Friday, February 17, 2017


My last BYB piece bemoaned that Brian Cashman's overly cautious expectations for the Yankees'  upcoming campaign  made me feel like "there's nowhere to go but up -- but only if we're really, really lucky." 

Luckily for me, a few days later  I spied a take from another somewhat well-connected observer who expounded on the subject of luck that took Joe Girardi's shop-worn response to bad luck and turned it inside out.

(John Munson/Star-Ledger)
Yankees VP Gene Michael, who as former GM was credited with developing the bones and sinew of the last Bronx dynasty and still advises Brian on talent, pointed out to the NY Post's Joel Sherman that luck is a two-way street.

“'We got lucky,' he told Sherman.  'I could have traded each of the [Core Four] guys or Bernie [Williams] and didn’t. [Mariano] Rivera was available in the [November 1992] expansion draft [for the Marlins and Rockies] and never got picked. Remember, Rivera wasn’t Rivera until he reached the majors, and it is just lucky that we didn’t trade him before he began throwing well.'

Photo of Ruben Rivera
Brian, who was tending the farm under his former boss at the time, likewise reminisced for Sherman.

 'Ruben Rivera was the most important Rivera in the franchise, not [his cousin] Mariano.'”

Sherman went on to point out that in the 28 years that Baseball America has assembled a Top 100 Prospects list, only four Yankees have ever made the top three: Ruben Rivera (who was ahead of  Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones), Brien Taylor (who got hurt and never saw a day in the Bigs), Joba Chamberlain and Jesus Montero, who in 2011 was ranked third just behind Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

However, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano  -- all now considered among the best to have ever played their positions  -- never even cracked the Top 100 list.

The gist of Sherman's piece is that all the highly touted prospects in the world don't guarantee anything because  "there will be Ruben Riveras in this group who will disappoint and Mariano Riveras who will come out of nowhere."

And that, to me, is probably the most comforting expectation I've heard yet. Because there will always be more guys from nowhere than there are from the Top 100. 

It may not be what you wanted. But as long as you get what you need, that'll do.

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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