Saturday, November 22, 2014


When will reality sink in with people that the current Yankees “formula for success” isn’t succeeding?
Yeah, Brian Cashman had a banner start to his tenure as General Manager with World Championship teams mainly built by his predecessor, but his current strategy of acquiring aging veterans through free agency and trading off minor league stars has resulted in just one ring in the past 14 campaigns.

In a very “Lemming-like” fashion, many in the media have continued to drink the Cashman “Kool-aid” with articles like the recent one posted in SB Nation claiming that Nick Swisher could be a good fit for the Bombers.
No one could have said it better than the father of BYB – Robert Casey – when he wrote that “Nick Swisher was a solid player for the New York Yankees, but we have other priorities and back up first baseman is NOT one of them.”  You can read his entire article here.
(In Picture: Greg Bird)
The point that Robert is making is that it’s time for a change in strategy.  Using our minor league players as nothing more than trade bait and only bringing them to “the show” to showcase them for other teams just isn’t working.
It is my sincere hope that Mr. Cashman watched and learned something from this season’s World Series.  The two teams that competed in the Fall Classic were littered with young, home grown stars.  The Giants and Royals built their teams from within, grooming their talent in the farm system and giving the deserving ones a fair shot in MLB.

(In Photo: Greg Bird)
To get out of the “rut” the Yankees have been in they need to recognize the fact that they have some minor league players worthy of a genuine chance to play every day in the Bronx.   Robert mentions Greg Bird, a first baseman who was a star in the recent Arizona Fall League.  He’s 22-years-old and last year played in AA Trenton. 
Many would counter that he needs more “seasoning” and bringing him up as a backup isn’t going to ensure the kind of regular playing time that he’d need.  Casey points out that he’d be behind Mark Teixeira, someone who has made it part of his in-season routine to sit out injured seemingly every other week.  Bird would get plenty of playing time – both at DH and 1B.

(In Photo: Rob Refsnyder)
Outside of Bird, the Yankees have been sitting on a gem at second base in Rob Refsnyder.  Many of us were puzzled that the team refused to bring Refsnyder up for the final month of the season when they desperately needed a contributor at second.  Instead, they called up Jose Pirela and played him in seven games – choosing to continually put mannequin Stephen Drew in the lineup rather than give Pirela a real shot at proving himself.
(In Photo: Aaron Judge)
There have been people who say that the Yankees surely know what they have and realize that it’s not good enough to put in the field at Yankees Stadium.  Then why was Bird named AFL MVP?  Along with Bird, guys like Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin and Dante Bichette Jr. showed Arizona some great Yankee fall baseball.  If our minor league system is so barren, then how is it that Dellin Betances and Shane Greene had such an impact this past season? 

(In Photo: Dante Bichette Jr.)
Neither entered 2014 with high expectations, yet both secured spots for themselves on future Yankee rosters through their play.  Greene was only called up because the pitching staff’s attrition rate left the Yankees no choice.   If the Yankees staff had remained healthy last season, we’d know nothing of the 26-year-old hurler. 
Yes, the team knows exactly what it has in the farm system.  The problem isn’t that there is no talent; rather, it is that Cashman chooses to use the minor league talent as the chum for the sharks that are potential trade partners. 
Instead of trying to catch lightning in a bottle with players on the downside of their careers who still have $30 million remaining on their contracts (like Swisher does), let’s learn a little something from the Kansas City’s and the San Francisco’s of the world – as well as from our own history in the late 1990’s – and do some grooming from within.   It will hurt less in the pocketbook, and return respect to our organization.


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

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