Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Yankees had better win it this year, because Boston could be loaded for a long time to come

Watching the Redsocks eat our lunch last night, I closed my eyes and thanked the juju gods for Hanley Ramirez and the Kung Fu Panda - two sodden lumps that could gunk up the Boston lineup for years. It's nice to know that other teams - not just the Yankees - occasionally try to buy the George Washington Bridge. Still, as Boston kicked us around, it wasn't hard to imagine a harsh long-term future, and three reasons come to mind:

I'm talking about Betts, Bradley and Bogartes - three rising stars who could brace their lineup for a decade. Bogartes is already the best SS in the league; he might win the batting crown. Bradley is a Gold Glove OF who has learned to hit, and Betts could be the best of them. Add Yoan Mocada - the great and ridiculous front office Yankee mental lapse of 2015 - and we could face a Boston resurgence that won't be smoke and mirrors.

Of course, we do have Greg Bird and Luis Severino. But after that, our system lands in the middle of the pack. (Boston's is rated among the top farms, in part thanks to Moncada.) All the hype about Aaron Judge belies the fact that he didn't hit at Scranton. Jorge Matos is at least two seasons away, we have no place for Gary Sanchez, and the Yankees dedicated 2015 to devaluing Rob Refsnyder and denying the existence of Jose Pirela. We have no Betts, Bradley and Bogartes. Boston has a wave of youth, and that's how teams win.

Under Bud Selig, MLB quietly became the NFL, a sport much friendlier to cheapskate billionaire owners. To win, all you have to do is come in last for about three years. You'll draft a Bryce Harper, or a Gerrit Cole or a David Price, or maybe a couple of them. The Yankees' money advantage is vanishing, and we have our own Kung Fu Pandas - (did we really sign Chase Headley to a four-year deal?) We cannot buy our way out of bad decisions, and the Moncada debacle shows that still make them.

In baseball, the worst place to be is slightly above .500. You don't draft high, and if you sign a free agent, you forfeit your first-round pick. When you look at the Yankees, you see a middle-of-the-pack franchise that for three years now has desperately chased the one-game Wild Card, the sham of the post-season. Barring an explosive meltdown - the likes of which could end Joe Girardi's run - we should finally make that damn one game shot.

Well, we better win it. If not, all the YES blather about how the 2015 Yankees over-achieved will go down the sink hole. Because we have gigantic sodden lumps in our lineup, and they aren't going anywhere. Boston might be eating our lunches for years to come. And next year, right around now, we'll be chasing that one game wild card.

1 comment:

John M said...

The most inspiring line you've written this season was in the Bryce Harper post:

"But A-Rod, Tex, CC, Beltran and even Stephen Drew will be off the books."

I read it over and over and over, and every time it makes me feel warm and uplifted. As if the Pope came over and blessed our Easter butter lamb before grilling a few Argentine burgers.

The future always shines so brightly during the murky, jerky present. (And if Michael Kay says the Yankees aren't sprinting toward the finish line one more time, I'm throwing my TV through the window. And it's a massive, cathode ray gazillion pound TV.)