Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mr. Cashman, one question: What's the plan?

Last November, Brian Cashman needed to find a 3B. The Panda Bear was destined for Boston - thank God - and the A's were quietly planning to send Josh Donaldson - and the pennant - to Toronto for Brett Laurie and some breath mints. The Yankees were eyeing Chase Headley - to the fan base's dismay - and people were predicting a collapse.

This is from ESPN, dated Nov. 12, 2014, under the headline, "Worst Is Yet to Come for Yankees."

But those early-'90s Yankees teams had advantages the current Yankees don't have. The current Yankees are a wealthy team, but there are also indications their payroll flexibility is limited, plus they're far older and have a worse farm system than the early-'90s Yankees. There's no easy fix to these problems, as those older players are mostly saddled with contracts bad enough the team probably can't even give them away.

Let's give Cashman credit: He stitched together a Wild Card team and staved off the Impending Collapse. Unfortunately, the Yankees have one major enemy: Time.

Time helps young teams. They get better. Time is killing us. Does anybody expect Mark Teixeira - year older - to make it through 2016, when he hasn't made it through a season in three years? How does one find hope for CC Sabathia, even if he's dry? For all the talk of their comebacks, Beltran didn't hit for power, and A-Rod didn't hit for average. Last year, the Yankees celebrated the signing of Chase Headley. This November, we wonder if he can figure out how to throw to first.

The collapse never happened. The question is, are the Yankees better off? Are we building something, or simply forestalling meltdowns? The curse of the modern pro sports franchise is to field a team slightly over .500. And that's what the Yankees did this year.

Collapse big, or don't collapse at all.

Is there any hope? In the summer of 2014, the Yankees plunked down about $30 million to sign the biggest prospects available in the 16-year-old Latino market. It was the spending splurge that probably most explains why we let Yoan Moncada go to Boston (and truth be told, none of the players we signed might be as good as him.)

Last year, our Latino class began playing professional ball. It's way too early to tell. But nobody broke out. Nobody ripped apart a league. Nobody hit .300 with power. Nobody pitched absolutely lights out. Most played in the Dominican Summer League. They're too to assess. Then again, they were too young to assess when we spent $30 million on them. Sixteen is too young to assess a player.

By this time next year, we might have an 18-year-old who turned heads in Charleston. That would leave us three- maybe four years - away from impacting NYC.

So here's my question: Is that what we're doing? Is that the long-term plan? We just hold it together, year upon year, chase that wild card and hope to get hot in October? And then, maybe around 2020, we'll see a splurge of talent from the minors? Is that it? Because yeesh - somebody has to have a plan - more so than simply waiting for all the bad contracts to end, so that we can sign new bad contracts.

If that's the plan, I'd rather see us collapse. If we're playing for 2020 - well, that's a long haul, but I'm in. Let's do it right. A year of honest rebuilding and wave (hopefully) of youth? I'll take it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

DRIVEL. Daily drivel. Maybe you should consider the Mets as your team of choice. Once in awhile, the Yankees remain the greatest team in sports, regardless of your inane, earthy, diatribes.