Despite losing the first two games to the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees general manager did the right thing at the deadline.
By Robby Sabo
A little over a week ago Brian Cashman found himself in the familiar situation of decision-time. The clock winding down to 4 PM ET, the MLB trade deadline, the general of the New York Yankees faced a dilemma as he most likely sat in his office contemplating his organization’s future.
Would he acquire talent and plug a couple holes for the impending stretch run, or stand-pat and believe in his system? The one he’s been wanting to implement for so long. The system that allows a new crop of Yankee youngsters to make their way to the Bronx.
Cashman, unlike so many previous trade deadlines prior, decided to keep his prospects in his back pocket. The number of calls, texts and emails the man received about studs such as Luis Severino and Aaron Judge probably bordered on insanity.
The only acquisition to speak of was that of Seattle Mariners disappointment Dustin Ackley, hardly noteworthy.
Fast forward nine days and the Yankees comfortable seven-plus game lead in the AL East is now down to just 2.5. The red-hot Toronto Blue Jays have waltzed into Yankee Stadium and taken the first two of a three-game set behind their new shiny toys in Troy Tulowitzki, David Price and Ben Revere.
What was a walk in the park has quickly turned into an all-out serious pennant race.
For all of those who are hopping on the “blame-Cashman” bandwagon, think twice before you jump.
The Yankees are currently the fifth oldest team in all the land with an average age of 29.5. Fielding one over-30 veteran along the diamond after another, it’s been constant injuries and inconsistencies that have led to missing the playoffs the last two seasons.
Both Yankee sluggers have only played 504 games out of a possible 972 between 2011 and 2013. Rodriguez is now 40, Teixeira 35.
Their absolutely shocking performances are the reason the Yanks have exceeded expectations in 2015. The Yanks No. 3 and 4 hitters have combined for 54 home runs and 140 runs batted in. They’ve truly been incredible.
It’s the understanding that Cashman currently has about these guys that led him to stand-pat at the deadline. They simply cannot be trusted. Neither can Carlos Beltran (38), or C.C Sabathia (35). Even Brian McCann, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t spring chickens anymore (31-years old).
The point is simple: this lineup is dreadfully old.
Remember, the dynasty days of the Core-4 didn’t come from high-priced spending and out of control veteran leadership. It came from Buck Showalter and Gene “Stick” Michael building something through the farm. Success arrived only when George Steinbrenner was suspended and main cogs like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera were afforded the opportunity to grow with the team and take their lumps.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 6, 2015
The fear that George would act in a furious and rash way, trading all of his young talent was no longer there.
Take 2009 for example. The Yanks finally struck back and took their first World Series Championship since 2000. The club won this one purely by spending like drunken sailors during the offseason. Teixeira, Sabathia, Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett all played key parts in the run.
However, it was one season that went perfectly right, aided by an A-Rod playoff performance for the ages. Shortly thereafter, success escaped them.
In 2010 New York lost to the Texas Rangers in the ALCS; 2011 saw a first-round exit at the hands of the Detroit Tigers; 2012 brought another ALCS heartbreak against the Tigers; and the past two seasons saw the Bronx Bombers on the outside looking in.
No core at the heart of the team, no long-term success. Sure signing veteran free agents will keep you in the hunt, but it doesn’t offer up dynasties.
Consider the areas this current Yankees team is strong at. With 529 runs (second in MLB) their offense is hammering the ball. In addition, they possess arguably the best one-two punch in the back of the bullpen in baseball.
In essence, they possess the right type of club to make that serious run for a championship. After all, what were the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants last season? They each threw out flamethrowers out of the pen and their lineup hit situationally and in the clutchest of fashions.
The difference is quite simple. These Yankees cannot be trusted to stay healthy.
Already, when they need him the most, their No. 2 pitcher Michael Pineda is on the shelf. His return isn’t slated until September. How could anybody be confident in Mashairo Tanaka staying healthy the rest of the way too?
Cashman understood that this simply wasn’t the year to go “all-out” at the trade deadline. Had he acquired even more veteran talent in exchange for his young studs and the Yanks current graybeards flocked to the DL, it would’ve been all for naught.
The smarter play was to build – do exactly what Sandy Alderson’s been doing across town in Queens for the last four seasons. Look at those New York Mets now, it’s finally starting to payoff. Furthermore, 2015 was the right time to strike in late July for such a young Mets club.
The Yankees situation is completely opposite. They possess an aging squad with a definite chance to make a deep run in 2015, but their bright future couldn’t be sacrificed for so many “ifs” and “best case scenarios.”
In 2016 and beyond, Cashman sees a different future for this club. One that ownership hasn’t allowed him to fully implement over the better part of the last decade due to the fear of empty seats come August. One that sees Aaron Judge playing right-field, Greg Bird at first-base, Luis Mateo inching closer, and Luis Severino throwing darts from the mound.
If Severino’s MLB debut last Wednesday was any indication of what Yankees fans can expect the next decade, they’ll be in for one serious treat.
Building the farm is a sound strategy, the only plan in today’s baseball landscape that leads to sustained success. It beats the alternative of holding out for major hopes and crossed-fingers for one two-month stretch with veteran guys who can hit the DL at any turn.
Whatever the Yanks do from now until the end of 2015 will be gravy. It just doesn’t matter in the long-run. Because of Brian Cashman, the Yankees future is now bright.
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