The New York Yankees targeting free-agent slugger Manny Machado reeks of the terrible times when hip overabundance turned spoiled rotten.
It all started with Jason Giambi.
During the offseason of 2002—one that represented uncomfortable feelings for the previously four-out-of-five World Series champions—the prized slugger was sought out. The New York Yankees inked the 2000 AL MVP to a massive seven-year, $120 million contract.
Though a comfortable feeling now—that the New York Yankees go after the big fish in the hot-stove sea—this wasn’t at all normal at the time. Remember, the late 1990s dynasty was built on youth, not money. The duo of Buck Showalter and Gene “Stick” Michael transformed an entire organizational culture. In having the ability to do such a thing with George Steinbrenner on the shelf (as per MLB suspension rules), the likes of Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and so many more didn’t meet the fate of a Jay Buhner.
Throwing dollars around was never the answer. Does it help? You already know the answer to that question as well as anybody.
The point is this: throwing dollars must come as a secondary cog in the wheel after the house is secure.
Seeking out Manny Machado’s services conflict with these hard-and-fast baseball rules.
Of course, many of these prized free agents contributed to chips. Who can forget Mussina’s brilliant relief outing during Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS? The very same season A-Rod was PED-outed was the lone October he busted the cover of the baseball during chilly New York weather.
That’s not the point.
Since focus shifted from building a young nucleus of youthful energetic players to fielding massive-slugging All-Stars at every position, World Series rings have dwindled. Two-thousand-and-nine was a pure money ring. It remains to this day a mere outlier in the way baseball executives should build each’s club. Besides, the nucleus of Jeter, Rivera, and the rest of the gang had one more gift chip in them.
The moral of the story hits home once realizing the health of the franchise after ownership finally allowed Brian Cashman to do his thing during the Summer of 2016. For decades, ownership was frightened of a rebuild. They feared empty August seats. They couldn’t stand not employing brand names at each position along the diamond.
When Cashman was allowed to commence the firesale and take the successful, youthful path, an incredible thing happened. The Bombers had finally turned over a stale roster to an actual future for the first time since the Buck-Stick combo during the early 1990s.
Manny Machado will stunt this process in a variety of ways.
Is The House Truly Secure?
The house isn’t completely secure as of this moment. It’s right on the brink of something special. Unlike the New York Mets, for example, Cashman has built his young core around positional players. Take note at the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, and even the one-time champion Kansas City Royals. Starting pitching wasn’t the building chip. In today’s landscape, the youthful, everyday positional player rules the roost.
At the same time, the Yanks rotation needs more.
In this world, the one that showcases a Yankees franchise frantically attempting to stay under the luxury tax, how does Manny Machado make sense? That money is better served in other areas—especially the rotation.
If rotational-answers aren’t available now, don’t sweat it. Bide your time. Hang on to the cash until the best situation shows face.
Find The Right Piece To Finish The Puzzle
Aaron Judge is right-handed. Gary Sanchez is right-handed. Gleyber Torres is right-handed. Miguel Andujar is right-handed. Giancarlo Stanton is right-handed. Manny Machado is right-handed.
Folks, what in the world are we doing here?
This is Yankee Stadium. It’s the House that Ruth Built. It’s the house that greatly favors the lefty in the box.
There’s no question that the righty slugger in the Bronx gets it done, especially in this day and age that sees baseballs flying out of the part at a record pace (without the preponderance of PED usage). But just how would a lineup be constructed with the top six hitters all batting from the right side of the plate?
- Aaron Hicks, CF-S
- Aaron Judge, RF-R
- Manny Machado, SS-R
- Giancarlo Stanton, DH-R
- Miguel Andujar, 3B-R
- Gary Sanchez, C-R
- Gleyber Torres, SS-R
- Greg Bird, 1B-L or Luke Voit, 1B-R
- Brett Gardner, LF-L
Pure silliness. Despite the legit argument of the overrated nature of lefty-righty matchups, it absolutely still means something to the game of baseball.
Stacking up so many of the same-type hitters is a foolhardy approach to building a lineup. Worst yet, if Machado were to be brought aboard, suddenly, the lefty-bat presence of Greg Bird drastically raises its importance. There’s great reason to believe Luke Voit, another righty, wins the job.
And, oh yeah, it’s not like Brett Gardner can be plugged somewhere in the middle of the lineup. He’s a No. 1, 8 or 9 hitter with this team.
The only saving grace is Didi Gregorius. Oh where, oh where will Andujar play when Didi makes his triumphant return?
Machado Compounds The Stanton Mistake
Taking on Giancarlo Stanton was a mistake. This is the case despite the peanuts that were given up.
He is just too similar a player to Aaron Judge.
Stacking like-minded players in the lineup is never the key to October success. A lineup constructed as such will surely hit a ton of home runs during the regular season. When fall arrives, however, it’s the timely-situational hitting that trumps all other forms of offense.
It’s almost as if Brian Cashman completely blacked out his Giambi days.
Giambi, A-Rod, Sheffield, Sierra—if not for the all-around hitting brilliance of Jeter, that team has like-minded power written all over it. Still, it wouldn’t touch a squad consisting of Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, and Machado.
If the Yankees had graciously said “thanks, but no thanks” to Jeter and the Marlins last offseason, they would have already brought in Bryce Harper, a lefty bat perfectly serving up moonshots towards the low porch in right field. More importantly, they’d have the money for the kid who’d break up a dominant righty-lineup that simply hurts itself on the surface of its unbending attributes.
Don’t do it. The New York Yankees and its fan have been down this path before. Bringing in the high-priced power bat pales in comparison to the dominant and like-minded power-righty lineup that would commence if Manny Machado is acquired.
Giancarlo Stanton was a mistake in its own right. By bringing in Manny, the Giancarlo mistake is compounded by an unimaginable degree.
Brian Cashman must stay the course despite all the pressures around him. The Boston Red Sox, those Steinbrenner boys, and even Randy Levine shouldn’t even be considered by the Bombers GM who pulled off such a tremendous job during the Summer of 2015 to steer this ship in the correct direction.
All Manny Machado does is bring us back to darker times that have the New York Yankees thinking big without actually realizing the house isn’t yet completely secure.
This isn’t a moment in time for more George. Rather, the nostalgic history lessons of Buck and Stick is what rings loud and clear.