In Response… (Guest Post by David Morrical)
March 25, 2022
In response to the Patrick Gunn piece “Why this Yankees Offseason Seems Disappointing (So far)”, I think Mr. Gunn has failed to consider a number of things.
First, this is no longer George Steinbrenner’s team. George was the majority shareholder of the Yankees, and if the other shareholders didn’t like the way he ran the team, he would offer to buy out their shares. Because he answered to no one but himself, George Steinbrenner ruled the Yankees as an absolute monarch. His uber competitiveness and his disregard for the bottom line for the sake of winning caused him to enter into some imprudent contracts.
Hal is in a different position. George Steinbrenner had four children. His shares were divided evenly amongst them. Hal cannot function as an obsolete monarch, he has to answer to the shareholders, who care a lot about the bottom line.
Hal and Cashman are running a business. To run a business successfully, you have to employ some foresight. You have to consider how an action that you are contemplating, will affect you in other areas. You must also consider the long-term effects. Would Freddie Freeman help the Yankees for the next few years? For sure. But Freeman is 32 years old, and he would not budge from his desire for a six-year contract, and the fact that performance decline increases with age is undisputed. Hal and Cashman have to gauge the risk of signing a player that could become a burden to the 40-man roster in his baseball dotage. Keep in mind that Yankees have one of the best statistical analysis operations in baseball. Subsequently, Hal and Cashman have excellent data to aid them in their decision making.
No team can field a team with an elite player at every position, (although it looks like the Dodgers are making a run for such a squad). Because the Yankees are consistently good, they cannot obtain elite talent in the draft. Of course, there are exceptions, e.g., Aaron Judge, but the prospects still available when the Yankees draft number is called, are frankly, crapshoots. Sometimes those crapshoots pay off, like Anthony Volpe (Hopefully), but most time they do not. Regardless of the exceptions, the Yankees are unlikely to draft many elite prospects in the domestic draft.
The Yankees fare better with their international signings, where their deep pockets give them a leg up on the competition in identifying elite teenage talent on playground diamonds, in mostly third-world countries. The Yankees have consistently drafted high ranking international talent, but because the prospects sign so young, usually at 16, it is difficult to project their development. Remember, in 2014, the Yankees signed Dermis Garcia and Nelson Gomez, the number 1 and 2 International prospects. Garcia washed out of the Yankees system without noise last year, and is now a non-roster invitee with Oakland. Gomez is now 23, and has never risen above Single A. He will likely wash out of the system soon as well. I followed them both in the minors, and was always expecting a breakout. It never happened. I am now watching Dominguez, Arrias, and many others, hoping for the breakout. Time will tell if I am to be disappointed again. I had great hopes for Florial, but I fear his days are numbered.
The Yankees failed to sign a anyone from this year’s bumper crop of free agent shortstops. Would Carlos Correa have helped the Yankees win? Without a doubt. Would it be prudent to sign Correa, admittedly an elite talent, to an enormous long-term contract, that restricts future moves, when you have at least 2 highly regarded shortstops in the upper levels of your minor league system? Maybe they are not elite, 5 tool shortstops, but it is likely they will at least be very good. Personally, I am elated that the Yankees did not sign a Correa or Freeman. The money will be better spent on other positions of need. The Yankees need a Catcher to replace Sanchez, an upgrade in Center, and as always, pitching.
The Yankees have made the playoffs in 9 of the 12 years Hal and Cashman have run the team. Each year, the Yankees run out one of the best teams in baseball. Each year, they are amongst the teams with the highest payrolls. Yankees fans are NEVER subjected to multi-year rebuilds. Yankees fans are among the most spoiled in baseball. It is time to appreciate your good fortune, and wise choice in becoming a Yankees fan.