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The Winter Of Our Discontent

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Raise your hand if the Yankees have excited you this offseason.

That's what I thought.

At this point, it's highly likely that 95% of the Yankees 2012 roster is already with the team, and the 5% that's still undecided probably consists of utility infielders, fifth outfielders, or middle relievers, which leaves very little to get excited about from now until Spring Training starts.


I suppose that's the way it should be. The Yankees did win 97 games last season despite a starting rotation that nobody believed in, an offense that relied too heavily on the longball, and a $30 million DH/3B who was dragging the whole thing down.

We know that there is no plan in baseball. Sure, the "plan" is to win, make the playoffs, and win the World Series, but there's no set roadmap or formula for making that happen. Just look at the wide range of World Series champions in recent years - what do the 2011 Cardinals, 2010 Giants, 2009 Yankees, 2008 Phillies, and 2007 Red Sox have in common? Not much.

You have high priced veteran teams, young teams that were developed and drafted from within, and a team that probably didn't have more than two good hitters. Look at the teams who should have won the World Series in the past few years but didn't. The 2011 Phillies and 2010-11 Rangers were stacked, but came up short.

Building a team is difficult these days. GMs are smarter than they were ten years ago, and are doing a better job of identifying talent and keeping it, which it makes it more difficult to have an advantage when it comes to acquiring talent. At the same time, and almost as a contradiction, more and more teams are spending their surplus dollars on the free agent market, and things have become crazy again. In light of this, what should the Yankees do? Make a splash just to make a splash? Of course not. There was no exploitable advantage for them this offseason, at least not one that was likely to lead to anything productive. Throwing $100 million at CJ Wilson, or posting $80 million for Yu Darvish is certainly newsworthy, but it might also be insane.

And so the Yankees will wait. They'll wait on Dellin Betances, Hector Noesi, and Manny Banuelos. They'll wait until February to sign a veteran pitcher or two to a low-risk, incentive laden contract. And they'll wait until an advantage presents itself in the form of a salary they can afford to take in a trade, or a free agent they can afford to outbid everybody else on.

Until then, they wait. It's boring, but that's the way it should be.