Thursday, September 18, 2014


I’ve just about had it.

I’m tired of watching old players well past their prime breaking down and leaving unfulfilled promises in the hands of our medical staff.  I’m tired of a manager’s misguided loyalty to his players that results in the same lineup letdowns day after day, and I’m tired of watching a win slip away while that same manager seems to be oblivious to the obvious.

It’s all about trust.

We are fielding one of the oldest, if not the oldest, teams in Major League Baseball simply because our general manager would rather try to catch lightning in a bottle with players whose glory years are a distant memory, instead of looking to what we have in our minor league system.

He simply doesn’t trust the youngsters. As a result, we are left with a band of broken part-time players.

Our GM has a strategy of trying to harness a rebirth of former stars.  He throws money at them like it was soft candy at a geriatric parade, and we get stuck with a bevy of mid-to-long term contracts for players that spend more time worrying about what surgery to have next rather than what their approach should be with the next at-bat.

Brian Cashman’s strategy has become as worn as the players he’s acquiring, and it needs to stop.  Start trusting what you have developing in the minor league system Brian.  Why not give a shot to a young outfielder instead of signing Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal?  What would you have lost?

Beltran has appeared in 107 of our 149 (as of this writing) games.  He’s hitting .235.  Tell me how one of our prospects would have done worse.  I’d struggle believing you.

One player Cashman brought on board that isn’t a geriatric (he’s 31), but who plays like one is Stephen Drew.  The GM traded Kelly Johnson to the Red Sox for him on July 31st.  I’m not altogether sure what “Cash” saw in Drew, given that he was hitting .176 in Boston at the time.  I know he was trying to fill a void at second base because the former superstar second baseman that the GM signed during the off-season – 36-year-old Brian Roberts – hadn’t worked out, but Drew’s last truly good season was in 2010 (I’m being nice) and he had never played second base.

Yet another gamble to rekindle the past has failed miserably, as Drew is batting .135 with the Yankees. He currently ranks 307th (yeah that’s not a typo) in the American League in hitting, and of those around him in the rankings, only one – John McDonald of the Angels – has played in more than 70 games (McDonald isn’t a starter).

(In Photo: Jose Pirela)
All the while the club has had TWO second basemen at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre who have far out-shone anything Drew has displayed in the Bronx.  24-year-old Jose Pirela has hit .305 with 10 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and 60 RBI at Scranton.  His play at second has been decent with a .979 fielding pct (Drew’s is .971).   If Pirela doesn’t “float your boat”, the RailRiders have another choice in 23-year-old Rob Refsnyder.  The baby Bomber hit .300 with 8 home runs and four stolen bases in half a season with the club.  During the first half of 2014, Refsnyder pounded out a .342 average at Trenton.  In the field, the former outfielder held his own with a .988 fielding pct.

(In photo: Rob Refsnyder)
My only question is what would either Pirela or Refsnyder have done that could be worse than Drew?  Why didn’t we give at least one of them a chance?

Since we are on the topic of Stephen Drew, it brings me to my issue (well, primary issue) with our manager Joe Girardi.

As I mentioned, Drew isn’t exactly burning good memories into the minds of Yankee faithful with his play in the Bronx, yet Joe Girardi continues to put him into the starting lineup.  To date, Drew has appeared in 36 of the 42 games played since he donned pinstripes.  In spite of his anemia at the plate, Girardi puts Drew in the seventh spot of the order, and he’s even batted as high as fifth in the lineup.

Does Girardi feel “obligated” to put Stephen Drew in his daily lineup?  Or, is Girardi an extension of Brian Cashman, believing that Drew is going to have a rebirth soon?  I think it has to do with loyalty.  Our manager is loyal to a fault.  Look at how many times he turned to David Huff in the middle of the season before realizing that the lefty “specialist” was hurting more than helping (that’s just one of several examples).

Joe Girardi has shown himself to be resistant to change.  In previous seasons he used Boone Logan until his arm virtually fell off, and he continues to throw Beltran and Mark Teixeira into the heart of the order in spite of the fact that neither is hitting above .236.

As I sit here pondering our situation, I can’t help but think that maybe the problem with the Yankees is that our management team lacks “creativity”.  They have become so set in their ways that the Bombers are now stale.  The close-mindedness of our GM and manager has snuffed out the candle of yet another season.

(In Photo: Chris Stewart)
I want to believe in Girardi.  After all, I still think last season was perhaps his finest as he kept the team in the playoff hunt until the very end while having to use the likes of mannequins Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart.  Only, in watching this season I’m starting to think that maybe he just “lucked into” that playoff chase of a year ago.  I think I’ve lost my trust in him.

Unfortunately, our owners have all but pledged to bring back the men responsible for the product we see on the field every day.  They have a blind trust in Cashman and Girardi.  Or, maybe they just don’t care.

I’ll keep hoping that we turn a corner, but with the age of this team and the mentality of those that run it, it’s becoming a struggle to even watch on a daily basis.

I will enter 2015 with no expectations.  It’s a feeling that I haven’t had in quite some time.  We’ll see what the off-season brings, but it will be on the field where this team will have to regain my trust.


--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1

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