Well, the Opening Day lineup for the Bronx Bombers doesn’t exactly recall memories of Murderers Row. Most of their lineup consists of old, washed up players of yesterday. Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro. Not to mention the injuries. Texeira, Curtis Granderson, Jeter, and A-Rod are all out for a significant amount of time. If you took the current Yankees and dialed the clock back to 2006, they would be the most stacked team in the MLB. Travis Hafner, Wells, Ichiro, A-Rod, Mariano, that was their prime. But the Yankees aren’t recognizing that the best days are behind most of those guys. Mariano Rivera might have one last season left in him, and Jeter proved he’s not done yet last year. But how long before the whole team collapses in front of their eyes? They brought in superstars like Granderson and Texeira, but not only are those guys injured, they won’t play forever. In 3 short years they could find themselves playing for a cellar dweller and want out. There is a Cycle to the Yankee Dynasty, a few glorious years of riding the wave of the best team in baseball by outspending all the other teams, but eventually they come back down. There were the classic Yanks, of Babe Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio. Then Mantle came in and played the hero. But after that there was a dry spell of few championships, and the Yankee Empire didn’t really reemerge until the 70’s, with Reggie Jackson and Ron Guidry. They went to the World Series and lost in ’81, and didn’t return until 1996, and beat the Braves, where the Dynasty reemerged. They’ve won 5 championships in 7 appearances since then, dominating the American League. After their 2004 3-0 NLCS collapse, many people thought they were fading, but they went out and spent big on Texiera, Granderson, Sabbathis, and hired Joe Girardi, and took the 2009 World Series from the Phillies. It’s been all downhill from there. They need young talent, but they traded away their best prospect, Jesus Montero, for Micheal Pineda who needed Tommy John sugery and missed all of last year. Jeter’s not getting any younger, as evidenced by his ankle in last years playoffs. The Yankees will fall again and rise again, as always, but to ease their fall from grace, they need to act now. If they don’t make the playoffs this year, they need to shed some big contracts and do something I’m sure is akin to a profanity in the Steinbrenner household: rebuild. The Yankees have never had to do this in my lifetime, but if they want to stay a force in the ever competitive AL East, they need to do a complete makeover of the team at the end of the season. If they do this, the period between being Elite and climbing back into contention where the team struggles will be shortened. I’m not saying they need to get rid of anybody straightaway if there is no problem or dump loyal veterans like Rule 5 draft picks, but they need to start preparing for the eventual spiral that comes with aging players. Draft someone to be ready when Jeter finally decides to hang ’em up so you don’t end up with a hole at shortstop for the first time in 20 years. Get some young starting pitching. Andy Petitte had to come out of retirement, so you know their hurting in depth in that department. Also, who will close things out when Mo’s gone? Brian Cashman needs to look down the road a few years instead of only thinking of the “now” and spending big. They need to cut costs and groom some young talent. There is still probably a market for A-Rod as a DH and they could get some solid prospects out of a deal like that and free up some cap space if they shipped his egregious contract. The Yankees have always been built for today, but for the first time they have to think of tomorrow if they want to survive in the hurricane that is the AL East.
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Well said, Ryan. More or less echoed a commentary in one of the Wall Street Journal’s sports articles last week.
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