Thanks to everyone for their warm welcomes and hospitality. I’m sure I’ll be receiving your deepest and most virulent filled e-mails within days and alienating scores of you in just a few paragraphs, but thank you. Also should you come across any grammatical mistakes, spelling or anything of that sort, be kind enough to send me an e-mail about it, preferably 2 pages, double spaced that include notations and a bibliography that specifies which MLA handbook you’re using. I’ll be running it through Turnitin.com so be sure to use your own words. Thanks.
Anyhow, I wanted my first post to be about something that’s on my mind constantly concerning this team which is this: In the coming years as the nucleus of the current team passes into old age, how will Brian Cashman restock the team with young talent while maintaining the same level of success? Is that even possible? Personally I have no idea (you’ll be hearing this from me a lot) but I’m really excited to see what happens.
I think without doubt this is obviously the penultimate challenge for the Yankees moving forward. It’s really no secret the team as currently constituted is built around aging expensive stars. Here are the scary details:
2013 Payroll Obligations
|NAME||AGE (in 2013)||SALARY|
|Alex Rodriguez||37||$28 Million|
|Mark Teixeira||33||$22.5 Million|
|CC Sabathia||32||$23 Million|
|AJ Burnett||36||$16.5 Million|
|Robinson Cano||30||$15 Million (team option)|
|Derek Jeter||39||$17 Million|
That’s 123 million dollars on 6 players past their peaks (although Sabathia and Cano are probably still right there). Posada, if he’s still around at this point, would probably have a pretty meager salary in some Jason Varitek type roll so he doesn’t really count. You could put Granderson in here as well- he’ll be 32 and have a 13 million dollar team option. Now I think you could argue that even past their primes, these players are still likely to be pretty valuable in 2013. It’s only 2 seasons away. But if 2010 is a harbinger for Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter in any way, it may be a scarier picture to imagine.
This is why I think Jesus Montero is such an integral part of this team’s future (even if he’s technically not even on the team). He’ll be 23 years old in 2013 and if he reaches his potential, a middle of the order cost controlled bat. Think about this: Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano are the only Yankee position players in the past 15 years to post 5 win seasons (rWAR) while being 25 or younger. Montero will have until 2015 to match that. Yes, this is certainly hubristic on my part, putting the cart before the horse and all that but Montero is a rare asset for any team, let alone the Yankees.
So you can see why I’ve been against trading Montero for another 30+ pitcher this off season. I think Montero will be a big part of Cashman’s plan to turn the team younger, a goal he’s had since 2006 or so. For me, Montero is the center piece, the guy around which Cashman can add and build for the future. If Derek Jeter has been the central figure of the team for the past 15 years, Montero COULD play that role for the next 15. He has the sort of potential to be a “franchise” player”.
However I think it would be extremely myopic to expect this entire process to take off without a hitch. I’m sure there will be plenty of growing pains. Looking at the 2010 rotation, you could make a case this will be one of them. Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova are not the answers to any long term questions but may be more like short term placeholders. Patience will play a big key in all of this. Can New York fans handle that? Can they live with sacrificing, even slightly, short term gains for long term opportunities? We’ll find out soon enough.
I also know that Brian Cashman is a much smarter man than I am and the Yankees are uniquely suited to weather this transition, more so than any other team. With the depth of pitching prospects in the minors right now there will be some conceivable rotation candidates emerging as well as trade bait to further propel this drive. There is certainly going to be nothing like a “rebuilding” period for the Yankees. I would hope anyway. In any other division there would probably not be any need to seriously worry about their position in the standings. But with Boston, Tampa Bay and even Toronto (!?) It is a concern.
I’ll admit freely I don’t have any answers just plenty of questions. Even if you reject the notion that this is a serious concern, on some level, it still is a concern. It probably won’t happen all at once or be without a few missteps and mistakes. I would guess it will at times be frustrating and invoke plenty of invective from fans. For me though I’ll try and remain patient and keep perspective. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.