Friday, November 27, 2015
Posted by el duque at 7:35 AM
Me? I got nothing. Every plan worth a paragraph requires signing a free agent ace, which Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner has ruled out, after stressing that I'm Not Cheap is not cheap.
The possibility exists that I'm Not Cheap is actually not cheap, but posturing - planning to bid on, say, David Price, rather than allow Boston a clear bidding path to the pitcher. That is our version of "fantasy baseball." When I'm Not Cheap said the same thing last year about Max Scherzer, we didn't believe him, thinking I'm Not Cheap could not be so cheap. Had we signed Scherzer, who knows? We might have won the AL East. But we didn't, and for a guy who counts his holdings in billions, and owns the frickin' NEW YORK YANKEES, I'm Not Cheap is looking damn cheap.
So here we are, basically standing pat with a wild card. If you're wondering Who's On First, you might as well be Lou Costello. Because practically every position is inscribed in granite: 1B (Tex), SS (Didi), 3B (Headley), the OF (Gardy, Ellsbury, Beltran, Hicks), C (McCann), DH (A-Rod), the starters (six of them, no discernible ace), the bullpen (Miller, Betances, Wilson).
You want wiggle room: 2B, fifth starter, bullpen depth. We're like a school budget that's been rejected, but the board can't make changes due to mandated programs. So it puts up the same budget.
I think a better question is how did we get here? It's now been six years since Hal basically bought the pennant by signing CC, Tex and AJ. Everything since has floundered. And, frankly, he has never held a plan for a full season. In the last six years he has:
a) Declared "Austerity," demanding that the payroll be cut to $186 million, with an absolute moratorium on two-year deals. Then, same month, he signed Ichiro to a two-year deal. And then he ditched "Austerity," claiming $186 million was just "a goal."
b) Announced new "Austerity," refusing long-term deals, letting Robbie Cano's 10-year pact go to Seattle. Same month, he ditched the plan, committing the Yankees to 15 years worth of McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran.
c) Purged memories of "Austerity" with mid-season deals for Headley, Prado, McCarthy, et al, in chase of a Wild Card. The following winter, announced "Austerity," refusing long-term deal with Scherzer, et al.
d) Last summer, vowed to beef up team at trade deadline, but stood pat. And now we're back to "Austerity," not signing any big name.
It looks like a long season. But if we're floundering next June, then what? Do we have a plan?