Friday, October 9, 2015
As the experts unveil plans for next season's Wild Card chase, Yankee fans should ask an essential question: Are we getting anywhere?
Posted by el duque at 7:35 AM
In 2013, we lashed ourselves to Alfonso Soriano and company, desperately chasing the last open slot.. doing it for Mariano. The following season, we did the same damn thing with Jeter - grabbing the likes of Capuano and Drew. This year, we won that precious slot - (for who, CC?) - and we lasted nine wretched innings.
Each year, we fielded a middling team, a few games above .500, which is all it takes to chase the Wild Card.
During this period, the Redsocks went from last to a World Series ring. The Astros jumped from dwarf to Goliath. The Cards became baseball's modern dynasty, and the Dodgers became the Yankees. The Royals and Giants turned into elite organizations, and the Mets and Jays may join them.
And next year, we'll chase that Wild Card slot.
Folks, I got bad news for you:
It's a scam. It's a mirage. It's a Bernie Madoff deal. It's the carrot that keeps perpetual also-rans from building a team. And the Yankees have become the midway dolt that keeps plunking down his cash, thinking he'll break the balloons and win the Kewpie.
Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner's most cherished vow is that the Yankees shall challenge every season - never take a year off. Well, with the Wild Card, that's not so hard to do. Five games above .500 - and hey! you're in the Wild Card race!
The new reality of baseball - actually, it's not new; it's been this way for five frickin' years - is that you build a powerhouse by finishing low. (Yep, we are the NFL.) If you're near the bottom, you draft high and can sign free agents without losing your pick. If you're stuck in the middle, you stay in the middle. At some point, the Yankees will get this. Every other team in baseball did four years ago.
Why am I saying this? I mean, you all know it. But lately, have you read the slop that's being spewed by the "expert" blogs and publications?
Lately, they're talking up the trades we must make to challenge in 2016. (They don't say challenge for the Wild Card.) We should trade Greg Bird! We should trade Jorge Matos! We should trade Rob Refsnyder! Put them in a package! Trade them! After all, the Yankees must challenge next year, right?
Well, here's a question for the experts: If in July, when we held a seven game lead in the AL East, we decided to keep our prospects, instead of trading for a Price or a Tulo... why in Hell would we do it now? We kept them... for what? To trade them this winter?
Sooner or later, the Yankees must rebuild. Sadly, to just say the words "rebuilding year" is blaspheme in the Yankiverse. At River Ave - the preeminent Yankee blog - people get mocked, if not attacked, just for suggesting it. This is madness.
For better or worse, it's time for the Empire to reap what they sow - to play what their farms supply. If we suck, let's suck. Let's get it out of our system. Three years from now, the Yankees could be a power. Or we can still be chasing the Wild Card.
Let 2015 go down as the year we won a Wild Card birth. Now, we know what it's like. Let's learn from it. There has to be a better way.