For nearly all teams, but especially the team that George Steinbrenner built, any season that does not result in (at least) a playoff berth is a losing season – and there’s no two ways about it.
For the Yankees, assuming 90 wins as a minimum wild card qualifier, this means they would need to finish the season 21 games over .500 (55-36, .655winning percentage). Considering that they haven’t been able to stay even one game over .500 for the past two months, this is about as likely to happen as Mexico chipping in to help build the border fence.
Simply put, the Yankees are not a very good team this year. They are not even a good team. They are what they are – a pedestrian .500 team that’s destined to play out the season with little or no fanfare.
To find a parallel Yankees team, you have to go all the way back to the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Put in perspective then, giving up the season with an eye to the future is something that is bound to be met with resistance by Hal Steinbrenner who remains the standard bearer for his father, whether he likes it or not.
Nevertheless, a For Sale sign needs to be placed in full view of everyone and the Yankees must (reluctantly but wisely) begin to dismantle the current team as best they can…….now…..not later….
The problem is this though……..
The problem facing the Yankees is that, with the exception of Carlos Beltran and any two of the Betances, Miller, and Chapman closing trio, they don’t have much to offer unless they are willing to take on the bulk of the remaining contract money owed to players like A-Rod, Brian McCann, Mark Texieria, and Chase Headley. And if they’re really serious, they should consider offers for C C Sabathia whose value will never get higher than it is right now.
But the Colorad Rockies didn’t hesitate to unload and absorb $40 million when they released Jose Reyes, did they? Unlike the Rockies, the Yankees print money……..so what’s the problem?
The problem is that there may be more fans in the New York area like myself who more and more are drifting away from YES broadcasts and are flipping over see what the Mets are doing on SNY. And the problem with that is that advertisers who bought their expensive spots during the off season will be in a uproar if the trend continues.
Attendance is already down even with the team they have now. And they play tricks with those numbers too counting all pre sold tickets as “in attendance” whether or not those fans are actually in the ballpark.
So, it really boils down to a matter of Yankee pride and tradition. They’re never sellers, they’re always buyers and always willing to pay top dollar to get what they want. That money seems to be counted differently though. They’re never afraid to “spend” long term money…….so what’s the difference now when they need to spend on the backend of the outrageous contracts they took on in order to field a better team in the near future.
We’re not talking about the Braves, the Phillies, the Reds, etc. who are in the midst of a long term rebuilding process. In the Yankees case, they can jump right in again over the winter when the free agent market gets hot. Or, they can wait another year and sign Bryce Harper and Matt Harvey. In short, they have choices.
Having said that though, they will need to be creative. Maybe, for instance, the Mariners and A-Rod would like a return to where it all began in Seattle. And maybe the Indians would like to see a return of Sabathia as they continue to make a serious run for a playoff spot. And maybe the Mets would like to solve their third base problem with a steady and reliable Chase Headley. And maybe the Giants would like to undo their mistake in letting Carlos Beltran escape. Or maybe there’s a team with a miracle doctor who can keep Jacoby Ellsbury on the field for a month or two.
The point is that you don’t know until you ask. Brian Cashman has said he’s waiting to hear from ownership as to whether the Yankees will be buyers or sellers in a couple of weeks. Wrong! Make a deal, Brian, and bring it to Hal Steinbrenner
(right) saying “Look, this is what I think we need to do -okay?” But then again maybe that’s part of the problem too…….in that Cashman may be at the end of his run and hearing foot steps behind too and that’s making him a little gun shy.
No matter. The Yankees are boring to watch and they’ll be lucky to finish next to last in the East. So how can it be any worse……