Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yankeetorial: At the half, let's enjoy the lead that we might not be seeing in future All-Star breaks

Used to be, a Bryce Harper blossomed in another market, and it was only a matter of time before he would become a Yankee. Old George always had hooks in the water - even if they snagged Steve Trout rather than a Mike Trout - and the baseball world always grimaced and awaited our inevitable signing. But remember: In the movie, when they capture King Kong, they don't bring him to Kansas City. There's only one place where he belongs.

But MLB's defacto salary cap is gradually going into effect on every level. This month, it knocks down the amount of money big market teams can spend on young talent. (So the owners will bank more, by the way.) Eventually, this will pinch the Yankees in a way that makes the 1980s look like the Age of Aquarius. We will be Chrysler without a bailout, your local newspaper without a web site. The Yankees will have four to six players with massive contracts that seem to extend into the next millenium, and when free agents hit the market, it won't be us who stand at the front of the line.

It's hard to imagine this dark future when we're seven games up, and we have the likes of Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones basically sweeping up gum wrappers in the locker room. But our farm system is as dead as the Mojave at its upper levels and - at best - middling in the softball leagues. We seem to have a systematic problem in developing young arms (though, to be be fair, nobody in baseball has figured it out.) We have an energetic management that relentlessly trolls the scrap heaps, signing Darnell McDonalds and Dewayne Wises, but considering his tortured private life - periodically laid bare in the tabs - who among us doesn't feel that Brian Cashman's time in New York is ticking down?

Soon, we will have to lay down big piles of money on Robbie Cano, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, et al - with nobody, absolutely nobody, to replace them from within the system.

So enjoy the break. As Yankee fans, we occupy a binary universe: We either win the World Series, or it's basically a lost year. If something happens, and we fail to make the playoffs - doubtful - this will turn out to have been a horrible, rotten, embarrassing season. If we coast through to October, we still have to turn over the ball in Game Two to either Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda or Ivan Nova: In other words, to Jeckyl or Hyde.

Savor this while it lasts, folks. Tough times are coming. And Bryce Harper probably isn't.

4 comments:

Alphonso said...

I have finally gotten through to you, I see.

Your post is like the warning sent out to Europeans when Hitler first invaded Poland.

Right on all counts.

Alphonso said...

I have finally gotten through to you, I see.

Your post is like the warning sent out to Europeans when Hitler first invaded Poland.

Right on all counts.

Joe De Pastry said...

I did not expect us to be where we are right now. Obviously, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi know a lot more about baseball than I do. But I share the concerns about the near future. The Steinbrothers care more about avoiding the luxury tax than they do about winning. They would rather keep more of the money we spend to support the team for themselves instead of spending it on players,

John M said...

Joe D...Cashman and Girardi may know more about baseball than you do. Or they might just be lucky. Something to consider.