Ladies and gentlemen, meet your 2015 National League-style Bronx Bombers!
CF Brett Gardner
SS Didi Gregorius
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
3B Chase Headley
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Chris Young
2B Brendan Ryan
and Jerry Mathers as "The Beaver."
OK, cue "Theme from Titanic." Plug in the Celine Deion automation. Here we go again, folks. The Yankees win seven in a row, pop the champagne for wrapping up the AL East, and then the cigar explodes. They've now lost five of six. ("... and batting second, the shortstop, Di-di-Gre-gor-i-us...") We now can see the future: Each positive burst will be followed by a meltdown. The team might win 85 games. Its real hope is that the AL East continues to be made from recycled animal bedding. If no team emerges, the Yankees can win through advanced mediocrity. Still, take a look at that lineup. Does it remind you of, say, 1967? Or maybe 2013?
Get used to it. This lineups are the future.
Yesterday, MLB's 2014-15 international signing period ended. For the next two years, the Yankees will be limited to paying signing bonuses of less than $300,000 to talent outside the U.S. border. By the time they can again chase the top young international talent, a draft will likely be in place, further killing whatever advantage they once had as a big market franchise.
I believe that when a New York City pro sports franchise loses its financial edge, it actually becomes disadvantaged. Look at the landscape of NYC sports teams. Playing in Gotham is far tougher than in Smallville. There are distractions and pressures that Astros, Padres and Royals don't have to face. Thus, the long term strategy for the Yankees mirrors that of the Nats: Finish last for several years, draft high and eventually get a Bryce Harper. And this notion that Harper will be a Yankee in 2019 fails to consider how much the Evils would have to pay in luxury taxes. They can get Harper and be a one-star team, like the Texas Rangers once were with A-Rod. Last place and the MVP. Pretty exciting, eh?
Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner signed off on these rule changes, which effectively transformed the Yankees into this big, leaky, slow-moving garbage barge. Maybe Hal didn't feel he had the clout to fight, after his dad died. Or maybe he didn't care... because Hal can make just as much money with mediocre lineups like the one the Yankees posted last night. A few farewell tours and number retired ceremonies can pack the house. They sell the Yankee legacy like dirt in the old stadium. The money tap keeps rolling in. Take a good look at that lineup, folks. Tell me, how many runs was it ever going to score?