Over the offseason we will be trying news ways to enhance your Pinstripe Alley experience. One way we can attempt to do that is through interviews with members of the Internet baseball community. This week, join me in welcoming national baseball writer Jesse Spector of the Sporting News to Pinstripe Alley. Jesse was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
PSA: Do you feel that the moves in player development were the right moves? Should they have hired outside of the organization as others had hoped?
I can't speak with any expertise on the moves the Yankees made within their player development department because it's just not an area of the game that I know enough about. Obviously, the farm system has not produced at a level that anyone would hope for, but I can't tell you if that's more due to problems on the development side, or if there's something wrong with the way that the Yankees have been identifying talent in the first place, which would be a scouting issue. Hiring from outside the organization probably would not have hurt, because it's good to have fresh ideas, but does that mean that's how they should have gone? Not necessarily.
PSA: It’s interesting to hear that with the Yankees, Peter O’Brien was a question mark prospect. Now that he’s with Arizona those questions seem to be disappearing. Was the media downing him because he was a Yankee prospect at the time?
O'Brien had a 1.044 OPS for Mobile in the Southern League after the Yankees traded him, so obviously the move to a new organization sparked something in him. Wait a minute, that was only in four games. I've never seen O'Brien play, but if you're not concerned about his strikeout-to-walk ratio in the lower levels of the minor leagues, you're doing something wrong. Does Arizona have a great history of helping guys to learn plate discipline? No. So, I don't know what's changed, if anything has at all. I don't think the media puts extra scrutiny on prospects because they are in the Yankees system, though.
PSA: As a national baseball writer what's your favorite and least favorite part of covering a Yankees story. Why?
I don't think that there's anything about covering a Yankees story that stands out as all that different from covering a story about any other team. When there is a game or a press conference in the Bronx that I have to attend, I like the fact that it's not a long subway ride from Astoria. I don't like the fact that any big Yankees story draws a media horde, because the simple math of it makes it more difficult to find a unique angle, which is always my goal. I don't enjoy pack journalism, and you get more of that with the Yankees than you do in a lot of places. The same is true for Boston and any big event like the World Series or winter meetings. I still go, still enjoy it very much, and still do my best to come up with something to write that you won't find elsewhere. Overall, though, the experience is not dissimilar to covering a Padres story.
PSA: With the emergence of the Dodgers as big spenders, are the Yankees disliked as much nationally as in years past?
Actually, I think the Cardinals are more disliked nationally than the Dodgers, because the Cardinals have had so much success. I have a similar level (but different type) of smugness to what was associated with the Yankees during their peak years. The Dodgers are big spenders, but pretty much everyone loves Clayton Kershaw. I get that Yasiel Puig can be divisive, but he's also a guy who came through their farm system. If you think back to when Yankee hatred really took hold, it was when they came off the best season in history and added Roger Clemens. Even though it was a trade, it was a total mercenary move. The Yankees aren't disliked as much now as they were through the 2000s, simply because they haven't won. Had they been in the playoffs this year, after signing all the guys they signed the previous winter, they would have been as loathed as ever, especially with the Jeter backlash. Just about everyone was sick of it by the end, even a lot of Yankee fans, though that last game in the Bronx and the finale at Fenway were enough to melt away a lot of the nonsense that had gone on in the run-up.
PSA: Over the past few years we've seen former star players become involved with teams outside of the baseball diamond. Derek Jeter has already stated that he would like to own a baseball team someday. Do you believe that the Yankees will make him a minority owner?
They're not just going to gift it to him. Business is business. Jeter has made a ton of money playing baseball, plus whatever he has taken in from endorsements. Is it really enough to buy into the richest franchise in professional sports? Maybe The Players' Tribune will make him a mint. I don't know.
Once again I would like to thank Jesse for taking time out of his busy schedule to accommodate my interview request. You can check out his work at sportingnews.com, for up to date baseball news and stories. Please follow his twitter account @jessespector