City Sports Report

The Yankees Organization Is Heading Nowhere Fast

Derek Jeter May End His Career Outside Playoffs (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

The New York Yankees came into this season with a renewed sense of hope. Along with that hope, it looked like the Yankees were reloaded for the 2014 season. The Yankees lost one of their best players, Robinson Cano, but they felt they could replace him. So the Yankees again went on one of their spending sprees to add talent to their roster. The Bronx Bombers had four huge signings in outfielders Carlos Beltran (3 years, $45 million) and Jacoby Ellsbury (7 years and $153 million), catcher Brian McCann (5 years and $85 million) and Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (7 years and $155 million). These four, along with current Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, the captain Derek Jeter and first baseman Mark Teixeira were expected to help the Yankees rebound from a disastrous 2013 season that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. But instead of rebounding, the Yankees have sunk even further.

As it currently stands, the Yankees are looking like they may be on their way to missing the playoffs again. The Yankees are 4.5 out of first place in a competitive American League East and are 2.5 games out of the top wildcard spot. They may make the playoffs, but their offseason acquisitions have been less than stellar for the money they are paying them. Jacoby Ellsbury was supposed to bring speed and excitement to the Yankees team. But instead of doing so, Ellsbury has been less than advertised. The Yankees were expecting him to build on his statistics from his Boston Red Sox days, but instead he is on pace to have his numbers (stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage) dip below last year’s pace. Not good for a guy the Yankees are paying over $21 million a year to be a difference-maker. But Ellsbury is not the only one. Catcher Brian McCann and outfielder Carlos Beltran have not been the difference-makers the Yankees thought they were going to be. Both are hitting well below their average of a year ago. And to add on top of these three disappointments, Tanaka started to lose his golden touch before he eventually was diagnosed with an elbow injury that could cost him the rest of the season. The expectations are not meeting the reality as the Yankee’s style of doing things has caught up to them. But if they really wanted to get back to the glory days, they may want to revisit the past model.

The Yankees, under George Steinbrenner, had always been a team that spent, spent and spent until they got where they felt they wanted to be. But in the 1990s, the Yankee’s model got a change that would set them up for success. Instead of trading players like catcher Jorge Posada, shortstop Derek Jeter, centerfielder Bernie Williams and pitcher Andy Pettitte, the Yankees kept and groomed these players as the centerpieces of their organization. Eventually, these pieces, surrounded with veterans and key free agent signings, made the Yankees a power again. New York would go on to win four World Series titles in five seasons from 1996-2000. The key to those teams were the Yankees allowing their homegrown talent to carry them while adding key free agents. And if you look around baseball, more and more teams are building with that model. For example, the San Francisco Giants have won two World Series titles in the last five seasons. They have had key free agent signings, but the main factor has been the homegrown pitching they have nurtured. Pitchers like Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain have carried their pitching staff to the titles, dominating the opposition. But along with the pitching, the Giants brought up homegrown everyday players like catcher Buster Posey (2012 NL MVP) and third baseman Pablo Sandoval to help carry the offensive load. These five players have become the cornerstones of their organization and have helped lead the Giants to heights they have never reached before.

The Yankees are far from being able to do what the Giants have done. They have money tied up in all of their big acquisitions and have little to build for the future with because of their barren minor-league teams. The Yankees are now an older team with no younger talent to sustain their success. The organizational philosophy of swinging for the fences with free agents has netted them only one championship since 2000. Maybe Girardi and the rest of the Yankees brain trust need to change their philosophy, because spending big and swinging for the fences has earned them a barren farm system and an aging team that is nowhere near being a championship contender.

For more sports conversation, feel free to contact me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>