In an Insider-only feature (1-15, 16-30), a panel of ESPN experts ranked baseball’s 30 franchises based on “how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years.” The list was created using weighted rankings in five categories — Major League talent, farm system, finances, management, and roster flexibility — and expressed on a scale of 1-100. The Cardinals (84.3) top the list by a significant margin. Hard to argue with that. The directionless Rockies (19.2) were dead last.
The Yankees ranked fifth (65.9), down quite a bit last year (79.6), when they ranked second. They trail the Cardinals, Rangers (77.4), Rays (68.1), and Nationals (67.0). As expected, they graded very well in the financial department — despite the plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold — but were merely middle of the road everywhere else. As the write-up notes, their long-term Major League talent level is murky given the impending free agencies of Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and others. Can’t say I disagree with that.