Sunday, November 18, 2012


Put your money where your mouth is… I used to hear that a lot growing up; and I know I am not alone. It’s cliché, and maybe a little cheesy but now the Yankees are going to have to be more careful with their money. Some fans may be more upset about this goal of the Yankees cutting payroll to $189 million by 2014, but I like it. It’s time to start playing a little differently and if it helps us to stop overpaying for baseball’s established superstars, then we could be even stronger for it. I want our kids on the farm to get a chance to shine for us, and now they may get their big break.

Yankee fans expect to have a winning team on the field every year. We are passionate, vocal and dedicated to putting the best team together. Usually, that means going after the big names whether it is signing them as a free agent… or trading for them. It has worked well for us in the past so I’m not suggesting we stop spending money completely, but we need to spend our money wisely. It’s time to stop signing players to these long term deals that keep them around past their prime. I really believe our farm system is the best resource we have.

Our farm system is strong and I am protective of them. Sure, some people may believe that they haven’t worked out the way we had hoped but I have to wonder if the Yankees didn’t give them a fair shot and sold them prematurely. When we do sell them, there are times we dismiss them for a short term rental that does not position us to be more successful and I have an example for you: Brandon Laird.

Yes, I am going to go back to this again. In August, we designated Brandon Laird for assignment to clear a roster spot for Steve Pearce and I wrote about that in HELLO PEARCE, GOODBYE LAIRD. I still understand the logic behind it, but now I look at the final results in the end and I think I am even more upset. Once we designated Laird for assignment he was claimed by the Houston Astros and he could be on their roster for 2013 and helping them make an impact. 

So you may be asking… What is the big deal? Pearce was a short term rental, and I still don’t think he was worth it. He didn’t stick around long or make any lasting impacts. Yes, he had some good moments, but I think Laird will have more good moments for his new team. In the end, Steve Pearce is gone! He is no longer with us because the Yankees put him on waivers at the end of September. Once we did, the Orioles snatched him up and we gave up a young player who had great value that we did not take advantage of. We wasted Laird!

Again, you could make the argument that Brandon Laird didn’t have a future here….but now there is a new piece of the puzzle to consider here, the impending luxury tax. The Yankees are already thinking about 2014, and after I did some number crunching it is going to be a real challenge to meet this $189 million goal. Looking at the players we currently have for 2014 we have committed about $70 million which doesn’t sound bad, right?   But then I start thinking about names like Derek Jeter, or Robinson Cano (assuming they come back) and about 15 other people. We already have a large amount of money spent on just a few players. If the Yankees are serious about this number it is time to look in house.

Knowing this, Brandon Laird could have been a possible solution. He has already helped this team out when called upon and he did what was asked of him. Brandon Laird has many traits that make him desirable, including outfield experience. I look at what our needs are right now and think about the idea of putting him in left field. He can and does play that position and that would allow us to move Brett Gardner to center field. We already considered moving him there when we picked up Curtis Granderson, so why not now?

Even if the Yankees didn’t like this option, I can’t help but look back at this trade and others and feel like we don’t use our farm system to our advantage. We have a lot of kids that could be our next superstars. 

(In Photo: Dellin Betances)
I’ve spent a lot of time watching the talent we had this year at the Arizona Fall League, and I left every game feeling excited about the talent we have. Our kids are going to be the future…and I want to see them be part of OUR future, not on another team. Who knows, maybe a few of them will be a new Core Four someday.

You can read another take on BYB by reading: MAYBE THE GROOMING OF YOUNG YANKEE TALENT AIN'T WORKING. Another take, but not mine. 

--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ

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