Friday, October 21, 2016
Posted by el duque at 6:52 AM
See for yourself. Without a large-scale Hal Mary money infusion, we must improve by trading Gardner and McCann - and/or the youth we spotlighted in July. Right now, here's the lineup.
c Gary Sanchez
lb Greg Bird, Tyler Austin or TBA.
2b Starlin Castro
ss Didi Gregorius
3b Chase Headley or TBA.
lf Hicks, Mason Williams or TBA.
rf Aaron Judge or TBA
dh TBA or TBA-2
sp Tanaka, CC, Pineda, Cessa, Green, Mitchell, Severino, TBA
rp Betances, Warren, Clippard, TBA, TBA, TBA.
Without a blast of new free agents - would just one matter? - we're depending on Sanchez, Bird, Judge, Severino, Cessa and Green to come up big next year. It's naive to think they'll all make it. The thing about prospects: They break your heart. We must also avoid major injuries, and when does that ever happen? Finally, Brian Cashman must make lop-sided deals - near bank robberies of other teams - and the cherry on top must be that Boston somehow tanks. What are the odds?
So... the prevailing strategy of every off-season move must be to think about 2018. By then, the verdict will be in on Sanchez, Bird, Williams, Judge, Austin, Severino, Cessa and Green - not to mention Aaron Hicks and - the absolute last chance - Pineda. By then, Clint Frazier, Jorge Mateo, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Justus Sheffield, James Kaprielian and Dominic Acevedo should be ready. A talent wave should be cresting. By 2019 - unless we blow it - the Yankees could be the Cubs of the AL.
So what do we do about Boston? One thing would be to keep them from getting Edwin Encarnacion - which would seemingly guarantee them the 2017 AL East. But if they beat us in a price war, they probably have to sign him for five to seven years. That's Ellsburian in scope. In 2019, he will be 36, along with Pedroia. David Price will be 34, and Hanley Ramirez will be 35. Of course, Betts, Bradley, Benintendi and Bogaerts will be in their primes. That year, the Yanks and Redsocks could be the powerhouses of the AL... maybe all of baseball. Think of it: A new rivalry, with the upstart Yankees seeking to dethrone the veteran Socks? The Bronx would come alive again... because - really - it's been dead and dying now for four years.
Listen: There is a future for the Yankees. Trouble is, it's two years away. We must be patient. And most of all, we mustn't blow it by trading away the hopes of 2018 for a quick and likely meaningless fix.