With the youth movement making waves for the New York Yankees, how exactly do the long-time veterans fit into the equation for the future?
The New York Yankees have finally accepted the youth movement into their organization after years of resistance. However, the emergence of youth has put veterans on their heels and, potentially, will push them out the door.
With the call-ups of undisputed stars by the likes of Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin, fans have been questioning what exactly that will mean for the older players on the roster. With their impressive performances, so far, they are asking the right question.
What is going to happen to those veterans once more and more talented youth make their way to the Major Leagues?
To answer that, let’s go back to the 1996 season.
An overly successful season, resulting in championship number 23, this season featured a combination of experienced veteran players and incredibly talented rookies making their way up the ladder. Interestingly enough, the balance of young and old players is similar to this August in the Bronx.
Derek Jeter, in his first full year, was joined by Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, both entering their second seasons in the league, and represented some of the young talent on display this season.
Pettitte started in the bullpen in 1995 and was demoted to Triple-A to work on his role as starters. Rivera worked in 1996 as a set-up man for the main closer, John Wetteland. Both players used their veteran counterparts to observe and learn from in their vulnerable years as young talent.
That is exactly what is going to happen to these veterans in 2016. They know their days are numbered with more and more talented youth anxiously awaiting their time in the big leagues.
Wiry veterans like Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, and Chase Headley have a new role in their careers. Instead of simply playing, their job is to teach these rookies all the ins and outs of how to improve. In the end, it is all about the team and what will help the team win.
They’ve been in the league for years. Teixeira is finishing up his 16 year career, while Gardner is just finishing up his sixth full season, all in New York. They have the experience to know what it takes to remain at a high level of play, especially under the microscope in the Bronx.
While these young players clearly know what they’re doing on the field, veterans can still lend their advice on what the game is like in New York. When it also comes to handling the media, these veterans are pros, while rookies haven’t had prime opportunities to learn in the minors.
These veterans will still get the opportunity to play. But they also realize that the future is now, much like it was when they came up.
Every year veterans get pushed out by highly talented youth. When the veterans accept this as the circle of life in baseball, they begin to realize they’ve transformed from an everyday player to an invaluable resource for young baseball players.
The Yankees’ farm system is loaded with top talent that is arguably the best in the league. It is only a matter of time before they run out of challenges in the minors and the Yankees have no option but to bring them up to perform in pinstripes.
However, these veterans are ready. Every player was once a rookie and having an equal give advice helps each new generation get better and better for the Yankees. It’s time for these veterans to start sharing their knowledge, which will make these future stars that much brighter.