Over the past two decades, the activities of Brian Cashman in signing players to mega-buck long term guaranteed contracts have been well documented and debated. Together with George Steinbrenner and then on his own, Cashman perfected a strategy of baseball’s version of “shock and awe”.
But what is often forgotten is that nearly all of those splashy headline making signings came with the built in assembly of home grown talent – namely the Core Four of Jeter, Mariano, Pettite, and Posada. You had that all important strength up the middle, a go-to when you need a big win starter, and an out of this world closer.
They’re gone. And Yankee fans know that with them went the “heart” of the team. And all that’s left are the ruins of what the front office put together in vain hopes of remaining contenders until counterproductive contracts expire. Meanwhile, the Yankees appear to be exactly what they are – a last place team.
For most Yankee fans, that would be bad enough. Except that they also appear to be doubling down on these mistakes by making decisions now that are not designed to build a winning team in the near future……….and that’s where a fan like myself gets not only frustrated……..but downright angry……
The frustration begins with Hal Steinbrenner who doesn’t have the zeal and sense of purpose as his Dad. George enjoyed owning the Yankees. He made you feel like his sole purpose in life was to bring World Championships to the city of New York. With his son, you get the feeling that if not for his Dad’s legacy (read burden), he would just as soon not have anything to do with baseball at all while concentrating on other family businesses instead.
This is not a crime and all things must pass. But if the above is true, Hal should sell out – in keeping with his Dad’s legacy – while only selling to a a group of investors his Dad would be proud of…….enter a consortium of maybe Mr. Jeter, Michael Jordan (who once took a year off to try pro ball), Billy Crystal , and possibly Spike Lee.
But of more immediacy is the need to be out with the old and in with the now………why wait? The excuse Cashman relays is that the kids “aren’t ready”. Maybe so, but unless your name is Bryce Harper who is ever “ready” to make that leap from the Minors to the Majors. Heck, it even took Harper a couple of years to adjust before last year when his real talent set in.
To do that of course, you would have to eat a good portion of the money you unwisely spent. Businesses do this everyday. The Yankees print money – what’s the problem except maybe a few bashed egos of over the hill “regulars” who if they were held over a fire and forced to be honest would have to say, “Yeah, I guess I’m not the player I used to be.”
Without going down to AA Trenton where even more talented players are often kept hidden, here’s a look at the AAA Roster of the Yankees. And these are not well known names as you’ll see, but give Chase Headley his walking papers and bring in Donovan Solano (.286 only 3 errors in 27 games) and give him a chance. What can it hurt?
Mark Texieria gets an undeserved pass because of the injury to Greg Bird during spring training but Brian McCann must give way to Gary Sanchez (.285 5 home runs 20 RBI) who can get his seasoning alongside a veteran playing 2-3 times week.
Aaron Judge (6 HR’s 19 RBI)…….can he do any worse than Carlos Beltran who continues to slide back to reality (now hitting .236)?
The list goes on and on but one more………Sabathia. He’s had two consecutive good starts and that’s good for him and everyone …….but take one for the team CC (and he will if asked) and maybe put another no-name in his starting spot like Chad Green who’s only 1-3 but has a 1.45 ERA as a starter.
And if A-Rod, Beltran, and McCann only get 250 at bats apiece splitting DH time between them, so what? They’re not the future anyway.
Looking ahead to the off season, the Cashman/Girardi reign needs to come to an abrupt end. Especially if Hal Steinbrenner steps down. Cashman is overrated while Girardi is underrated. In today’s climate in baseball , neither will have difficulty in finding a new job.
These decisions, if enacted, might…..just might……fill that vast abyss of empty seats (don’t pay any attention to the “announced crowd”) we see at the Stadium every night now…..and those enthusiastic and diehard bleacher bums…..you don’t hear them chanting the “roll call” anymore ……..in fact you don’t hear much of anything at the Stadium these days because (well) they’re just plain boring. George would not be happy and neither am I.