The Yankees don’t play another game in The Bronx until next April.
The home finale on Monday, played in front of a sparse — to be generous — crowd, thanks to Saturday’s rainout, offered a look at some of the organization’s younger players (one of those, Austin Wells, provided the decisive homer in Tuesday night’s win in Toronto).
With a playoff-less October ahead, though, everyone from Hal Steinbrenner to Aaron Judge to Aaron Boone is saying significant changes need to be made this offseason after the team’s worst performance in at least seven years — and arguably, in decades.
It’s fair to wonder just who will be back in 2024.
Here’s a look at which players might have made their last appearance in pinstripes at Yankee Stadium:
Gleyber Torres: As another offseason approaches, there again is intrigue surrounding the second baseman and perennial trade candidate.
Among the questions the Yankees will have to answer this offseason is what they’re going to do at second and third base, with first baseman Anthony Rizzo hopefully healthy after dealing with post-concussion symptoms and Anthony Volpe installed at shortstop.
Does DJ LeMahieu go back to his utility role, splitting time among first base, second and third? And who’ll be at second and third? Torres could well be the second baseman again. He’s second among position players on the roster with an fWAR of 3.2, and arguably has been the team’s most consistent bat this year. But Torres’ defensive woes have continued, with negative WAR on that side of the ball and negative-3 defensive runs saved this season.
Infield coach Travis Chapman defended Torres recently, pushing back on the idea that mental lapses cause Torres to make miscues in the field.
“I don’t see it as a lack of focus,’’ Chapman said. “Sometimes, like anyone, he can get out of rhythm. For the most part, he has stretches when he goes through things like that and we get to work and we get him through it.”
For whatever weaknesses Torres has, the Yankees so far continue to be sold on his ability.
“He’s extremely talented,’’ Chapman said. “He has the ability to make tough plays routinely, and if we were winning a bunch of games, the narrative would be different and the spotlight on his mistakes might not be zoomed in on as much. The reality is that’s not where we’re at, so there’s a lot of attention on the negative.”
Torres, though, is going to end up leading the Yankees in plate appearances, which speaks to his durability, as well as in most offensive categories.
That combination is not easy to replace, and the Yankees’ younger players — including defensive whiz Oswald Peraza — have not proven they can hit at the major league level.
So while there might be an appetite among the fan base to make a change, finding similar production elsewhere might prove difficult.
Kyle Higashioka: The longtime backstop was drafted way back in 2008 by the Yankees in the seventh round, six rounds after they picked Gerrit Cole (No. 28).
A backup backstop for the majority of his time with the big-league club, Higashioka has caught more games than anyone else on the team this year. But with Jose Trevino expected back from wrist surgery and the Yankees’ desire to see Austin Wells’ left-handed bat in the lineup, Higashioka’s time in The Bronx could be nearing an end as he heads toward his final year as arbitration-eligible.
Ben Rortvedt has another minor league option available, so he could spend more time at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre next season.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa: Just last year, Kiner-Falefa was the team’s starting shortstop. That experiment ended in the postseason, which left a lot of uncertainty about where he would fit on this season’s roster.
For most of the year, Kiner-Falefa proved to be a versatile piece that could play third base, as well as left and center field. But when the Yankees went young, Kiner-Falefa was left without a role. He’ll be a free agent after the season.
Luis Severino: Another longtime Yankee, Severino, who signed with the team in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic, is set to become a free agent for the first time, and the timing couldn’t be worse.
Coming off a career-worst season in which he was — again — plagued by injuries, the 29-year-old still possesses good stuff, but the results were awful in ’23. The Yankees will have a lot of needs in the rotation, especially after Carlos Rodon’s flameout in the first season of his six-year, $162 million deal, but Severino is likely best served by getting a fresh start elsewhere.
Today’s back page
⚾ Mets prospect Dom Hamel taking off after sticking with new pitch: ‘Challenge everyone’
🏒 Rangers regulars score in solid preseason win over Islanders
🏀 Nets ready for glimpse at a Ben Simmons they’ve never seen
⛳ CANNIZZARO: Pressure is on Justin Thomas to validate his controversial Ryder Cup selection
Bad mojo rising
Joe Namath made plenty of headlines by calling out the Jets and Zach Wilson after another miserable game on Sunday, adding that he thought the time had come for Wilson to be dumped.
Those comments were to the chagrin of the injured Aaron Rodgers (“not helping the cause,” he said Tuesday), who also implored his Jets teammates to “grow up” after seeing several sideline outbursts during the loss to the Patriots.
Aside from one shocking half against the Cardinals, the Giants haven’t fared much better. After their loss to San Francisco, Daniel Jones was criticized by several 49ers defenders.
At this rate, it’s likely going to be an ugly scene at MetLife Stadium when the teams meet on Oct. 29.
They’re each 1-2 with some tricky games ahead.
The Jets’ upcoming schedule brings them almost-certain losses against the Chiefs and Eagles before a matchup against the seemingly hapless Broncos, who just gave up 70 points to the Dolphins on Sunday.
The Giants have to face the Seahawks, those high-scoring Dolphins, Buffalo and Washington.
And it could get even worse. According to Tankathon, the Giants have the toughest strength of schedule for the rest of the season, and the Jets — who added quarterback depth Tuesday in Trevor Siemian — don’t fare much better, with the eighth-hardest schedule.
If the teams aren’t careful, they’re going to start reliving some bad Meadowlands memories.
It was only a handful of years ago when both teams suffered back-to-back miserable seasons: They combined for just eight wins in 2017 (with the Jets going 5-11 and the Giants 3-13), followed by a nearly-as-bad 2018, when they combined for nine (Giants 5-11, Jets 4-12).
The worst joint season — since the NFL left its 14-game schedule behind in 1978 — was 1996. That year, the Giants went 6-10 and the Rich Kotite-led Jets went 1-15.
Liberty knot down for long
The Liberty evened their best-of-five WNBA semifinal series with an 84-77 Game 2 victory Tuesday night over the Connecticut Sun at Barclays Center. Here are some numbers to know from the pivotal playoff win:
5️⃣ 3-pointers knocked down by the Liberty’s Betnijah Laney, a career high, as part of a 20-point performance.
5️⃣ Blocks by recently minted MVP Breanna Stewart, who amid another off shooting night (3 of 13) also filled up the box score with 11 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals.
1️⃣0️⃣ Free throws converted by Sabrina Ionescu (21 points) without a miss. The Liberty shot 16-of-16 from the line as a team.
1️⃣2️⃣ Points by which the Liberty trailed in the second quarter. Around this time, they went to a zone defense that changed the course of the game.
3️⃣0️⃣ Points for the Sun’s Tiffany Hayes. An unofficial count shows it was nearly that many times that Hayes yelled “she can’t guard me!” at Ionescu.
Game 3 is Friday night in Connecticut.
— Jonathan Lehman
With the Yankees and Mets out of the playoff picture, there might not be much reason for their partisans to pay attention to the postseason, but there will at least be some new faces involved.
The Rangers and Orioles headed into the final week of the regular season in first place in their divisions.
Neither team has made the playoffs since 2016.
Among the teams battling for the two remaining NL wild card spots (the Phillies clinched the first wild card Tuesday night), the Diamondbacks haven’t been to the playoffs since 2017.
The Marlins — set for a straight doubleheader Wednesday against the Mets after Tuesday’s game was washed out — have been there just once since beating the Yankees in the World Series in 2003.
The Reds have been to the postseasons only once since 2013.
Both the Marlins and Reds made their lone recent postseason appearances in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Miggy’s last stand
Speaking of the 2003 Marlins, their offense was led, in part, by a young outfielder who made his MLB debut that June.
Miguel Cabrera had just turned 20 when he was called up and crushed the Cubs in the NLCS before struggling in Miami’s World Series win over the Yankees.
He went on to face the Yankees twice more in the playoffs, both times with the Tigers.
Now 40, Cabrera is playing in the final homestand of his career with the Tigers before he heads into retirement. He is the oldest position player in the majors this season, following Nelson Cruz’s release by the Padres in July.