Monday, October 21, 2013
Posted by el duque at 6:51 AM
Welcome to the hot seat.
Twenty years ago, your dad would've known exactly what to do if the Yanks finished out of the playoffs, about $30 million over budget and with a flailing minor league system: He would fire the GM. Dallas Green? Sid Thrift? Gabe Paul? Wouldn't matter. For better or worse, he would clean house.
You are not him. That's fine, because Old George went through some tough times. But today, in the organizational meetings in Tampa, you must come to grips with a failed Yankee system and new MLB rules that equalize rich and poor teams. You cannot buy your way out of this malaise, as you did in 2009. The Yankees have more money than any other team. But you must figure out new ways to use your advantage. The old ones won't work.
So how can the Yankees to use their financial clout?
1. Buy Japanese. We should have been doing this for years. Reportedly, we're going to bid hard on Masahiro Tanaka, a 24-year-old pitcher. Damn, it's long overdue. The posting fees to Japanese teams - the big chunks of money that weed out most bidders - don't count toward the luxury tax cap. Thus, we have a huge advantage over other teams. USE IT, DAMMIT. ABUSE IT. When a Japanese player of prominence hits the posting process, we should have him. Every time! We don't lose draft picks. Bud Selig can't do a thing. What the hell are you waiting for? They intend to change the posting process soon, maybe next year, because it's wide open for big market teams. So bid big! Go after all of them! Stash them in the system! Trade them. Use our clout.
2. Cook the $189 million budget. The plan, as it's been widely reported, is to lower the 2014 budget below $189 million, which then would reset our tax structure for years to come. In 2015, we can boost it substantially. So, how about a little creative financing. Renegotiate contracts, back-ending them for 2015 and beyond. If we sign Tim Lincecum for five years at - say - $75, pay him just $5 million in 2014, then bump it up for the duration of the contract.
3. Horde the draft picks. Look at the NFL. That's the new model for draft picks. You must not lose them. If Atlanta makes a qualifying offer to Brian McCann, think long and hard before you sign him. (I think it's a horrible idea.) Same with Carlos Beltran. Look to the Lincecums and Ervin Santanas, who might not get such offers. We can sign them without paying a price. And frankly, even if he's way overpaid, why not put in an offer to Phil Hughes? Yeah, it's $14 million for a year - way beyond what he's worth - but Hughes is only 26, he's likely to get a better long range deal, and he might even have some gas left in the tank. If he signs elsewhere, we get a sandwich round draft pick. Those things are worth gold.
4. Add another farm club. Last year, our best level was the Gulf Coast League, where Baseball America reports we had six of the top 20 prospects. Three were middle infielders. They played every day because we fielded two teams in that league. If we didn't, one might have not gotten the chance to show his stuff. This was a huge advantage for us. Why not establish a second Single A team? In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Yankees had three Single A teams - one in the Atlantic Coast League, one in the Carolina League, and one in the Florida State League. This is where we can use our monetary clout. Build a stronger system by expanding it.
5. Keep Robbie Cano. Do whatever it takes. If the Yankees are outspent by another team for their best player, it will be catastrophic to the Yankee zeitgeist. Listen: I hate it when Robbie jogs to first - hate it, hate it, hate it. But he is a great Yankee, a great player, and if we lose him because some other team values him more than we do... well, there could be no excuse for that. Give him one of those creative contracts outlined in No. 2. But keep him.
6. This may be toughest for you. Somebody has to go. If you don't have the belly to fire a friend, then kick him upstairs and pay him to whittle. I don't care. But the Yankees need fresh eyes and a new perspective - some whip-smart baseball man from another organization. We don't need a bloodletting. We don't need carcasses in the cooler. But we need a new outlook on our scouting and development systems. And if Mark Newman and Damon Oppenheimer feel threatened by another executive, well, show them a picture of Andrew Brackman. If you don't know who hasn't done his job, maybe the person who needs to go is you.
7. Yes, sir. That's the final truth. This is your team, your legacy, your name. It is not Daddy's club any more. Either build it, or sell the damn thing to someone who can. There are golf courses to play and exotic dance clubs to visit. Have you tried Molly? Sir, the Yankiverse is troubled. We are a few games above mediocre, and the Boston Redsocks are about to become World Champions. Today, we either start fixing things... or that hot seat is going to get a lot hotter.