There is no shame in losing to the Houston Astros, a powerhouse team headed to its second World Series in three seasons. This six-game defeat, however, will hardly prevent New York Yankees fans from calling for heads and demanding change, even after a 103-win season that matched the franchise high in victories since the magical 1998 season. Their World Series drought now stretches to 10 seasons, and for the first time since the team acquired Babe Ruth ahead of the 1920 season, the Yankees went an entire decade without reaching the Fall Classic.
If anything, the exclamation point on the 2017-19 Yankees came not in Game 5 at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, but back on Aug. 31, 2017, when the Astros acquired Justin Verlander from the Tigers minutes -- or seconds -- before the trade deadline clock struck zero. Verlander defeated the Yankees twice in the American League Championship Series that year and started two of the five games in 2019. The story of the past three seasons for the Yankees might have been much different with Verlander in their rotation, not Houston's. Instead, they lost to the 101-win Astros in 2017, the 108-win Red Sox in the American League Division Series in 2018 and then the 107-win Astros in 2019.
What's next for the Yankees? Here are five offseason questions to ponder: