 Moon over Miami
It’s always difficult, and impossible, really, to focus on one loss in the marathon that is the 162-game big-league season as being some kind of turning point. That said, this game in Miami certainly would be one candidate. Treading water in the wild-card race at 60-57, the Yankees took a four-run lead into the ninth against the Marlins that Sunday afternoon and watched the inning, with Clay Holmes on the mound, unravel. The Yankees lost on a walk-off hit by Jake Burger against Tommy Kahnle, proceeded to get run over in a three-game sweep in Atlanta and their youth movement, signaling a white flag on the season, began soon after.
Over-reliance on analytics
That area of the club, which more or less influences virtually every aspect of the organization, is receiving the most public scrutiny it ever has, though it’s an issue Newsday has been highlighting since at least 2021. The roster being ravaged by injuries without question impacted the team but also exposed the soft underbelly of the organization overall as not being nearly as cutting edge in any of the areas it has fooled itself into believing it is when it comes to player health, player development, coaching, etc.