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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Are the Yankees doomed by their "perpetual contender" strategy?

In the last five years, the Redsocks have thrice finished dead last in the AL East, twice won divisional titles and celebrated one world championship. Today, they lead the AL East by 4.5 games. By tomorrow, it will probably be more.

Over that same period, the Yankees took the division once, then twice finished second, then third, then fourth. They have not won one post-season game, not one, and this year lead the wild card race by 2.5 games. 

Throughout this period, Boston used its crapola years to strategically rebuild. They regularly traded old for young (Lackey, Lester) and coldly - cynically, you might say - let their teams crumble for a long-term gain. (They drafted 7th in 2015; that's why they have Andrew Benintendi.)  

The Yankees, on the other hand, only once dedicated their team to the future - last season, when they unveiled Gary Sanchez and the (there's no other way to put this - currently horrible) Aaron Judge. Their policy is - unlike virtually every other team in baseball - to always contend and never rebuild.

One question, folks: Is this strategy working? 

I ask because while you are digesting your oatmeal, Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman is desperately working the phones, looking to peddle more young talent for whatever aging inner-tube arms remain on the waiver market - the Yankee future be damned. He is Lady MacBeth, piling up the bodies and wondering, why stop now? We have traded four of our Top 10 prospects - nearly half of our blue chip personnel - while the Yankee-owned media marvels at our front office brilliance. (With two exceptions, I should point out: John and Suzyn - the most notorious of homers, according to Yankee critics - have openly questioned the team's direction... especially Suzyn.) Cashman has no choice. He's the GM who got us here, and he's won nothing - nada - in five years.

Three weeks ago, briefly finding ourselves in first, "Cooperstown" outbid Boston for Todd Frazier, keeping Frazier's vaunted .205 bat from our rivals. If not for the Mets' refusal to "help" us, Cashman would have traded more prospects for yet another outfielder, Jay Bruce - maintaining the Steinbrennerian tradition of knee-jerk trades for DHs in times of turmoil. 

With the Yankees grabbing Frazier, the Redsocks had to settle for Eduardo Nunez (.304). When Dustin Pedroia's knee continued to flare, they brought up 20-year-old Rafael Devers to play third. He is hitting .314 with 3 home runs in 57 at bats. 

Yesterday brought a tale of two third basemen. In the third, Frazier flubbed a potential DP bouncer that ignited Boston's 5-run rally, effectively crushing Luis Severino's spirits. Later, Devers hit a rocket over Jacoby Ellsbury's head in center, smiling at second base with a future as bright as his team's. 

We have a highly regarded 3B named Miguel Andujar. He's hitting .318 in Scranton. Earlier this season, he came up for one game, went three for four, and drove in four runs. Then he was sent back. Of course, one game means nothing - unless it's the 2017 wild card, because that's what the Yankees are chasing.

Once again, we dismantled a long-term plan for a one-shot deal, because - as we all know - the Yankees are always supposed to contend... every year. Trouble is, anybody near .500 is a contender for the 2017 wild card - it's baseball's equivalent of the GED; even Blue Jays aren't out of it. And when that is your goal, you're going nowhere. 

Tonight, the Yankees take on Chris Sale. We could win; stranger things have happened. But my guess is we'll be absorb our eighth loss in 12 games - as we plummet toward .500, the base line of perpetual mediocrity. Rest assured, we will not rebuild. A new GM might be able to float a two or three-year plan. Not "Cooperstown." He's been here 19 years. My guess is he has a golden shower video of somebody. So be prepared: More trades are coming. Lady MacBeth is not finished.

11 comments:

John M said...

This organization disgusts me. Cashman, Girardi, Stenbrenners, Rothschild. Judge hit .179 last year and keeps it on his phone...obviously as a goal to strive toward this year. We have no rotation now, and wrong, stupid decisions are sure to follow. On top of the already made wrong, stupid decisions.

I am quickly moving to being totally disgusted. That means watching "Suits" live instead of DVDing it because the game is on.

Until at least Girardi and Cashman are gone, this is an exercise in complete futility. Contenders? Pretenders is more like it. Feh. Ptui.

13bit said...

Cashman is desperately trading away the future in exchange for any kind of post season presence, even one game, and for the sole reason of saving his own job. He is only looking out for himself at this point. As long as boy wonder Hal can sell tickets and make millions selling five cent bottles of Poland Spring for $5.25, we will go nowhere. He does not care about baseball, either. He just cares about money. Randy Levine? Who knows what he cares about? But, even I don't care what he cares about. It would take courage and a backbone to continue the rebuilding process. That has not been present in this organization for a long time.

KD said...

When Pineda went down, I said time to sell.. trade Tanaka I said. He'll only opt out next year. Trade Tanaka I said before he ends up on the DL. Now look what's happened. (I will admit I thought it would be the elbow. The fact that it is his shoulder is even more ominous.)

Listen, if a moron like me, like many of us here, could see this coming, why not theYankees FO genius establishment?

Duque, tell us how Yankee dynasties have formed in the past. Did they rise from .500 teams? Or did they rise from big barfs? I think we all know the answer. Cash man eat al are fools and we fans seem to suffer them gladly.

I'm with John M in his growing disgust.

Anonymous said...

I'M WITH ALL YOU GUYS.....

CASHMAN, AND GIRARDI MUST GO.

BUT, I DON'T SEE IT HAPPENING.

NOT WITH "DO NOTHING HAL" AT THE HELM.

ALL WE CAN DO IS KEEP BITCHING AND MOANING.

MAYBE WE WILL CATCH SOMEONE'S ATTENTION THAT MATTERS.

A Ferengi said...

You guys amuse me greatly. You think Hal is concerned about winning. How charming! Ask yourself this: are profits up this year? Why, yes! Yes they are! This year has been a rousing success. Wild card here we come!

Off to my home planet of Ferenginar. Big ceremony next week. Adding another layer of gold to our idol. Praise be to Hal Steinbrenner!

HoraceClarke66 said...

I think you're all completely right about the real motivations of Food Stamps. Cashman hangs on because he makes cutting payroll and maximizing profits a priority. Girardi hangs on because he's Cashman's guy.

This will not change.

Why? Because of two big reasons:

1) Us. Or at least, those of our brethren who continue to shell out the outrageous prices at the Stadium. Attendance is only down minimally from the last time we were true contenders. The Yanks led the AL in attendance, 2013-15, were still second last year, and are second again in 2017.

This year, we're still averaging almost 40,000 a game, with one-third of our home schedule and many big dates still to come. If we keep up that 40,000 pace, we'll exceed last year's gate handily.

I have no idea what the TV/radio ratings are like, but they're probably up.

2) The New York Mets. The Mets are a ridiculously undercapitalized and badly run team, that cannot sustain any period of winning.

Half-a-season of the Yanks winning this year made them New York's team again. You can see the Yankees hats all over the street, while the Mets hats have vanished. They're averaging fewer than 32,000, with that number likely to drop more as they play out the string in their 23, remaining home games. I can only guess what their ratings are like.

So we keep loyally supporting the Yankees, while the Mets provide absolutely no threat of taking away all those fans who just like to see a winner.

All the Food Stamps clan has to do is keep operating like this, sort-of contending for a wild car playoff spot, sticking in the division race until sometime in August, and they're golden. The money will keep rolling in, there's no crosstown rival to push them, and they can concentrate on getting below that pesky luxury tax penalty.

But don't worry. Cooperstown is 50, Binders is 53. They have to retire eventually. I'd say we'll only have to put up with about another 20 years of this.





Alphonso said...

Of course they are doomed with this strategy. It is why we have nothing to show for us.

It is why we die every July 31st, as the few prospects we think might change things are traded for more dead wood.

There has never been a doubt.

Fish die from the head first. And that is the Yankees. The top is rotten.

We are doomed until a revolution occurs.

We need something to cause Hal to fire Brian and Joe.

Otherwise; it is football season.

KD said...

Paid attendance up for sure but what about real attendance? You know, butts in seats? Just look at all those empty corporate seats behind home plate. Then compare that to the redsocks. Pains me every time I watch a Yankees game in Boston. Every home plate seat taken by an old frat boy. Boston must let real fans have those seats. Hal saves them for corporate clients willing to pay his price. Most are probably tax write offs. As long as the price is paid, Hal could care less if anybody is actually there.

HoraceClarke66 said...

What's amazing is that he won't lower the price of those seats anymore, even after nine seasons now of them sitting vacant. He just wants what he wants.

Anonymous said...

RailRiders are a juggernaut yet again, poised to win back to back championships. Cooperstown Cash can really put together a AAA roster.

I'm Bill White said...

Will Jeet run the Marlins like a winner? I'm willing to take a chance to find out.