I won't whine about 2014. Nope. What's done is done. You won't hear a mean-spirited verb from me. Instead, I'm thinking of the future: 2016.
Follow my advice, and you shall again prance the light fantastic in your kinky boots along the Canyon of Heroes... but not next year. Think of the place behind the pines... the year after next.
Here is my 11-step plan.
1. They say you're re-signing The Quipster, Brian Cashman. OK, fine. Whatever the guy has on you, I don't want to know. Give him this mandate: He MUST win in 2016. Stress this. Instead of winning every year - which is impossible - he must target 2016. Every move should be predicated on building a team two years away, not for next month. If we do win in 2015, that's gravy. But next August, even if we are within spitting distance of the one-day, away-field wild card, do NOT alter the course: Think about twenty-sixteen.
I know this will be tough. Write it into Cashman's contract.
2. You about to wipe a shitload of money off the books. I count $57 million from next year's annual payroll - give or take a David Phelps. We dump Soriano ($18 M), Kuroda ($16 M), Jeter ($12 M), Ichiro ($6.5 M) and Robertson ($5). Wow, that's an Adam Sandler movie. If Kuroda decides to return, sign him. I'd like to see Robertson stay, too, but that depends on what he seeks. Either way, you've got at least $30 million. That's a Pauly Shore movie - with a walk-on role by the hot young comic, Mark Teixeira.
3. Face it: We have no choice but to ride the A-Rod train next year, and see where the hell it takes us. My guess: Boise. If he does come back, who knows! We could win it all. If A-Rod can still play 3B, wonderful. I'm thinking 1B or worse - DH - or worst, nothing. Whatever. Next year, Alex either carries us to glory or hauls us into his personal, self-inflicted black hole, with new girlfriend, Amanda Bynes. He could be a giant human lump in the middle of the lineup. I would not sign Chase Headley, because a) he won't come cheap, b) he's an LOB machine, and c) because of A-Rod, we have no place for another lump.
Best case scenario: A-Rod has a solid 2015, so we can eat the contract and deal him to Miami before 2016. Everything should be predicated on A-Rod going home for 2016.
Anyway... write this down: We cannot lose first-round picks.
5. We need a slugging OF. I say try the 23-year-old Cuban, Yasmani Tomas. Yes, he'll be overpriced. And yes, he might be a bust. But these Cubans are making big-bucket splashes, and if this one turns out to be Fidel's communist spy, he'll still have trade value. We desperately need a young OF, we have the money, and this guy won't cost a first-round pick.
Note: We want to keep first-round picks.
6. Dump Carlos Beltran. The Pirates often recycle our mistakes. Let's admit that Beltran is one, and be done with it. Get a prospect, or a bullpen arm, or an iPhone 6, whatever. We don't need another Alphonso Soriano, or a Brian Roberts, or a Travis Hafner, or a Vernon Wells, or an Andruw Jones, or a Mark Teixeira, or a Carlos Beltran, or Insert Name Here, clogging the middle of our lineup like a hairball in a drain. Keep in mind, we'll have A-Rod. We want a seven-man rotation, not a seven-man DH staff.
7. Take a leap of faith: Play Rob Refsnyder at 2B... just to see what happens. Jeez, if our farm system cannot supply ONE effing position player in five years - since Brett Gardner - fire the losers who are running it. We need SOMEBODY from the system, and if Refsnyder can't cut it, try Jose Pirela. If he can't do it, bring up Angelo Gumbs or Derek Toadvine, just for the name-shock value. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN. Give somebody young a crack. In other words, cut the dead wood from their paths. If next June, Refsnyder is hitting .198, there will be an old veteran on the market to replace him. Let's not exile Refsnyder to Scranton with a Zoilo Almonte sign on his back... and never see him again.
8. Invite Teixeira in for tea and scones. Compliment him on his hair. Play soft music. Give a back rub. Gently - politely - tenderly... explain to him that he either starts hitting to the opposite field, or he should try stand-up comedy. Right now, he's a comic with no punch lines. If his wrist is shot, he should retire. Tell him the Yankees will hire comedy writers. Call Billy Crystal. Maybe Tex can get his own TV show. But he CANNOT clog our lineup for another year and bat .220. We are a ball club, not a nostalgia act... or worse.. a clown college.
9. Shortstop... Jeez, I was afraid you'd ask. Frankly, I have no clue. There is a Korean named Jung-ho Kang, and he has a bang-up highlight video. But it's Korea, which is sort of like SUNY Brockport. I dunno. I say re-sign Stephen Drew, because we don't lose the draft pick. (Have I mentioned that you shouldn't give up a first-round draft pick?) Drew can't be THAT bad. He has no power, he hits .160... and he can't figure out the over-shift? Still, come on... NOBODY is THAT bad. He ought to be cheap. If he's not cheap, wish him the best. Hello-o, Korea!
10. If we don't re-sign David Robertson, give Betances the ninth. Maybe that lefty we drafted last June, Jacob Lindgren can make the jump. The bullpen is the bullpen. It always manages to find its own level, moving from lights-out to mediocrity. But Lindgren is another reason why you need high draft picks.
I'd trade Cervelli or Murphy or Romine for a couple young arms, so Gary Sanchez plays every day at Scranton. Move kids through the system. Do not let contracts get in their way. Next year, it's all about A-Rod, and Boston could be really tough. But in two years, they'll fold, and we can be young, improving and - who knows? - maybe champs.
Sir... think big, think long term... think: REBUILD!