Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Must the Yankees collapse to become contenders again?

Last summer, you could say the Yankees were baseball's version of Jeffrey Epstein: They spent $30 million on handsome, 16-year-old Latino boys. 

Horrible jokes aside, it was a strategy for the long haul, and we all cheered. The Yankees were investing in youth - the youngest of the young. Most of the signees will turn out to be the next Wily Mo Pena or Ricardo Aramboles - (adios, Yanqui suckahs) - but who knows... we might land the next Miguel Cabrera. 

Trouble is, he won't arrive until around 2020. (BTW, in 2020, we will all look and think like Hugh Downs)

Because of that July spending splurge, the Yankees were neutered yesterday in the bidding war over Yoan Moncada. (Actually, Boston's balls were also clipped, because they overspent their "allotment,"  too. The truth is, we just pretended to be more castrated.) The Yankees must now go two years without playing sugar daddy to the testosterone-blessed youths of the Caribbean. If the next Pedro Martinez turns up, we will watch the bidding war from a distance. Same with the next big thing from Cuba, and there is always a next big thing from Cuba. Come 2017, we'll be on it - unless, by then, as expected, it's all part of one MLB draft. 

The Yankees will find their talent in the annual June selections, where they currently sit in the low and slow middle of the pack. They can always get lucky and land the next Mike Trout - but it's just as likely to be the next Steve Trout. In other words, when you draft among the also-rans, you might just remain a permanent also-ran. Ask Toronto fans about that.

Last year, rather than be Toronto, Boston crashed its shiny and expensive World Championship team in mid-season, and started looking toward 2015. The Yankees slogged to the finish line, trading two prospects who had recently represented the franchise in Futures Games (and which the Yankees immediately started bad-mouthing to their media courtiers.) And from the looks of things, Boston is going to eat our lunches this year, and maybe for many seasons to come.

I can't remember when Boston looked so much on an upward trajectory, while the Yankees seem so old and crumbling. 

Still, a wise man once said, "You cannot predict baseball."

No Yankee fan should ever enter a season rooting for his team to fail. As angry as I feel today, come opening day, trust me: I will be revved and as hopeful as Rudy Giuliani in a Fox News green room. It's a reflex action. I have been this way since the days of Ron Klimkowski and Andy Hassey. I survived that 14 year malaise, and I will survive this one. In fact, there can be great fun in watching the hapless Yankees dance upon the high-stakes hubris of an angry Steinbrenner. Soon, Hal will start putting on weight and throwing pencils at people. It will be entertaining to see him sputter and stutter. Maybe he'll punch an elevator. Watching the Yankees sink can be an acquired taste. And it will weed out a lot of fair-weather fans. 

Get ready to see more Mets and Redsock caps, wherever you go. But we can wear our NY caps just as proudly. And a NY t-shirt that says "Beltran" will draw smiles from everyone who gets the joke. Don't run out and buy one now. They'll be marked down later.

Yesterday's message was clear: The son of George is not the next George. The Yankees let the Redsocks outbid them. We will improve via draft picks and a long term strategy that just happens to resemble Jeffrey Epstein's old summer internship program. Sign 'em young. 

Well, part of that strategy should be in striving to draft higher than 20th.

I believe the 2015 Yankees will be an abomination. The only reason we won't finish sixth in the AL East is that there aren't six teams. Each of our three starting pitchers - we only have three - is a ticking time bomb. Come July, we could be six or seven games out of the Wild Card. It may be wise to pull the plug. It won't be easy. The team will be mocked and marginalized. 

We shouldn't root for the Yankees to fail, but we need to brace ourselves for the possibility. It may be 1990 again. That Latino class won't peak for another eight years. It's going to be a long hard road.


joe de pastry said...

I won't feel as good about wearing my NY cap.
I wish I still had the Portland Beavers cap I bought on my trip to the west coast about 15 years ago. If I did I'd wear it everywhere, even to the Stadium, instead of Hal's team's cap.
I have never been so unenthusiastic about the Yankees, not even during the Horace Clarke years or when George was at his worst. At least with George, even when he did something stupid or irrational you knew he did it because he cared.

Anonymous said...

what "upward trajectory" for Boston????

they hype their minor league prospects and when they call them up....they don't perform.

they trade away their pitching and now acquire starters who are no more than average.

then they go out and buy obviously flawed free agents at great price and assemble a bunch of mismatched parts that are likely to hit a lot and win as many games by a 7-5 score as they lose by that score.