Thursday, October 9, 2014


Many things went wrong with the Yankees in 2014. It had mostly to do with injuries, key people in key positions that became unable to play for a variety of reasons. It was a frustrating, tragic play unfolding, like a scene out of a dark comedy where things continue to go from bad to worse. So imagine my surprise when reading quotes from the Daily News’ recent articles on how Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner believe last season’s failures were a statistical anomaly, and that the team is well-staffed. As Hal Steinbrenner put it, “I thought we had a team that could certainly contend and win a championship. Right or wrong, that is what I thought. That really hasn’t changed.” Does he believe that this team can contend? If their 2015 plan is to try the 2014 plan again, we are in deep trouble.

“I honestly believe if you repeated this season 100 times, you would not get this result." That is Brian Cashman’s code for “the team is fine, we just ran into a lot of bad luck.” I sincerely hope that he is just trying to deflect bad press about the team, and that he does not actually believe that. By my count, we just completed our third consecutive year where we did not play to our potential because our key players were injured. I honestly believe that if you repeated this season 100 times, some combination of our players – maybe the same ones – would get hurt every single time, with the same ultimate result.

“You’ll see the real Carlos Beltran next year". We saw the 37-year Beltran this year, and we will see the 38-year old Beltran next year. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not blasting the guy. When he was healthy, he was a force in our lineup. He just was not healthy enough, often enough. He spent the majority of the season at DH because we did not know if he could physically throw a ball from the outfield to the infield. Next year, he will be a year older. He may be a significant contributor, but we have the 38-year old injury-prone outfielder, not the 29-year old MVP candidate. That is the real Carlos Beltran for 2015.

“And Tex should be much better. His doctor says the first year after wrist surgery is difficult, and the next year is better.” The question is, how much better, and is better enough? Look, I am a huge Mark Teixeira fan, and I would love to see him hit .320 and pop 32 home runs and 115 RBI. Nevertheless, you have to have a better plan than “next year [should be] better”. For starters, he needs a real backup. If you are not going to acquire one, and the backup is Brian McCann or Chase Headley, then decide who their respective backup will be at their primary positions. Having a team dependent on a 35-year old to play 140+ games, when he has not had an injury-free year since 2011, is ludicrous.

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. If you believe Cashman’s quotes, we should just do the same thing we did last year and we should expect a better result. You can blame injuries on a lot of factors, and both age and coaches competency are the places I look at, but you can’t expect the team to be healthy and productive without making a significant change. Is it the coaches? Maybe it is time to get better ones. Is it the age factor? How about we stop acquiring players past their prime and invest in the young players coming up in the farm system.

The one statement Hal Steinbrenner made which gave me hope went like this: “We’ve got to continue to improve player development and get these young players to be part of the team in addition to the seasoned veterans and the stars that we know we always have to have.” Now that sounds like a much better plan. It would be refreshing and encouraging to see the Yankees stop trying to catch lightning in a bottle with aging stars and second-rate players, and finally develop a viable plan. It should be an interesting winter.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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