Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Gammonites - and their unnamed sources - expect the Yankees to sign Tanaka; so why don't we believe it?

The wise men of the press box have made their calls and flossed their thoughts into the ether of truth: The Yankees shall lead the pack in pursuit of the Japanese mystery known as Masahiro Tanaka, if he comes to America. Says John Harper of the Daily News:

On Tuesday it was difficult to find a scout or executive who doesn’t think the Yankees will get their man. “It’s simple,” said a scout. “They have the most money and they’re the most desperate to sign him.”

I don't doubt Harper's sincerity or accuracy in the quote. If Harper writes it, the guy said it. Trouble is...  I can think of a lotta reasons why an unnamed scout - likely from another team - would say such a thing, and they all amount to PSYOPs-level crapola. Why would another team executive disclose plans to a reporter? Brian Cashman doesn't - and that's not a knock: No front office announces strategy in the press. 

It's good p.r. for the Yankees to be aggressive in the international market. But should we believe it? In recent years, the team has run and hid away from every Cuban, Korean and Japanese player who floated, flew or drove to America - including those who would not have bumped the Yankees' infamous luxury taxes. Hal Steinbrenner wants to show fiscal prudence. Thus, Darvish, Chapman, Cespedes, Soler, et al, came into play, and we barely even bid.

I think Hal is trying to use common sense policies on an entity that defies reason.  Considering the money spent, the Yankees should never be as bad as they were last year, and as troubled as they look heading into 2014. Every major corporation in captivity, if facing such a disaster as the 2013 Yankees, would demand a house-cleaning. Yet Hal kept everybody but the strength coach, who was baffled by the lack of loyalty.

In trying to cut Yankee spending, Hal resorted to the GOP strategy of curbing government (which hasn't done them good either): Starve the beast, impose spending limits, and then figure it out. Trouble is, it's taken 30 years to build this bloated, sputtering, hubris-fueled Edsel. Hal thought he could cap everything at $187 million, and it would all work out. It's going to take years to rebuild the Yankees, and it must happen from the ground up. And frankly, it will probably take somebody from the outside to do it - and I'm not referring to the new strength coach.

Which brings us back to Mr. Tanaka, whom the unnamed sources say is destined for New York. What a crock.

If he's as good as they say, it's crazy to think the bidding war won't run into Robbie Cano territory, hundreds of millions for seven to 10 years. It could even rival Cano's insane deal. Why? Because teams are flush and the market is there. The Dodgers will be in on this. The Angels and the Rangers - all in. I greatly fear the Redsocks will jump in - seeking to build a dynasty, not just win it every five years. The bidding will soar way beyond Hal Steinbrenner's comfort level, and we are playing drinking games if we think Tanaka is so enamored with the Yankee mystique that he'll take less money to play for us. Robbie Cano didn't bite. That might have happened in 2001, when we were on a run. Those days are over. Are any unnamed sources talking about that?

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