Joel Sherman has listed 10 pitchers who could be "the next Nathan Eovaldi," as if his uniform is ready to be a Steiner Collectible. Nearly every pitcher will require trading Brett Gardner or Andrew Miller - plus one of our top prospects. The word is out that we will trade anybody, anybody, except the ones we wish we could trade, but nobody will take. Thus, we will rebuild while contending - a tough place to be, especially if the owner won't pry open his fanny pack.
It really looks like 1985, Yogi's managerial deja vu... all over again.
A refresher course: Heading into the winter of '84, we were already three years from having made the post-season, and six from our last ring. Toronto was the reigning superpower, the Mets were ascending, and the Yankees planned to both rebuild and win - (and we would accomplish neither.) In fact, we were in the early stages of the 14-year barf.
On Dec. 4, 1984, we traded prospects to the Cubs for Henry Cotto, an OF claimed to be on the verge of a breakout. (He's now most famous for breaking his ear-hole with a Q-tip.) The next day, we wowed the world by trading five more kids, including Jose Rios, for Rickie Henderson. Two weeks later, we brought in Dale Berra (Yogi was manager; he'd last 16 games), and two days after Christmas, we signed a man whose name still inspires, along with enormous pain, an IT IS HIGH Yankeeography: Ed Whitson. (See upper left) That year, we would finish second, going nowhere.
Today, the Yankee brain trust claims we can trade our way to a 2016 pennant. We won't miss Miller, the best closer in baseball (whose trade would raise a flag to all potential free-agents that the Yankees will show no loyalty to their players), or Gardner, the grittiest player on the roster... and prospects? Bah! We're back to not caring about them, right? The fact is, we were blessed last year in the deals for Didi and Eovaldi. But if you keep trading and trading, the balance sheet has a way of balancing out.
Every other team in baseball goes through a rebuilding process. The Yankees think they are different. Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner says there is no reason why a guy like him should have to shell out $200 million just to win a World Series. He will win it without spending his precious money. He'll outsmart everybody else. Just watch.
It's called hubris, folks. It's how regimes fall, it's how nations collapse, it's how supermodels get fat and it's why the sparrow will outlive us all Sometimes, I guess you have to relive history in order to respect it. Maybe every son must walk his father's lost trail before he really learns anything.
We're three years out of the playoffs, six from a ring, and our Peerless Boiler leader - ("put that money where it belongs, back in your pocket") - says we will win now and rebuild.
The question is, next November, will we be staring into 1986? Because that's when it really gets hairy.