Saturday, January 2, 2016


Who are these Yankees? Is there really a Steinbrenner running the show? Is it Cashman who has had the will power to not offer high priced contracts over the past couple of years? The Yankees organization has taken a different road the past couple of off seasons. After the half a billion dollar spending spree heading into the 2014 season, the Yankees have mostly improved via trades. While not all of these moves have been popular or have immediate impacts, the plan seems to be coming together nicely.

Starting last winter, Cashman dealt for Nathan Eovaldi and gave up a middle aged (in baseball years) Martin Prado and a number five starter or long reliever in David Phelps. He also acquired Didi Gregorius in a three team deal in which they gave up RHP Shane Greene.

Both trades filled a void and injected more youth into the organization. Both these moves I loved, particularly the Eovaldi trade, and now the Sir Didi trade, and that seemed to be just the start for Cashman and the brass.

So far this off season, Cash has acquired a young right handed hitting outfielder in Aaron Hicks, added a couple young arms, yet not terribly highly touted prospects, in Luis Cessa and Chad Green. Combined The Yankees have 12 years of control over these two young men. He picked up Starlin Castro, a three time all-star, for above average reliever or number five type starter, Adam Warren. Cash then added Aroldis Chapman, in which he gave up four so-so prospects who have a long ways to go.

If you ask me, the team is better and deeper now that it was heading into the 2015 season. Plus Cash hasn't given up the top prospects! The rotation remains a work in progress but is definitely much younger and livelier than it was several years ago.

Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino lead the charge. Next is Michael Pineda, who has huge upside and just has to stay away from the DL and pine tar. Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia round out the rest of the likely rotation candidates.

While all of these players carry a risk; age, health and experience being the three biggest, there is potential.  The average age of the likely rotation candidates, however, will be just 27 years old as of Opening Day. Take away Sabathia and the average age is just 25.4 years old.

After the acquisition of Chapman, which in a purely baseball related perspective is a fantastic pickup, Cashman now has a little wiggle room in the bullpen and may be more willing to consider accepting an offer for Miller. With another top of the line closer now dealt (after Ken Giles and Craig Kimbrel), the market for closers is getting slim. Perhaps a team, now approaching desperation mode, could offer a larger return for Miller and with Chapman and Dellin Betances at the back end of the 'pen, Cash would have to consider any deal that helps his team, and in particular, his rotation.

I really don't think Cashman is done this off season. Whether it be a blockbuster deal or a 'filling a piece of the puzzle' move, the Yankees front office seems to want to avoid costly long term contracts until the current ones begin to expire following the 2016 season. With Mark Teixeira's deal expiring, and Greg Bird waiting in the shadows, and Carlos Beltran's deal expiring, and Aaron Judge hopefully waiting in shadows, The Yankees should have some more cash on hand to spend some next winter and the following.

While I realize that this mode of operation is looked down upon by some fans, the brass has to assure the long term future of the organization, as well as the short term. The Yankees went all in to win a World Championship in 2009 and it worked but now we are seeing some of the backlash of that.

This is a different team than it was under 'The Boss' George Steinbrenner. With the luxury tax and the proven success stories over the past few seasons with teams developing within their organizations and winning championships, the Yankees are taking the road less traveled for them. Now the question is, will it pay off? And when?

For you impatient fans, it could be a struggle over the next 12-24 months. But give these guys two years and we will see a vastly younger, more athletic and well-rounded team than we have today. A new core is forming with Luis Severino, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo and others. They may not all stick but some will and they will lead the Yankees to another World Series Championship....

In due time.

 --Dan Lucia
BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia


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