Monday, February 20, 2017
Posted by el duque at 7:24 AM
The good old days, remember? Pride and prestige. Aura and mystique. Joe Torre stood in front of a crowd and thanked God for the chance to be a Yankee. Jeez, it went back for generations. We might not be any good, but Roy White wasn't going anywhere.
When did we lose it? When did the craven corporate structure replace tradition? I trace it back to the winter of 2003-04 when Cashman chose the MRI on Andy Pettite's elbow over the truth of Andy's heart. We just let him go. Andy pitched three years in Houston - 84 games with an ERA of 3.38 - while we dicked around with Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jared Wright and Kevin Brown - not one a true Yankee. It took us three years to realize the mistake, three lost years, while Torre's team fell apart.
Well, today, Brett Gardner is our oldest tenured Yankee, the closest we have to a Roy White. He does everything well, nothing spectacular. Not an all-star. Just the guy you want up late in a tie game.
We spent the winter trying to peddle him.
In the end, Cashman said no. Not because Gardner is too sacred to be traded, but because Cashman needed a slam dunk for his management resume, a career that can only be considered a success by its longevity. Cashman's greatest achievement has been in keeping his job.
In fact, I guess Cashman is our longest tenured Yankee, our sacred figure. And that's why we are in this predicament.
It's hard to realize that Gardy is 34. Seems like yesterday, no? He'll never again steal 50 or hit 20 HRs. He should bunt more. His glove is golden, and he still takes bushels of pitches. It's a sad testament to this team that we're a year, maybe two, from desperately needing a clubhouse lug nut like him. But does anybody really expect him to still be around on opening day? I don't.
It's been a month of bad omens. The Chris Carter signing. The Betances arbitration. The mere sight of Randy Levine. (Mr. Trump, don't you need an ambassador to Mars?) The Tyler Austin broken toe. The injuries still to come. The 2017 Yankees don't look like a contender. And Brett Gardner - lifelong Yankee, a great player and a sacred figure - might not be around much longer.