Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Will the Yankees learn anything from the success of San Francisco and St. Louis?

Here we go again: SF v SL - the modern gold standards of the National League.

In the AL, it's KC v. Showalter, two clubs loaded with stars in their primes, both likely to be contenders - if not division winners - for several years.

And then there is our raging nemesis, Boston, soon to be freshly rebooted. If the past is prelude, they'll be resurrected next year because - well - they are the modern gold standard of the AL.

At some point, the yacht club commodores who run the Yankees might ponder how these teams have built mini-dynasties at a fraction of the Bombers' costs.

San Francisco, now chasing their third World Series ring in recent years, are led by Buster Posey, arguably the next Jeter. Posey was once the third pick in the MLB draft. The Giants have made consensus draft picks, stressed pitching, and in down years, turned to rebuilding.

The Cards, likewise, always look a few years down the road. When Albert Pujols - a god in St. Louis - chased West Coast money, they never felt heartburn. Somewhere, within their incredible farm system lurks a young executive who might have reset the Yankees' miserable quagmire. Instead, the Yankees kept farm director Mark Newman until long after his sell-date, and now he's retiring with a system that sucked air for the last three years. (Yes, I know: Dellin Betances! But are 28 year old rookies really prospects?)

Yesterday, George King of the NY Post reported that Brian Cashman and company won't chase the 23-year-old Cuban OF, Yasmani Tomas, because they don't think he's worth the $100 million he's destined to get. In other words, some team - likely with less money and a better record of scouting players - DOES believe he's worth $100 million. Of course, none of us knows the worth of this guy. But the question remains: Do we feel confident about the Yankees' decision to turn away and count their pennies?

Over the last two seasons, the Yankees have sold a lot of tickets by promoting nostalgia acts: Huge pageants to honor ex-heroes, such as Tino Martinez, and they promoted the entire month of September as farewell tours for Mo or Jete. Yankee Stadium became MLB's version of Branson, Missouri. Unfortunately, we have now run out of Rolling Stone reunions, and we are looking at Foghat and Mungo Jerry. Chasing the last Wild Card slot gets stale, especially when you're trading future prospects just to stay relevant.

Who will the Yankees use to sell tickets next fall? A-Rod? Get real. A farewell season for Ichiro? Count me out. Are we supposed to come and cheer the painful deterioration of Sabathia and Teixeira? Does anybody think we will be reborn by signing 30-year-old Chase Headley, and ignoring the population of Cuba? Who breathes life into the tired Yankee brand next year? Martin Prado?

Are we learning from the Giants and Cardinals? Because they are the gold standard of baseball. And the Yankees, on the other hand, have become the bronze standard... yep, the Bronze Bombers. And I can think of something else the color of bronze.

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