George A. King III - the blue-collar NY Post scribe with the uppity NY Times name - once again says the Evil Empire is turning knock-kneed over the cost of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, the last 2015 free agent who could inject hope into what now looks like the sorriest Yankee organization since the statue of Danny Tartabull patrolled RF.
[I]f the price tag is as high as some people believe, the Yankees likely will pass on the 19-year-old, switch-hitting second baseman from Cuba.
In other words, "Adios, Fidel. Hola, Stephen Drew!"
All you need to see is the phrase "wary of price tag," and you know where this auction is headed.
There's always a chance that the Yankees are publicly low-balling Moncada, planning to swoop in and dazzle him with a final offer. But we've seen this movie again and again, since Hal Steinbrenner inherited the team: Young Hal wants to be a good owner, beloved by his Viagra-popping peers. And that means not going overboard in pursuit of young talent, like Moncada. Let the Dodgers and Redsocks sign the 19-year-olds. The Yankees will sink their money into proven talent, like 39-year-old Carlos Beltran, and - in essence - provide the retirement benefits that small market teams avoid... because they are "wary of the price tag."
We've seen this movie before. Once the Yankees blink on a free agent, it's all over but the rattling of the cup and the pulling out of the pockets. The Yankees - which generate more revenues than any other team in baseball, if not American professional sports - want to be the Frugal Empire. They want to - as the captains of industry tell us - "do more with less!" They're cutting back as a favor to us, the fans, so we can burst with pride over our team's bottom line. We're not the best team! We're not even a good team! But the Yankees are the most profitable team in baseball! Check out that credit rating!
Next year, how about awarding plaques in Monument Park to Hal, Randy Levine ("Esq," it says next to his name), Lonn A. Trost ("Esq.") and - of course - Brian Cashman! (What's with the Esq. It's like they've got a role-play game going: You can call me "Captain," and I'll call you "Admiral!") They can retire each man's suit coat, with a special 7-foot-high bronze statue of Levine's hair. By then, Moncada will probably be in the Major Leagues - (Everyone, altogether: Dear God, don't let him sign with Boston...) - and the Yankee YES men can be assuring us that a new crop of youngsters down in Charleston and Staten Island should "make for an interesting season in Trenton."
Insert sigh here.
Listen... I apologize for my hopeless tones lately. Usually, around now, I'm starting to get revved for the season. And I'm seeing some hope - in the Refsnyders and Betances and maybe even Nathan Evaldi - (if Larry Rothschild can be "The Evaldi Whisperer.") But all winter, I've stared into the abyss and told myself the Yankees were only being cheap on the other free agents because they planned to go big on the future - and vision that included Moncada in pinstripes. Looks like I was wrong. No... I was half wrong. I got one part right: They were being "wary of the price tag." That's another phrase for "cheap."