An optimistic response to last night’s debacle

Mailbag: Gardner, Pitchers, PTBNLs, Mo
Feinsand: Yankees will call up Thomas Neal, option David Adams

Yesterday sucked SUCKED! An 18 inning loss is grueling enough in its own right, never mind the not-so-insignificant matter of the offense seemingly going on long term hiatus. I think Mike’s rant yesterday was a very candid reflection of how a lot of us (including myself) feel after watching some of these excruciating losses too – and frankly, there was a lot of truth in what he wrote. With that being said, and maybe this is just me optimistically rationalizing, I think a few points have to considered in addition to what was said. So…here goes.

The offseason was awful. I didn’t feel particularly confident with any of the moves that they made other than the re-signing of Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. Downgrading Nick Swisher for Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki (each for two years no less) also hurt quite a bit. However, I think it’s important to remember that while those two have been big contributors to the outfield’s woes, they are not the complete cause for this situation. While Mike interpreted the offseason as NY hubris, I see it as more of the culmination of frugality and unfortunate circumstance.

Curtis Granderson’s injuries were both fluky and that put the team in a difficult spot. It’s tough to stomach both OF corner spots being offensive voids; realistically, it probably should have only been one spot that made us cringe. The offense would be more tolerable as a whole, if some of these guys were used as they were intended to be – in other words, as situational hitters coming off the bench…not starters. Eventually, Grandy will return and his presence in the lineup can’t be overstated. He hits for power and offers a middle of the lineup bat that the team sorely needs. We’re seeing some of these guys become exposed. I give Brian Cashman the benefit of the doubt when I say they were never intended to be used as they are now.

The same argument can be made for Kevin Youkilis and Lyle Overbay. Youkilis was a super expensive health liability from day one designed to replace another super expensive health liability – he was also a sheer desperation move. And while Overbay has been performing admirably, he’s not Mark Teixeira nor will he ever be. Teixeira’s injury was unexpected, as was the timing of Alex Rodriguez’s second hip surgery. Even if the team had wanted to find an adequate replacement for both, it would have been difficult due to the timing of the injuries themselves. The point here is that while the offseason was awful in hindsight, that outcome was partially unavoidable I think. Frankly, a team cannot survive long-term when so many starters are on the DL. High impact players are just not in great supply on the free agent market, and trading for them is a bear. Fortunately, reinforcements are on the way as these guys recover and one can only hope they’ll be effective upon return.

I don’t really want to spend too much time discussing the farm system because I think that’s a pretty complicated topic – one that most certainly deserves its own post. I will say this though. The team hasn’t had an opportunity to acquire a ton of super high-end talent in the draft because they win a ton and those picks really don’t fall that far down the food chain. One can make the argument that the team hasn’t maximized the draft picks it has had, or that it hasn’t developed those players as well as they could. I won’t argue either of those points. What I can say though, is that prospects fail way more often than they succeed, and on some level, it makes sense to me that team hasn’t reaped the benefits of internal replacements as much as one would hope. Having a “Core Four” come up through the system is insanely difficult and insanely rare. I’d assume fans of most other teams are probably saying the same thing about their organization’s prospect failure rate too.

While the Yankees haven’t had too many game-changing prospects (we’re talking first round top ten talent, they have found a lot of guys who have tangibly helped the team. You’re seeing it right now on the pitching side of things. Warren was magnificent last night. Phelps has been great. I think Claiborne has been really fun to watch. And guys like Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson, Jesus Montero (who was a headliner in the Minors mind you) have helped the team in a big way via the trade (I’m assuming Michael Pineda eventually contributes – go ahead, and call me an optimist). Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are topics of perpetual disagreement, but it’s inarguable that they are big league talent. Hughes can probably slot into the rotation right now for A LOT of teams and Chamberlain is a very good reliever. Not every pitcher can or will be Felix Hernandez or Mariano Rivera. That doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable in their own right though.

Do we have the best farm system? Absolutely not. Do we have one that is able to help the Big League squad overall? I contend that we do. It just may not be as much as we would like. But who knows, maybe some of these young players coming up through the system will become the next great name to wear pinstripes. I for one am really excited about Rafael DePaula and Gary Sanchez. Despite some drab numbers, I am also a huge fan of Mason Williams. These guys have the potential to be really helpful.

I do believe Mike’s post was spot on when he said the team lacks direction. It is hazy, at least to us. We don’t know the Steinbrenner’s agenda with certainty, nor do we know Cashman’s master plan to keep the team in contention assuming he has one. And this team may not be a championship caliber team. Frankly, I’m not sure any of that matters though, at least for the time being.

The idea shouldn’t necessarily be to win the championship every year because that’s an absolutely unattainable objective and a ludicrous measuring stick. The goal should be for the team to put its self in the position to win a championship every year. And the first step of giving the team a chance to win it all is to contend in their division and ultimately reach the playoffs. They are currently in contention — and I don’t expect that to change — and they can reach the playoffs (especially now with two wild card spots). It sucks watching the team lose, but perspective helps mitigate the nausea.

Are the Yankees the best team in the American League East? Right now, no. Are they the second? Quite possibly. Look around at their competition. They’re all flawed too; Ken Singleton did a nice job summarizing those weaknesses the other day. Are they better than the Tigers or the A’s? Probably not at this point. Are they better than the teams vying for a Wild Card spot in those divisions. I think so. We’ve seen what happens in the playoffs. Games are not played out as planned on paper and the damn San Francisco Giants end up winning it all. Get to the playoffs, and worry about the rest when the time comes. For what it’s worth, at least the Yankees have the pitching to give them a chance when it counts.

I was in the camp that was hoping the team could simply stay afloat while it weathered the injury-bug storm. They have done this, mostly admirably. They aren’t bludgeoning teams and they aren’t the dominant force that they have been in years past. But they are still around and better then much of their competition in the league. Ultimately, the team will need to decide how it’s planning on handling the austerity budget topic. It will have to carefully trapeze through the challenge of staying competitive perennially while simultaneously retooling. Given some of the terrible contracts already in the books, maybe they ultimately turn into the Phillies or the Angels as Mike cautions. Right now, though, I think this team still has plenty of opportunity to have a successful season and we shouldn’t write the future off quite yet either.

/optimistic_rationalization

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Mailbag: Gardner, Pitchers, PTBNLs, Mo
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  • Paco Dooley

    The team lacks direction for sure – what is their vision, other than getting under the luxury tax threshold?

    Investing in some of the IFA talent in recent years to load the minor league system and keep top end salaries in check would be a vision. Signing guys off the scrapheap to fill major needs is not a vision, it is a solution to a self inflicted problem.

    • edb

      Great point. The ifa market which the team has traditionally used to bolster the poor farm system has been completely ignored since the Boss died. Blame the lack of top ten draft picks if you wish but the Yankees punted on cespedes, puig, darvish and a platoon of decent Japanese up the middle types around the league. Stop wasting money on 27 yr old non prospects and roll the dice on some actual talent. Tired of picking up guys whose only 80 tool is “makeup”

  • Say wut

    Didn’t they know Arod’s hip was screwed before the start of the off-season?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Matt Warden

      If memory serves (and admittedly, it often doesn’t), they were pretty delayed in their decision to opt for surgery and then they seemed delayed once more in actually getting it done.

      • Gonzo

        I guess it depends on timing definitions. Here’s an article on December 4th stating that A-Rod would need a second surgery on the hip.

        http://espn.go.com/new-york/ml.....4-6-months

        The surgery didn’t happen until the middle of January because he had to do pre-rehabilitation for the surgery not because of a delay in the decision for surgery.

    • http://RAB I remember the CBS years!

      1) AROD should fit right in. 2) Send Romine down. The great girardi has no faith in him at all. not that he’s earned any. Let Murphy or Sanchez, or even O’brian come up and learn and work with Pena. 3) I am sorry CBS YANKS. According to ESPN, no other Yankee team has had three players go oh for seven in history. ‘How about that!’ (Thanks to the great Mel Allen) 4) The SAUX are looking for a third baseman….can we slip them BOOkilis? 5) How do three vet pitchers not check the runners? 6) Mr. Wells should be Wells received by the Angel faithful. 7) The BIG ICH has gotten his hits and played good defense for two games. 8) We must tag the runner with the ball STEWIE, but, at least you finally caught both throws…AMAZIN. 9)Hey ho the great girardi, rothschilds, and KLOOOOOOONG must go. That’s my prime nine, what’s yours?

  • Johnny O

    Farm system is decent considering they’ll never draft in the top 10 and I’d rather watch a winner then get excited about a top draft pick. But they haven’t used their competitive advantage ($) the past few years while the rule still allowed it. They never made a serious run at Darvish, Soler, Puig, Cespedes, etc. when all they would’ve cost is $. Can’t let Igawa disaster haunt the decision making.

    Also, giving Ichiro 2 years and trading for vernon wells were stupid moves when they were made. Everyone knew it. It’s not like everyone thought it would work out and it just didn’t. It was horrible from the statrt. I’m ok with Youkilis signing because it was an admitted desperation move but had to be done with A-rod injury. And it was only for 1 year.

    • oldpep65

      +1
      The hot start by Wells made these moves seem reasonable, but they weren’t. Both players have been in serious decline for several years now.

    • Ralph

      This is the key point I really agree with. They didn’t seem to have a plan when it came to lowering payroll. They wanted to operate the same model when they needed to adapt to the changes in the game and the impact of lowering payroll. Cespedes is making an AAV of 8M, and we hand Ichiro 6.5M AAV that will impact 2014? Yes, there was risk with all those internationals, and I’m not saying they should’ve landed all of them, maybe only 1, but they never and made a play. I can live with getting beat on the offers if the Yankees showed they were serious, but they never made an attempt. Which just makes think they have no clear vision.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    good one, Matt.

    this is my point of view (short form): tons of injuries, bats are pretty cold for some weeks now. Nonetheless the team IS contending, IS winning and IS 8 games above .500.

    Things could be worse. A lot worse. Some people act like the sky is falling.

  • Eddard

    Most fans just go game to game with their emotions and don’t look at the big picture of the season. They’re still in contention and are now going to play a team that is actually worse than them.

    If they can take 2/3 from the Angels they’ll end up .500 on the road trip, which I’m sure most people would have taken before the trip began. The pitching is still there which is a team’s backbone. I like their chances against the LA teams.

    • https://twitter.com/NotRyanAdam WFAN Caller

      In all honesty, do you think this is a “championship caliber” team?

      • jjyank

        I think it’s a playoff caliber team. And who knows what happens then. As we’ve seen from the 2011 Red Sox and the 2013 Blue Jays, it’s damn near impossible to know this early what teams are championship caliber and which can be completely ruled out.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        for sure not but were the 2010 and 2012 Giants championship caliber teams? No and we know how that worked out. Just try to make it to the playoffs, anything can happen there.

        • https://twitter.com/NotRyanAdam WFAN Caller

          I just cannot see this team winning anything more than a chance to lose a one-game-playoff. If they somehow make the playoffs and are faced with a pitching staff like Detroit’s again, they are completely screwed.

          • Jim Is Bored

            But I don’t think the quality of the opposing pitching has really had a major effect on whether we hit or not.

            It really just seems like we can’t hit any pitching, so I don’t think our chances against Verlander are any worse than against Jarrod Parker.

            Which is illogical and makes no sense, but that’s the feeling I’ve gotten this year.

            • Dalek Jeter

              I actually agree with this 100%. Whether we hit or not seems to have nothing to do with the pitcher we’re facing and everything to do with whether some guys get some flukey hits. We’re just as likely to get no hit by No Name AAAA LHP as we are to hang 5 on Verlander.

          • The Real Me

            Do you think the team we’re seeing today will be the team we see in the playoffs? I don’t. Grandy will be back and I expect Jeter & A-Rod will too. At that point, while this is not the best Yankee team we’ve seen over the years, I think they have a good shot at becoming a Championship team.

      • Greg

        if they should make the postseason, how much lower are this team’s chances than last year’s, mathematically? There’s really no such thing as a non-championship caliber team in the playoffs, it’s not basketball.

        • https://twitter.com/NotRyanAdam WFAN Caller

          @greg, you makes a very fair point – I like it a lot. It is very true in baseball.

          But let me ask you this–would you feel confident in the Yankees facing the Tigers in a five game series starting tomorrow? I sure wouldn’t, not with Youk, Wells, and Pronk starting games.

          • jjyank

            Confident? Probably not. But there’s always a chance. Just get to the playoffs, and let’s go from there.

          • Greg

            What’s confident mean? 50% or more? In that case definitely not, but if they won it wouldn’t be at all surprising.

          • nyyankfan_7

            I would not feel confident at all. Fortunately we don’t have to worry about a 5 game series starting tomorrow with the Tigers. The playoffs are 3 1/2 months away and hopefully by that time it is a healthy ARod, Jeter, Grandy, Cervelli, Pineda & Nunez contributing to the offense and not Youk, Pronk and Wells starting every game.

            • LK

              Most of those guys will help, though how much is yet to be determined, but Nunez has a career 83 wRC+ in MLB and has only ever been above average in AA in 2009 in his entire career.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Where does you or me feeling confident get this team?

            I never feel confident, yet I never lack confidence, watching this team go into anything. Over the course of a small series, anything can happen.

            Do I feel this team can get there? My answer still has not changed since the start of this season. I believe if it’s possible IF several things go in their direction, and that it will be a dogfight to the end. Some things have gone their way, some haven’t.

      • Eddard

        Who knows in mid-June. Could anyone have predicted some of the teams that have won recently? Cardinals, Giants? The Tigers last year just got by in a bad division and the went onto to get to the WS. Maybe things start to fall into place after the ASB with the return of Jeter, A-Rod, Grandy and Cervelli. Hell, who could have predicted in April that they’d even be in contention right now?

        • https://twitter.com/NotRyanAdam WFAN Caller

          If A-Rod is a major contributor, I will eat my own shoes. I will set up a live streaming camera of me eating my old Sauconys. He is old. He is injured. He sucks. He is finished. He is not coming back and saving the day.

          • The Real Me

            I certainly think A-Rod will contribute significantly mroe than Youk. I don’t think he is completely finished, but I’m certainly not expecting 2007 A-Rod.

          • LK

            A-Rod put up a 114 wRC+ last year playing part of the season on a bad hip. That would be 3rd on this year’s team (exluding Boesch and Cervelli who haven’t played much). It’s definitely a question whether he’ll be able to play at all, but if he does, he will definitely be an upgrade given the current state of the offense.

  • https://twitter.com/NotRyanAdam WFAN Caller

    Lack of direction is an understatement. Among the team’s brass, nobody is on the same page. Hal is a businessman. Cashman is a puppet who has no problem allowing his own ideas to die quietly if pressed. Damon Oppenheimer is not as smart as he thinks he is. Hank is a fat moron. Randy Levine is George minus the turtleneck and blazer. Mix it all together and you get PR statements touting a “commitment to winning” while ink goes on contracts for shitheads like Ichiro and Kevin Youkilis.

    There is no way for the Yankees to ultimately succeed when the front office is filled with dummies.

    • Dalek Jeter

      Dude, I didn’t realize we had somebody who sat in on the meetings…what’s Opp like in real life?!

      • https://twitter.com/NotRyanAdam WFAN Caller

        Kind of a jerk. Smells like weed a lot of the time. Tries to hijack conversations and convince people that Breakind Bad is better than The Wire. That sort of thing.

        • Dalek Jeter

          Wow, that is kind of dickish. Everybody who has seen both knows that “Breaking Bad” is basically Walter White as Tony Soprano in New Mexico, dealing meth instead of money laundering. The Wire is a far superior show.

          • https://twitter.com/NotRyanAdam WFAN Caller

            Agree, The Wire is a better television show. In fact, some may argue that The Wire is the greatest television show ever created.

            And that is why Damon Opp “thinks” he is smarter than he actually is.

            /case closed

            • Dalek Jeter

              No arguments here, The Wire is probably the best show I’ve ever seen.

            • Cool Lester Smooth

              I don’t think that you have to argue that The Wire IS the greatest television show ever created, so much as one would have to argue that it ISN’T.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’m not surprised. I also assume Randy Levine just looks at him with this “what is this monkey language you’re speaking” face on, while Cashman smiles because he’s getting blown underneath the table.

  • Mouse

    Looks like they will bring up Neal to DH against lefties and send Adams down.

    That means they will still trot out Wells, Hafner and Youkilis everyday. You can’t send those three out there everyday together in the lineup. Those three are killing them.

  • jjyank

    Well said, Matt. I agree with an awful lot of this. Hopefully, now that it’s the day after, we can have a more rational discussion this time.

    • Pat D

      Yea, I think rationality left this site a few months ago.

      Along with enforcement of the commenting guidelines.

      • Jim Is Bored

        “Along with enforcement of the commenting guidelines.”

        This actually bothers me more than anything.

        • jjyank

          Likewise. I understand a few isolated incidents slipping through the cracks, but the routine disregard for the guidelines really irks me. It’s so blatantly obvious on (for some) a daily basis, that I just don’t understand it.

          • Jim Is Bored

            If last night had happened 2-3 years ago, Troll would have been banned very, very fast.

            • jjyank

              Yup, pretty much.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              I’ll say this again: how do you ban someone from this type of forum in this day and age?

              Blocking IPs doesn’t work in an age where proxies and VPNs are easy to access.

              I don’t necessarily see the need to ban. What I’d like to see is an actual stance that says “this is not what I want the comment section on my site to look like.”

              Remember when jj and I had fun with stuart b-z? Mike did that. What did we do? Say “sorry, dude” and stop. Immediately.

              I’d like to see if half the GTFO crowd from last night would show the same respect.

              • Jim Is Bored

                Blocking IP’s does enough for the casual crowd who doesn’t know how to proxy or vpn, and don’t want to learn.

                I’d bet 75-80% of the trolls on this site wouldn’t bother going the vpn/proxy route, and would just get mad that they couldn’t get in any more.

              • Jim Is Bored

                And IMO, if someone is here to stir the pot, logic and reasonable conversation don’t get through.

                What we really need to do, and what will never happen, is stop responding to obviously inflammatory comments. I’m just as terrible at this as anyone.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  When was the last time I responded to Troll directly? I’m already doing that. It keeps on happening. He/she will just grab on to any little morsel you give and run with it in his own little fantasy world. The bullshit is so over-the-top that it’s actually quite easy to ignore him on an individual level.

                  Also, I am who I am, and I’m not representing myself any differently on here because some random screenname thinks I’m pompous or whatnot. I’m here until this stops being enjoyable, and they aren’t dictating when that is.

                  • Jim Is Bored

                    I’m on board with that. My strategy has just been to post less frequently, especially after losses.

                    It’s just tough sometimes because I used to look forward to reading the articles and the comments. And recently it’s been almost no excitement for either. Even after wins.

                    I just have too much going on outside of RAB to get too wrapped up here anymore, except on days like today where my handle is quite accurate and the minutes are barely moving by.

                    • jjyank

                      You know, a few of us have actually created an alternate space for these situations. You’d be welcome to join.

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      Yes please.

                      I’m on twitter at the same handle if you can message me there.

                    • jjyank

                      I don’t have a twitter. But a bunch of us are on facebook. I don’t mind dropping my real name here, I’ve done it before. Name’s Justin LeMoine. Friend me an I’ll send you an invite.

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      I’ll look you up.

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      Done. You’ve been Tweeted.

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      And as to posting less often, RT gets easily bored with paperwork and naptime. What can I say.

              • jjyank

                Fair enough. I’d just like to see any action. Just…. anything.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Agreed. I thought this post did a good job fairly critiquing the team while acknowledging that the world hasn’t ended yet.

  • Greg

    I know it’s blogging and it’s baseball, so you’ve gotta rant and you’ve gotta make sweeping statements, but I wonder what Mike’s post would’ve looked like if Hafner had just hit a sac fly in the 11th(?) and the Yankees had won. It was a predictable and narrative-appropriate outcome, but it’s one game and the lines are razor thin. This is the nature of the sport, and I thought that post was pretty ridiculous.

  • BTG

    Good post. The truth, as always, is somewhere in between.

  • FEED.ME.MORE!

    Count me as one of the fans who can’t bring himself to bitch about the team this season.

    Our pitching is great, especially the bullpen.

    The offense is way too injured to be what it’s been in recent seasons. You can’t lose Granderson, Jeter and Cervelli for this long and not struggle.

    At the beginning of Spring training, you could reasonably forecast the lineup as

    CF Gardner
    SS Jeter
    2B Cano
    1B Texiera
    LF Granderson
    3B Youkilis
    DH Hafner
    C Cervelli
    RF Ichiro

    Instead you have

    CF Gardner
    SS Nix
    2B Cano
    1B Tiexiera
    Dh Hafner
    3B Youkilis
    LF Wells
    RF Ichiro
    C Stewart

    That’s a hell of a downgrade, through no fault of their own. It’s not as if C and SS who hit .270 are just walking the streets looking for work.

    I was against the Wells trade from day 1. It was hard for me to see him being a good player again, not after the past few seasons. It’s one thing to have a bad year, or an injury plagued year. It’s another to have been as consistently bad as he’s been.

    I didn’t want to sign Swisher for 5 years. I knew there would be a downgrade in RF, but was willing to deal it if it meant avoiding paying a 30+ Y.O. below average defender who wasn’t a game changer on offense a 5 year deal. Martin I could easily live without, especially at 9 mil per.

    I wish they would’ve cycled through Neal and Musty and Mesa and Almonte in one corner spot. Give them a few weeks and see if something is there. If he struggled, send him down, call up the next one. The player who played well would stay. I was an advocate of it then, and I’m sure as hell an advocate of it now.

  • pc

    its a marathon not a sprint so patience is at a premium when judging a bb season, calm down there will plenty of time to vent but that time isn’t now.

  • Giuseppe

    This article is about making valid excuses, not optimism.The band of misfits held the fort and the reserves haven’t made a difference.

  • Jack P

    Eh this article is just putting lipstick on a pig, Cashman has been floundering for a while now, injuries or not. When you arrange one of the oldest teams in baseball injuries happen, thats expected. Yes some of the injuries were of the freak nature but most are because we are an old team.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Nope. It’s not. We’re 8 games above .500 no matter what you want to say about Cashman. Given all of our injuries, which you can blame on his construction of the team if you’d like(although none of us, you included, know how much power he has vs the Steinbrenner siblings), if I’d have told you we’d be in this position in mid June, you’d have signed up for it in a heartbeat.

      All of the bitching and moaning is getting really, really, really old. The positive backlash may be a bit overcompensating at times, but in the face of how much flat out entitled bullshit we’ve seen here recently, I think it’s excusable.

      Fair criticisms of the team are fine, although at this point there’s nothing new to talk about. We’re old, we’re hurt, we can’t hit. And we’re still overpaid. And we’re still in the running for a playoff spot. And as usual, no one, not Cashman, not me, not Axisa, know what’s going to happen tomorrow, much less a month from now, much less next year.

  • Jacob the OG

    Maybe they should try wells as the DH because he has looked bad in the field lately also (from what I have seen)

  • Jeff

    “And while Overbay has been performing admirably, he’s not Mark Teixeira nor will he ever be.”

    Actually, Teixeira’s left handed production the past 3 years ins’t any better than Overbay’s. Losing Teixeira wasn’t an issue, because frankly, he’s not a difference maker any more despite being paid like one.

    That’s the issue.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Well, you know, except for Texeira’s right handed production.

      Convenient to ignore that, I guess.

      • WhittakerWalt

        The Gold Glove defense is also kind of important.

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Also, there’s the fact that Teixeira’s LH production HAS been better than Overbay’s over the last 3 years.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    *puts Matt on shoulders*

    War-den! War-den! War-den!

    Seriously, Matt. Thank you. You need a PayPal link next to your name for donations if he’s not paying you a living wage to write thse.

  • mac

    I didn’t have a problem with most of Mike’s rant, same here with Matt’s take.

    The one issue I have is the excuse that the Yanks drafting lower is a big reason why they don’t have more guys ready to help the club, especially positionally.

    Gardy 3rd round, DRob after the 10th. Way back when, posada and Andy in the teens low 20’s.

    I don’t expect superstars in the minors, it would be nice though to have a couple of potential two way 800 ops guys that could be worked into the mix.

    I blame Hal btw, not Cashman. I think Hal put the brakes on Cash gambling on a Puig, Cespedes, Chapman, etc and exacerbated the problem with the minors not producing more.

    Last, I just want to remind Matt of a comment of his a few weeks back on his chat…that most teams do pretty well developing bp arms, since failed starters are usu diverted to the bp. The Yanks have definitely done a good job there but I still see the minors as the biggest problem facing the Yanks. There are simply not enough guys in the pipeline to keep this team contending.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Matt Warden

      Good thoughts, Mac. Here are a couple immediate reactions I had to your response…

      1. Talent like Gardner or D-Rob can certainly be found in those later rounds. That’s not the norm though. Usually talent diminishes by then. With scouting becoming increasingly important around the league, you can’t really blame any team for not continually finding big league impact players that late in the draft.

      2. I doubt any farm system is good enough on it’s own to keep a team in contention. It’s a supplement. You still need to construct the roster with free agency and trades as well. I would expect the farm to carry the team’s future exclusively. Rather, if they can supply pieces here or there, that’s what I consider successful.

      • mac

        Matt,

        Understood, but a big problem is Hal has stated a big part of being able to come under the cap is developing homegrown talent. There’s very little that seems like it will be ready in 2014 and 2015. To project beyond that is impossible.

        I think its something like 8 guys have been promoted to the bigs from the draft since 06. Those guys include Adams, Claiborne, Romine – its a pretty unimpressive list.

        Also while guys like MattMoore are def outliers, other clubs do a much better job developing useful pos players. The Player Dev people really need to be gutted and replaced.

        As for FA, teams flush with broadcast revenues are not only competing for a diminishing FA pool but locking up players before they get there.

        I guess my point is the Yanks appear to be in turmoil. Hal does not have enough minor league talent to allow him to cut payroll. He let productive albiet flawed FA’s go elsewhere, economized on the farm by not spending on IFA’s then panicked and spent alot of that money on stopgaps to fill in for injured players.

        I can’t see how this strategy inspires confidence.

  • Gonzo

    I thought that this team had a really good chance at making the playoffs before the season. While I don’t think they have those same chances now, I still think the odds are good to decent.

    However, I do believe you have to be concerned with the direction of the team. Whether it’s hubris, frugality, or unfortunate circumstance, it’s definitely something worth paying attention to from here on out.

    P.S. Here’s my Vernon Wells rant. He now has a worse OPS+ and OPS than every year of his career outside of his 20 yr old season, and it’s not like he was tearing it up before this season. At what point is he Randy Winn 2.0? Randy had a better OPS and OPS+ in the final season of his career and he wasn’t immobile in the OF. /rant

    Ahhhh, that actually does feel good.

  • Jim Is Bored

    I think people get so narrow minded when watching one team every day that they forget every team has issues that make their fans react exactly like some of ours do.

    The Orioles have hated their pitching staff. All year I’ve heard “If we even had an average rotation…we’d be the best team in the majors!” But they don’t have one.

    The Tigers have absolutely no back end of the bullpen. The Angels also have no pitching, and have joined our ranks in the Horrible Contracts unit. The Red Sox have had a ridiculous run of offensive luck, and won’t hit the same way moving forward.

    You can play this game for every team in baseball. Sure, the Yankees offensive problems are a bigger deal than Detroit’s lack of an end game, but to pretend that we’re some incredibly and uniquely flawed team is just wrong.

    Just imagine if we had the Nats record to go with their pre-season expectations.

  • Yesnetworkforummorons

    I have been saying what Mike just wrote for the past 3 years. I use to be a poster on the Yesnetwork forums and people would just make fun of the ideas I had. Well I went over there to read last night and all of them all of them finally see the light.

    All you posters that post on the Yesnetwork forums are a bunch of knuckleheads. Lauren is the biggest fool outta them all. For the past week she has been lashing out at the board members and didn’t even know a simple answer about the Yankees. Lauren still everything is ok in Yankees land LOL!

    Any how I don’t post the those forums any more bunch of people who don’t know anything and not jump on the wagon and talk about changes. Where were you 3 years ago?

    • jjyank

      Three years ago? I was enjoying watching the defending champions with the division.

      Also, why are you bitching about a different forum? Not sure what you’re going for there.

      • Jim Is Bored

        It is funny that he chose 3 years. That means he was literally bitching the offseason after we won the world series. The entitlement and whining we’ve had here recently is flat out optimistic compared to that.

      • Yesnetworkforummorons

        You see this is what I’m talking about. It people like you who can’t see this some coming a mile away. The Yankees are in this position because they didn’t fix their team in the past. Now with more holes opening up each year they are in the position where just about every position need a player not a quick fix.

        • jjyank

          No, I just prefer to enjoy division-winning seasons while they’re happening. I choose not to focus on what may happen 3 years down the line. That seems like a real crappy way to watch sports.

        • Commenter from the Future

          The past?!?! Wait until you see the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutuuuuure!!!!!!!!!!!

          How’d I wind up back here? OMG, there’s Dalek Jeter again! He still doesn’t know!

          • Dalek Jeter

            No, I still don’t know =/

            • Commenter from the Future

              OMG! You don’t know about Jon Niese’s record-breaking scoreless streak yet?!?! My calendar must be off. How did your jaw expand like that?!?!?!

      • Yesnetworkforummorons

        I’m more concerned with the overall direction of the team, and the success of the farm system in supplying MLB ready players. To me it seems you just wana get to the post season with whatever junk can get us there and take our chances. As for me I don’t like the quick fixes and the direction this team is heading.

  • WhittakerWalt

    Whether or not you agreed with Mike’s rant last night (I didn’t have a problem with it, though it was more extreme than my own opinions) some of the reactions were laughable.

    “This site’s jumped the shark!”
    “You should be ashamed of yourself!”
    “I’m never reading this site again!”

    Whatevs. I didn’t realize One Milion Moms frequented Yankee blogs.

    • Jim Is Bored

      My problem wasn’t that specific article. It just seems he’s been incredibly pessimistic all year, even in the face of an over-performing team. He’s been much quicker to point out negatives than to acknowledge positives. The article last night seemed to have just opened the floodgates.

      He’s allowed to write whatever he wants, and we’re allowed to react however we want. *Shrug*.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Yeah. Pretty much how I feel.

        No one died last night. It’s just not the type of writing I personally want to hear from Mike. That’s just me. I’m not forcing anyone to agree with me on that, and am pretty sure Mike can take someone saying that just fine.

        Honestly, I’d be more fine with it if it was followed up with some moderation of the bullshit that usually follows.

        • WhittakerWalt

          Moderation and brooming the trolls would be a much better allocation of resources.

          • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

            Absolutely.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        It just seems he’s been incredibly pessimistic all year, even in the face of an over-performing team.

        ——————

        I think many fans feel that way because they don’t believe in the team and there is a lack of excitement. It was repeated through the thread “The Yankees are 8 games over and 3 games from first” Put this team in almost any other city and the feeling would be different.

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          Yeah. They would be fucking pumped to be this close to contention considering all the injuries they’ve had. The issue is that the Yankees have been great for the past 20 years, literally my entire life and, now that they’re merely good, the fanbase’s psychotic crybabies are coming out of the woodworks.

          • The Big City of Dreams

            Lol but I don’t think it’s just psychotic crybabies but also die hard fans that are wondering what’s going on. All winter we heard about $189. For any fan base to hear it that much it would be overkill but to hear it from the Yankees is strange.

            • Cool Lester Smooth

              I mean, I’m still pissed off about losing Swisher and, especially, the Russ Bus, considering that Neal, Almonte and Musty are all better options than Ichiro right now, but a lot of the complaining is just over the top and entitled, especially considering how well we’ve done in a year where it would not be surprising to be in 4th place considering that we were missing 5 starters for the first month+ of the season.

      • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

        Yep. LAst night’s post was a culmination of a dour attitude Mike has had all season. Mike does an awesome job and it’s a great site, but yeah, I think the negative attitude he’s had all season has been over the top, and last night topped it off. I mean, we’re the New York Yankees, and 8 games over .500 with the most injuries in baseball by a mile. That’s pretty damn impressive, but Mike has been acting as if the Yanks have been such a failure this year, and that’s just wrong.

    • Pat D

      I don’t remember anyone saying the last quote. As for the second one, I’d attribute it to a knee-jerk reaction to an article that was largely a knee-jerk reaction.

      I think we just all need to get over it.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      The reactions were more over the top than the article.

  • Adam

    The bottom line is that, while fans may not want to admit it, everything Mike said is true. The farm system is total ass and Brian Cashman’s plan of handing out one-year deals to over-the-hill veterans for the major league minimum has finally come back to bite him in the ass. It’s wound up working out in recent years with Clay Rapada, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, etc. but when you keep assembling a team that’s already filled with dinosaurs that way it was only a matter of time before it stopped working. Let’s also remember that in recent years the guys that were signed weren’t expected to be main cogs in the lineup the way they have been this year.

    Brian Cashman should be fired. I understand Hal and Levine are most likely the morons who insisted on handing out a two-year deal to Ichiro, but they gave Cashman a budget to work with and the players he added haven’t performed. Cashman was the one who let Russell Martin walk without so much as a contract offer and he was the one who ultimately decided to trade for Vernon Wells. Unless somebody tells us otherwise, this face-value information is all we have to go by. Cashman has been the guy pumping up the farm system and had confidence in it. Well, where are the pieces? Austin Romine has looked abysmal, David Adams is no longer a prospect and proved to be a decent bench player at best, Eduardo Nunez is awful and none of our supposed outfield prospects are close to being ready to make an immediate impact on the team. The farm system has produced some quality relievers and back-end starters in Warren and Phelps, but that’s really it. As far as position players, this team has zero depth. Can you imagine if Chris Stewart and Cervelli haven’t performed way above and beyond their career numbers suggest they should up to this point? Cashman has done such an awful job, and I refuse to cast the blame solely on ownership. He shouldn’t get a free pass.

    Furthermore, his “tread water” approach has been even more laughable. What exactly are the Yankees “treading water” and waiting for? The only guy who would make a difference is Granderson. A-Rod and Jeter can’t be counted on anything this year. Again, the lackadaisical approach and infatuation with Eduardo Nunez instead of going out and trading for a real shortstop never made any sense and showed that this organization has way more faith in their prospects than they really should.

    • Jim Is Bored

      What shortstop in your magical land of dreaming did you think they ever had a chance to trade for that wouldn’t have depleted the other prospects who you clamor so much for us to be developing?

      • Dalek Jeter

        It’s actually really simple, Jim. We take Nova, Nunez, Neal, basically all of our fringey prospects and some guys that WE don’t think are worth anything and do some kind of 7 team trade and wind up with Stanton and Profar. Because even though our farm system is garbage and our team sucks Cashman should be able to trade them all for top of the line talent otherwise he’s garbage. No there is nothing wrong with that logic at all.

        • Jim Is (not) Bored

          It’s kind of like that guy who offers you Victorino, Jarrod Parker, Phil Hughes, Valverde, and Stephen Drew for Justin Verlander in your fantasy league. “But 5 20 cent guys equal a dollar!”

    • Robinson Tilapia

      SSDD

  • Chasing Headley

    If this were any other team, this article would make more sense, but being The New York Yankees, Mike’s article was beyond perfect for the situation.

    The Yankees are a win EVERY year team. It is a tradition George instilled in this team and that’s just that. The franchise has never accepted mediocrity and it certainly shouldn’t tolerate this mess now.

    I am tired of seeing articles praising Cashman’s work in throwing together garbage and winning a few game. Seriously, if we were going to burn an INSANE amount of money to get a few weeks out of Youkilis, who by the way isn’t that great when healthy, why couldn’t we have gotten a young, talented free agent instead? Seriously, there is no sense in that. If you’re going to be over the threshold you better be sure you have the best of the best as a result.

    Not to mention we’ve waited way too long on certain players. Hughes has been what AJ Burnett was, yet we’ve kept him around longer, what is up with that? And why does everyone assume A-Rod will contribute whenever he’s back? Let me say I don’t think it’s impossible, but he has health issues as well as plain old performance issues without even bringing up the whole Biogenesis clinic mess.

    I also don’t get why we hold mediocre minor league players to such a high standard. Sure, there always is the possibility they turn out to be studs, but there’s also a chance they won’t. If you can trade them for some proven talent, by all means do it! Take the proven product and don’t gamble!

    In the end nothing anyone here says has any bearing, but I just can’t believe the people who are comfortable with just watching the game or making the playoffs anymore. The Yankees are all about WINNING and have been for a while. I know this isn’t life or death, but that’s why it’s a big deal. If you don’t play (and manage your franchise) to win what’s the point?

  • trr

    Thanks for the perspective Matt. Other than my knee jerk reactions posted in the Game Thread, I haven’t said anything about last night’s game. Everyone here knows exatcly what the issues are, both short term
    (this year) and long term (2014, 15,…) For myself, I am more concerned with the overall direction of the team, and the success of the farm system in supplying MLB ready players. Adams and Romaine look overmatched at this level. Time will tell about some of the others. As far as Wells, Youkilis, Hafner, et al; These are honorable, once productive players now at the end of their careers. The lesson here would be the folly in giving multi-year contracts to players in their mid-30?s; If Wells is really as cooked as he looked in last night’s game, then he’s through, should be DFA’d and we eat the contract and blow the salary cap for next year. If team mgmt doesn’t like that, they have only themselves to blame. It may be that we cannot “fix” our current issues. But – as of right now, we’re still in contention, I believe tied for the last playoff spot, so we should act like contenders and try to improve this year’s model without compromising the future. Getting back the injured should help; and Texeira, though clearly in decline, should be more of a force as the season unwinds.

    Lastly, I must comment on the nasty personal tone some of the posts have taken on lately; I understand perfectly that as fans our emotions run high and we need to vent, plus the fact that last night’s game was truly beyond the pale, but some of what I read goes over the line, and adds nothing to our understanding and enjoyment of the game. I’m not advocating that RAB becomes a stodgy, vanilla stew of bland comments, statistics, and mundane observations. After all, if we can’t have fun here, what’s the point? But there is a point where we begin to denigrate the whole process with this pointless juvenalia, to the detriment of all.

    I said my piece; I know some of you will want to tell me to STFU.
    Go ahead. It won’t bother me in the least.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      I also really don’t understand the people the trolls are choosing to single out, either. I’d understand if they were giving me shit. I’m an asshole, after all, but they’re going after genuinely friendly commenters like Pat D, jjyank and Tilapia.

      • trr

        You’re OK in my book Lester :)
        It’s OK to disagree, but when you get away from the point at hand and start launching personal attacks at the poster, it just devalues the whole site

  • forensic

    Guess we know which author gets the bigger check from YES. No wonder you got the Singleton interview. ;-)

  • Nathan

    Nearly 24 hours and my feelings about yesterday’s game haven’t changed. The team is in this position because of

    1) injuries
    2) a poor off-season

    Only one can be blamed on the Yankees. But that is a big one: relying on Youk/Hafner/Ichiro/Wells while not upgrading the catching position might have doomed them this year.

    And I blame that directly on the threshold. I’ve never hated a word as much as I hate that word right now.