Thursday, October 15, 2015
AGING VETERANS CREATE ROADBLOCKS
Now that the Yankees season has come to an end, the Internet world has been abuzz with "what the Yankees should do" this off season. There are some holes they could fill in the bullpen, the rotation and perhaps a couple position spots. What I disagree with however is signing 30-something year old vets (especially to multi-year deals) which creates roadblocks for young players.
The most glaringly obvious example was the signing of Stephen Drew. I'm not even going to go into his stats, but besides the power numbers he exhibited occasionally, signing him was a complete waste. The Yankees had Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela in the minors who could have contributed more than they did. Would they have had all-star caliber seasons, probably not, but it couldn't have been worse than Drew.
Some other acquisitions over the past several years have made a lot of sense at the time but still many of the vets are over 30 years of age and signed to three or more years. Chase Headley, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann all fall into this category. Headley filled a hole, but how long will it be before he is just taking up space? Beltran was coming off a stellar year when he signed but is still pushing 40 and just not the player he once was. Ellsbury is a great ball player, no questioning that, but he is over the hill most likely and there are still many years of him in pinstripes.
As a former catcher myself, I love Brian McCann. He plays great defense and is a solid bat in the middle of the Yankees order who can target the short porch in right. But in the not too distant future he will begin to slow down and the Yankees have Gary Sanchez who made terrific strides this past year. I love having McCann but this just provides an example.
The last thing I want to see this off season is the Yankees targeting aging veterans, ESPECIALLY vets who want multi-year deals, who will just create a backlog again in the lineup. Martin Prado was mentioned here as an option, but I must say I disagree. He is getting older and although he batted .288, he only produced 33 extra base hits, compared to 34 for Drew. Prado also had 117 more at bats. He likely will only continue to decline as he gets older.
What I would like to see is a trade or two (perhaps Gardner and one or two of the younger arms) in order to obtain a solid starter. Jeff Samardzija is available as a free agent and pursuing him would be great. I've been a fan since he was catching passes at Notre Dame.
Some people may mistake my views here as not wanting the Yankees to get better. I can see why you may see my point that way, but what the Yankees have to do is build for the future. In order to do so they have to allow the big money deals to expire over the next two years which will create room for the young prospects on their way to the show.
Within the next two years there will likely be five or six players Major League ready and a handful of pitchers prepared to contribute, but if they sign more 30 something year-old vets to multi-year deals, there will never be a roster spot available for them. The backlog will just continue.
The Yankees have built a solid core of talent in the minors and we need to see them in the show to start a new core of big leaguers. Once the sore is established, free agency can be used as a tool to fill holes, not an entire lineup. The more vets they sign to create a backlog, the longer this trend of mediocre seasons we are going to see.
Agree or disagree?? Let's debate @!
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