Face of the Yankees: Who is it, and does it even matter?

The last time the New York Yankees broke camp for the regular season without a member of the "Core Four", Bill Clinton was still a year away from running for re-election, Microsoft was putting the finishing touches on Windows 95, and Joe Girardi was the everyday catcher for the Colorado Rockies. A lot has changed since 1995, and 20 years later, the Yankees find themselves devoid of an on-field connection to the glory days of the late 1990's and early 2000's. Many Yankee fans and members of the New York and national media are now looking to a retooled (that's the word we'll go with) roster and asking who the face of the current-day team is. The question that really should be asked is: does it really matter?

Current candidates for the job include Brett Gardner (the only homegrown everyday player in the lineup), Jacoby Ellsbury (the 31-year old former Bostonian in the second year of a seven-year deal), Alex Rodriguez (still, by far, the most nationally-discussed Bomber) and Masahiro Tanaka (who may or may not require serious surgery down the road on a partially-torn UCL, but who also looked like the best pitcher in baseball at times his rookie year). The point is that none of these options stand out as particularly intriguing. However, that's okay, Pinstripe Nation, and here's why:

It is officially a new day in the Bronx. There will be no year-long retirement tour distracting people from an aging and un-athletic ball club. With just one title in the last 14 seasons, it is finally time to take a deep, extended look at the franchise from top to bottom. Get rid of what is holding the team back, and acquire pieces to more readily adapt to the ways teams are winning in baseball today. It is the idea of the "face" that has dogged this team for a number of years now. It is the same reason that many did not believe that the Empire had zero intent on swooping in on Max Scherzer at the last moment and adding him to a rotation that could very well have used him (damn, that Nationals rotation could be the stuff of legends).

There is no need for a "face of the Yankees" in 2015. Anyone that can't see that this team is clearly in transition and probably on the outside looking in on the playoff race this upcoming season (and maybe even next) also probably is convinced that Javier Vazquez could still make a name for himself in pinstripes. Come 2018, 2019, this team will be better. They will add pieces--and big ones at that. However, Cashman and Co. have made it clear this off-season that those additions will not take place until the time is right. It is one of the bolder--and more savy--statements the organization has made in years.

Yes, we are five weeks out from the start of Spring Training, and the Yankees seem content to head to Tampa with the most unfamiliar roster this millennium. In an age where parity reigns in the sport, who is to say that maybe the Yankees can't make a push at a playoff spot this year? If that occurs, it will be with the most "un-Yankee" roster that many fans under the age of 25 have seen in their entire lives. Maybe, just maybe, that'll be a good thing.

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