For the record, I'm in no way throwing in the towel on this year, let's be very clear about that. Injuries and inconsistency has plagued this Yankees team since March, and it's been frustrating to watch. Things haven't gone well for the club since the middle of July, as we've seen a 10 game lead evaporate right before our very eyes. Matt covered this topic yesterday, and I'll direct you to his great piece for some deeper insights on what's going down currently.
The hope for all of us is the team gets it's act together, locks down the AL East, and makes a deep playoff run en route to another World Championship. Winning is awesome, and we've been spoiled by the great success the club has provided it's fans, both young and old. That said, this core is getting up there in years (and costs), and one has to wonder how much longer the Yankees as they are currently constructed can stay atop the division.
Let's take the jump and think about this a bit more...
The Red Sox just unloaded three high priced veterans in Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett. In return, they acquired significant financial relief, and a few very good prospects (my favorite being Rubby De La Rosa, a hard throwing righty with tremendous upside). Clubhouse chemistry played a big part here, but this team stopped being successful and likable on the field, and a rebuild was necessary. Their core players remain (Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester), with high hopes now resting on rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and a talented farm system. By nabbing a star this winter (Josh Hamilton, perhaps?), and repairing a flawed pitching staff, this rebuild/reload could be nearly complete.
The Yankees 2014 financial commitments total $72 million for Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixiera. Robinson Cano will need to be signed long term, and is likely to command a contract in the $20-plus million range. Curtis Granderson will also command top dollar, and what about franchise icon Derek Jeter? Add in players who will see arbitration raises, and this situation becomes significantly more sticky, especially if the magic $189 million number is what drives the 2014 payroll.
Some of our top prospects could be close to major league ready by 2014. Help is on the way, but as we all know, New York is a tough place to carve out a career as a rookie. Multiple rookies on one roster? That seems like a recipe for disaster, especially in this town, in my opinion.
Thinking beyond this year, would you as a diehard Yankee fan, be able to stomach a significant rebuilding effort? Should the Yankees go for broke and throw huge contracts to Cano and Granderson, and deal with the consequences of leaving other parts of the roster thin later? If Jeter is still producing, what role does he play in the financial scheme of things? How would you proceed, given all the variables, in keeping the Yankees an annual contender?
Steve offered up some very good insight on this topic as well, yesterday. If you haven't already checked out his thoughts, you certainly should before dropping your ideas on solving things here. Remember those 'The More You Know' commercials from years ago? You get the idea...
There is a lot here to think about, and I know this is a touchy subject. I understand some may not want to even think about this as a reality, and to those of you, I certainly respect your stance. The topic is on my mind though, and I'd like to get your opinions, if you're willing to share. Tough decisions are on the horizon, but that's what makes this so fascinating and exciting to me.
Have at it, Pinstripe Alley. Maybe one of you has the solution to solving this complex puzzle...