Sunday, June 5, 2016
LET'S STOP KIDDING OURSELVES...
It's time for a reality check. There are some of us that still believe that we are one or two players away from being a contending team. I love this team, and I understand the need to believe that. However, I am old enough to have seen this routine before. I will tell you that this team is about two to three years away from being a serious contender. That's not to say that I am giving up on this team or this year. I just have different expectations, and a successful year for me would be to see this team get on track towards a World Series win in 2018-2019.
For all of you holding out hope, or think that it is treason to suggest that we not go after World Series rings each and every year, consider this. The Yankees have too many gaps in too many places to fix in one season. There is an obvious problem at first base with the ever-injured Mark Teixeira, which the Yankees tried to plug first with their catcher than with their third baseman. The team still doesn't have a plan to fix that. By the way, they still have issues at third base and catcher, now that Brian McCann is out. They also have issues with hitting in general. Of the hitters that have 70 or more plate appearances, only 2 are hitting above .260. That's catastrophic. Here's a nugget that puts it in historical context. Through 53 games, the Yankees are scoring an average of 3.74 runs per game. That is almost a full run per game lower than 2015 when we thought our hitting was terrible. That is also the lowest since 1990 when we scored 3.72 runs per game and recorded the worst record in the American League (the 2nd worst was 7 games ahead of us).
Before you get too upset, I would remind you of recent history. We all celebrated the Core Four, but they were developed in an environment where the Yankees were just terrible. Nobody believed the Yankees would win in the early 90's. These kids were allowed to develop, and the team was able to bring in the right players to create the greatest baseball dynasty in our lifetime. If the Yankees decided to rebuild, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
That said, I think the Yankees have a lot to work with. But they have to identify their core, their set of young players they want to develop, and they have to stop investing in short-term deals that don't pay long-term dividends. Brian McCann, Starlin Castro, Jacoby Ellsbury, Nathan Eovaldi, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller would make up a nice core. You keep your core and you build around it. Everything else is up for grabs. Didi Gregorius is good, not great, and if Jorge Mateo is the future, Didi should be treated accordingly. Brett Gardner is good, not great, and if there is interest, they should acquire players they think could build the future. If the Cubs want Aroldis Chapman, I say take them to the cleaners. We already have a good closer in Miller.
They also need to stop messing around with the young players they have now. Rob Refsnyder is on a track headed for disaster. He was a second baseman, then an outfielder, now possibly a first baseman. It reminds me of the way they messed with Joba Chamberlain. You either like him in the role you originally designed, or you don't. Pick one and go with it. If he's not a strong second baseman, move on. There is no urgent need to use him at first if there is no realistic possibility to make the playoffs this year.
Listen, nothing pains me more than watching the Yankees lose games. Like most of you, I miss screaming at my TV while the Yankees are winning meaningful playoff games. That hasn't happened since the 2012 ALDS. But we can certainly get there again. It requires that we be realistic about who we are and what players we have. It also requires that we not trade away young players that could help us build a future to get a player for this season if it is not going to happen this season. Just because this year is bad doesn't mean we shoudl make the next 5 years bad too.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
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