An open letter to the Steinbrenners, re: Jose Abreu

Jason Szenes

There's a baseball player available who can hit baseballs? I'm intrigued!

To Harold and Henry Steinbrenner, owners and co-chairmen of the New York Yankees:

Sup Stein-bros! How's it hangin'? Low and lazy, I'll bet...just like the Yankees' position in the AL East.  Haha! I'm just yankin' your chain; you know I love you guys. Bros gotta stick together.

And that's why I'm writing to you today, to give you guys a much needed heads-up. Word on the street is that Jose Abreu has defected from Cuba, and that the dude is a major offensive talent. I'm fairly certain I'm the first one to bring this to your attention, since the Yankees have all but ignored the international free agent market in recent years.

Look, I get it - you're trying to save some money. We've all been there. I mean, Arabian racing stallions and Cristal fountains don't exactly pay for themselves. I know you'd prefer to operate like the Rays - a team that wins without spending an ungodly sum of money. Of course, you don't do any of the things that make the Rays the Rays - like locking your young players into cheap extensions - but we all can dream, can't we?

The problem here, guys, is that you're not the Rays. You're the Dodgers - a team that wins by outspending the competition. And the Dodgers helped turn their season around due in part to a prescient spending spree on the international free agent market (maybe you've heard of this Yasiel Puig guy). I know Abreu isn't a sure thing - neither was Puig, or Yu Darvish - but in baseball's new economic climate, sure-thing free agents are few and far between. My worry here, Stein-bros, is that you've stopped being proactive with your money. And those who don't spend proactively are doomed to spend re-actively, as you've proven with the deals for Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano.

By now I'm sure your baseball people are warning you that signing Abreu would be a mistake, since he's a first basemen. Mark Teixeira is locked into first base for the foreseeable future, and the last thing we need are a punch of weak defenders sharing the same position. First of all: who exactly are your baseball people nowadays? Is Randy Levine involved? If so, I want both of you to turn around and punch him in the face right now - the man is a hobgoblin.

Look, I love defense as much as the next guy. This 2013 team has had defense to spare. Luis Cruz could really pick it. Alberto Gonzalez is a maestro at short. And every time I see Chris Stewart frame a pitch, I drop to my knees and cry. But I believe that the offense-defense pendulum has swung too far in the other direction - defense has become wildly overrated. This team doesn't win because it cannot score runs...like, at all.

Let me tell you about a very different team - the 2005 Yankees. That team couldn't pitch much - except for the legendary Aaron Small - and they were probably the worst defensive team in the history of the game. But they won 95 games and the AL East crown on the strength of an offense that scored 886 runs. This current Yankees team couldn't score 886 runs in two full seasons if you spotted them 200 runs.

There's a dirty little secret to defensive positions in baseball: if the player can hit enough, the positions don't really matter. The Tigers were raked over the coals by defense purists who believed there was no way a team could survive moving Miguel Cabrera to third base. Not only did the Tigers survive, but they won the American League pennant last season and currently hold the best record in the AL this year. The Yankees don't need a certain player to fill a certain position; they need offense, period. I would have hoped that this season has taught you that most of these so-called "position crunches" tend to work themselves out naturally anyway. Should we really be that concerned with finding enough at bats for Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez next season, given their old, fragile and/or suspended conditions. Something tells me that Abreu will fit into next year's lineup just fine.

Those are some strictly baseball-specific reasons for going after Abreu...but I've known you dudes long enough to figure you might need some other enticements. Let's face it, boys: this franchise needs some buzz, some juice, a little ring-a-ding-ding. You need to put butts back in the seats and get back on the front page. Haven't you noticed Puig-mania out in LA? How can you not want a piece of that hot Cuban action? Also, you can make a bundle recycling those old Bobby Abreu jerseys and selling them for 75 bucks a pop.

So how about it, bros: a good old-fashioned Steinbrenner spending orgy. Hell, the least you can do is out-bid the Red Sox...it might be the only time we beat them this year.

In conclusion: Treat Yo Self!


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