Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Yankeetorial: Gammonites are calling the extension of Brett Gardner a sea change in Yankee philosophy; should we break out the party hats?

Throughout the boot camps and madrassas of the Yankiverse today, fans are bowing in the direction of Tampa, saying "Praise Hal-lah!" and giving thanks for Brett Gardner's 4-year contract extension. The hope? That this hath endeth the Yankees' disastrous policy of letting their stars hit free agency. It's the reason Robbie Cano is in Seattle.

No Gammonite will say this, but the Gardner extension serves as a de facto admission that the brain trust, two or three years ago, should have extended Robbie's pact and made him a lifetime Yankee. Good grief, they should have learned from the near disaster several years back when Jeter hit the market. Back then, the Yankees did what they always do - start poor-mouthing and sniping - and it nearly got out of hand. If Jeter wasn't such an iconic god of Yankeehood, (Praise Hal-ah!), who knows what might have happened? Because once the brass started whispering about Robbie, everything began to barrel downhill.

So today, we are celebrating the "new" Yankee policy. OK. I'm in. Hal-ah hakbar! Always looking for a reason to party. So, hey, everybody, can I ask a question?

What now?

Don't all answer at once. Hello? Anybody?

Well, what comes next, apparently, is the Yankees' heavily whispered "splurge" in international spending, planned for this summer. It was reported in December on a scouting website, and ever since, the brass have wink-winked it: The Yankees plan to spend tens of millions on 16 year old Latinos, even at the cost of tens of millions more in luxury taxes. This will happen in lieu of June draft picks, because the Yankees forfeited all their top choices to sign free agents.

Well, OK. I guess I'm in. Praise Hal-ah. It's not my money. But here's another question about this "new" Yankee front office: Are we ahead or behind the curve?

In the last 10 years, let's face it: The Yankees have been lapped by several teams, most notably the Rangers, Dodgers, Giants, Tigers, A's, Redsocks, Rays and Cardinals - the best run organizations in baseball. The Yankees - for all their money - don't belong in that group. Brian Cashman - Praise him! - is a relentless presence on the waiver wire, baseball's version of American Pickers. But what has kept the Yankees down is hubris, the in-house belief that they are smarter than everybody else.

It is hubris that still haunts the Yankee brass. It is hubris that convinced them they could draft and sign the young pitcher, Gerrit Cole, even though he flat-out told them he was going to UCLA. It was hubris that made them think they could draft a bunch of pitchers who were headed for Tommy John surgery, or that Andrew Brackman would become the next Big Unit. It was hubris that made them think Robbie would always be a Yankee.

Last year, the Yankees got kicked in the mouth - hard. They were a mediocre team and - with A-Rod - a laughingstock. Good grief, when Boston fan friends see me, they can't wait to talk about the Redsocks. The beaming smiles on their faces - Gaahhh, it's hell. Now Jeter - the last bastion of Yankee pride - is turning the page.

Listen: The Yankee front office has to do likewise. It needs to stop thinking of knockout punches and start thinking of jabs. Maybe Brett Gardner is a sign. We'll see.

But if the brass still thinks the Yankees will automatically succeed because they're the Yankees, praise Hal-ah, we need a house-cleaning.

1 comment:

John M said...

The Gardy signing is what it is, what all Yankee moves are: where the dart happened to hit the board at a particular point in time.

They have no plan, they have no vision, they have no brains.

Except for Gardner, of course. We've seen the evidence before....