For the New York Yankees, the call-up of Rob Refsnyder means much more than just a regular second-baseman filling an unproductive spot.
By Robby Sabo
The outlook during the past Hot Stove season regarding the New York Yankees was one of nervous hope. Not due to the fact newcomers were looking to make their mark in Major League Baseball, but hope as it related to the many question marks surrounding injuries.
Alex Rodriguez was coming into 2015 having missed the entire 2014 season and only playing 44 games in 2013. Mark Teixeira was looked upon as a serious injury concern. To top it all off, Brian Cashman’s crown jewel acquisition prior to the 2014 season, Masahiro Tanaka, decided to forgo Tommy John surgery and fight through the ligament tear.
If New York wants to make that plunge from good team to possible dynasty, an injection of youth must take place.
We all remember the dynasty Yankees of the 1990s. It was George Steinbrenner and a lot of money that allowed success to flourish, right?
The reason the Bronx Bombers were so successful from 1996 through 2003 had everything to do with a patient, simple plan. They developed from within and allowed youngsters to lead the way.
It was guys like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Marino Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada who were granted the opportunity to take their lumps and keep on trucking. It was Gene “Stick” Michael and Buck Showalter who were afforded the opportunity to build this franchise the right way once Steinbrenner was suspended for the Howie Spira mess.
Money and veterans of course help, but they need to factor into the greater pie at the right percentage.
Right now, that percentage is too high.
The Yankees were the fourth-oldest team coming into the season with an average age of 29.4, via ESPN. The last few seasons have showcased the idea that Cashman hasn’t had any MLB-ready prospects to fill some voids when some of these high-priced veterans went down.
All of their super prospects seemed to be in Single-A.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 11, 2015
Now, suddenly, names like Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Mason Williams, Luis Severino and Rob Refsnyder are all knocking the door of Yankee Stadium. The only issue the Yanks have to work around is the reality that all of their positions are locked up with huge contracts.
The recent call-up of Refsnyder to replace the struggling Stephen Drew is step-one in the framework of another Yankees core that can do serious damage. If he makes the most of his opportunities, he’ll remain the starter at second-base the rest of the season. That’s only if he makes the most of his chances though, as Drew isn’t making $5 million this season for nothing.
That’s the issue these youngsters currently face. While the fan doesn’t want to see washed up guys like Carlos Beltran play anymore, the money and status won’t allow a prospect to take his spot unless injury occurs.
Nevertheless, Saturday night will most definitely be a peak into something fans haven’t seen in a while in the Bronx. That something is exciting youth.
Dellin Betances was the first a season ago. Now it’s Refsnyder’s turn. Hopefully – with the success we see from the newest Yankee – it’ll only be a matter of time before Bird, Judge and Severino are big league bound as well.
The time is now for this infusion of youth. Build this thing the right way.
Rob Refsnyder isn’t the key for Yankee success, but he’s the first step in balancing out the personnel the correct way.
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