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Saturday, November 17, 2012

MAYBE THE GROOMING OF YOUNG YANKEE TALENT AIN'T WORKING

I'd love to tell you that I'm still "all-in" with the idea of young Yankee talent being trained and groomed to one day be New York Yankee superstars, but it's my opinion that the days of a goldmine grouping of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are long gone. That happens once in a lifetime...and guess what? It happened.


This is not as much as a criticism as an analysis. The Yankees have over-hyped talent since their historic run from 1996 to 2000. We've heard every big name youngster be mentioned as "the next best thing." Then, like clockwork, something happens, be it a trade, or they get hurt and are never the same, or, they just disappear.

I remember JB Cox was the next closer for the Yankees back in 2005. Cox is still in the minor leagues years later. He's 28. I'm tired of waiting, when are we going to see this guy?
(In Photo: Jose Tabata)
Jose Tabata was "untouchable", until we traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady, some veteran help.  Tabata was also traded with Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf.  2 other prospects that were supposed to be the Yankees future.

Chase Wright had a future in pinstripes. He's currently employed by the Somerset Patriots in an Independent League. But back when he came up for New York, he gave up 4 straight Red Sox home runs in 2007, read HERE. That cemented his fate. That was his 1 and only season in the Major Leagues.

Remember when Phil Hughes was supposed to be the next Roger Clemens? I do, read HERE. Hughes is just a regular pitcher these day...not lights out, and it's been a long and sometime impatient road.  I like Hughes and out of all of these stories, he and Joba are dudes I truly want to stay with us, but once you see the Yankee track record, you will understand where my doubt comes from.

Speaking of Joba Chamberlain, he was messed with alittle too much. Ian Kennedy, he was traded away and Tyler Clippard's now a bad ass closer for the Washington Nationals.

Phil Coke beat us in the ALCS after we traded him away to the Tigers. And remember Colin Curtis? I barely do... That's because he was over-hyped and the was released this season after a long time in our farm system, read HERE.
(In Photo: Andrew Brackman)
Oh and the Killer B's story was both dynamic and highly anticipated. But Andrew Brackman eventually went to the Cincinnati Reds, and I don't even think he has a job right now.  Manny Banuelos is recovering from Tommy John surgery and Dellin Betances, while a decent pitcher, will never be the greatest pitcher the Yankees have ever had in their farm system... He's just not ready.

(In Photo: Kevin Russo)
We had Kevin Russo who never had a chance to be a major leaguer, despite what the Yankees said and he's now a minor league Free Agent. And Brandon Laird went to the Astros this season, read HERE. Remember him? The kid who had a future in New York?  Oh and what about Eduardo Nunez?  He's an infielder who can't field, yet, he's the guy the Yankees believe in.
(In Photo: Jesus Montero)
And then there is Austin Romine, a kid catcher with a bad back and Jesus Montero, another catcher and the only kid in our farm system that Yankee fans truly fell in love with, yet, we traded him away for a possible lemon.

(In Photo: Ty Hensley)
And sure, we have guys like Gary Sanchez and Slade Heathcott, Mark Montgomery, Dante Bichette Jr and Ty Hensley down there, and it's exciting to see these guys grow up in the Yankees system, but sometimes I wonder just how much time I should invest emotionally in these guys given the track record of the Yankees and the handling of these kids.  Sometimes I get discouraged, that's all.

Look, no one can predict the future, but the Yankees minor league system in recent memory is a joke and us fans need to stop falling into the trap of wanting these guys up so we can search for our next Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, because, the reality is, I don't think it's going to happen the way it did when Jeet, Bernie and the rest roamed the field at the same time. We can all agree that that was a special time, but with all those minor leaguers I mentioned above, it's the perfect script for a 4th "Major League: Broken down in the Minors" movie.
I can see it now,  Michael Keaton plays Brian Cashman and he's constantly on the phone making deals, but he can't because everyone's hurt or there's no trade value with the guys they have. Then, with a big veteran bat available, he trades off the top guy we've been developing. No thanks, I've seen that movie before...

Look, I love my Yankees, but the kids thing doesn't seem to work anymore. We're all so used to big spending and winning and it seems that we get too impatient with groom the kids. On a personal note, I tried to stick with my Yanks when they talked about grooming young talent and keeping the payroll down to $189 million, but we need to get back to the way it was, and if the Core Five surfaces again like it did in the 90's, I welcome it. But let's face it, I'm tired of forcing it and I'm tired of being disappointed.

That's my take anyway.

By the way, be sure to read Jeana Bellezza's piece THE YANKEE FARM IS THE FUTURE which will be posted tomorrow. It's another take on our farm system you'll need to read.

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