Friday, October 11, 2013

Yankeetorial: Onward to $188,999,999.99!

For the last 10 months, we've been wrestling with Hal Steinbrenner's goal to shrink the 2014 Yankee payroll to below $189 million.

After 10 months of pain, I say this: "Make it so, Commander Data!"

The worst part is over. We just pissed away a season. Not just any season, either. We threw overboard Mariano Rivera's last shot at a World Series. We did this because of an ownership ban on multi-year deals, (which we broke for Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki - the two-year contracts with Hell.) We passed on every international free agent who washed ashore. Instead, we recycled the Brennan Boschs and Alberto Gonzalezes. We spent 2013 in a modified self-immolation. But we have money coming off the books, and $189 million is within reach, and I'd hate to think we screwed Mariano's last chance for nothing.

I say this because a segments of the Yankiverse are already perusing the free agent ranks like licorice twists in a candy store. They have forgotten the 1980s, or they aren't old enough to remember them. They are forgetting that fat contracts with fat players are what got us here.

Right now, bloggers are contending that we should sign Brian McCann of the Braves. God help us. We might get two years from him behind the plate,  and then what? Three years as a low-hitting DH? And he'll be so expensive that we have no choice but to play him. Eric Bedard? God help us. Another five-inning starter who gives up three runs? Please.

And if we sign type A free agents, we give up our first-round pick. Folks, this is how the 1980s happened: We signed lame free agents to overpriced contracts, which forced us to play them, and other teams grew younger, while we steadily aged.

Folks, it wasn't injuries that wrecked 2013. It was old players who are constantly getting injured.

It took the Redsocks two years to turn around their team. Right now, they could be sitting on a two or three-year World Series run. We fielded a crappy team this year, though the season was masked by that extra Wild Card slot and the lack of exceptional teams chasing it. We have to get younger. We cannot give up our first-round picks any more. The rules have changed. There are ways to spend our money to advantage, but they don't including gorging at the free agent buffet.

A $189 million budget might be the best thing that ever happened to us.


Alphonso said...

Do you really think that reason, rationality and common sense apply here?

Do you really think that Hal & Hank are going to remember history?

Do you really think the Yankees see the truth of what has become them?

Do you really think they will admit that they must make changes and do things differently from now on?

Do you really think we have any reason for optimism?

Mike said...

If there's a single person in the Yankee front office who can intelligently explain to me why Travis Ishikawa was brought in for his magical two-K tour, I'd love them to start talking. I can't conceive of a single possible reason that move might have made the slightest bit of sense to anyone...and yet some or all of the Yankee honchos pulled the trigger on it. That decision all by itself would put a pretty big dent in any optimism I feel for the team, and it's certainly not without company.

I tend to optimism though, or at least hopefulness, so I look outside at the sun shining and smile because there's almost no chance Dave Revering will be coming back...I hope.

el duque said...

Travis Iskikawa and Dave Revering. Wow.

As to Alphonso:

Some have.

John M said...

The modus operandi of the Yankees, for years, has been that the quality of decisions is not important because every problem can be solved with more money.

What we saw this year was what happens when all the bad decisions AREN'T solved by money. They are dramatically highlighted as the pigeon poop they always were.

What's worse, this year highlighted the fact that bad decisions and money sometimes are part of the same deal. Nothing gets you out of that. Except, possibly, good decisions going forward, over time.

Except for those few precious years when Steinbrenner took over in the 70s and the Stick took over in the 90s, the Yankees have been suffering from some combination of the above for about 40 years. The only reason we can't go to 45 is because CBS made bad decisions and didn't spend any money, although Michael Burke had the coolest sideburns and suits of any front-office guy in MLB at the time.

And if Horace Clarke is too old to play again, why can't we hire him as a coach of some kind? He could certainly teach our .150-.220 hitters how to hit .235. It might not seem like much, but it could make a difference as we scramble for the sudden-death one-shot wild card next September.

Anonymous said...

Anent John M's comments: The Yankee championship teams of the late 1970s were only indirectly Steinbrenner's doing, and not chiefly the outgrowth of his flashy checkbook. Those teams were built on a solid foundation of homegrown talent and brilliant trades by Gabe Paul. Let's go around the field: Munson: homegrown; Chambliss: trade; Randolph: trade; Dent: trade; Nettles: trade; Piniella: trade; Rivers: trade; White: homegrown; Guidry: homegrown (whom Steinbrenner was hot to trade away); Figueroa: homegrown; Lyle: trade. Hunter was already on the decline in his later years with the Yankees, and Jackson and Gossage were just the finishing touches,, not the core. But all too soon Steinbrenner exiled Paul--if there's one thing George could never stand, it was quiet, sustained competence--and ushered in the 1980s reign of madness and incompetence, which ended only with his banishment from baseball and the fortuitous emergence of Buck Showalter.

Anonymous said...

Sorry--that should be Figueroa: trade.