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Yankees Mailbag: Lockout updates, the Mets’ offseason comparisons, and Billy Beane

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Let’s send off 2021 with one more round of your mailbag questions.

MLB: DEC 02 Major League Baseball Lockout Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. From here on out, the mailbag will be running every two weeks, due to a slower amount of information trickling in and a lack of action going on. Without further ado, let’s open up the mailbag for more of your Yankees questions. Remember to send in your questions for our (bi)weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

jjpf asks: Do you think the MLBPA-MLB will release agreed upon items (like universal DH, expanded playoffs) as they occur even if they hit a stalemate on the other stuff?

It would be nice to hear any news about their negotiations right about now, as it’s been mostly radio silence since the lockout started. My gut reaction would be that we might hear leaks of what both sides are pushing for, but they won’t release any details until the whole deal is hammered out. I do expect concessions of some sort on these topics, but they’re far apart on too many other details for it to matter where this particular issue stands for the moment.

Bob Z. asks: It seems like the Mets are doing all the kinds of things the Yankees have been famous (or infamous) for. How long will Hal Steinbrenner put up with the Mets grabbing the sports page headlines? I won’t argue that Steinbrenner won’t pay, however the Mets are making a serious attempt to upgrade in almost every way while the Yankees have been sitting on their hands.

The back page headlines have always been a talking point for the Mets more than the Yankees, the latter of whom has never really concerned themselves about while the former found themselves there for the wrong reasons more often than not. However, it’s undeniable that this has been a solid offseason for the Mets and a comatose one for the Yankees. It’s too early to say whether the Mets will avoid Metsing themselves, but they seem to be making smart moves — and the Yankees have seemingly avoided the obvious moves they could’ve made.

I’m not sure how much of this is Cashman or Steinbrenner weighing in on the market prices, but it would be unfortunate if the real answer turns out to be the team not wanting to invest with a promising player coming up the pipeline. It’s more than possible to add a superstar talent and make room for a prodigy, like the Padres did with Manny Machado and Fernando Tatís Jr. at shortstop. Volpe is promising, but not talked about at Tatís levels yet, so it’s strange that the team would defer to his arrival so strongly. What is certain is that there won’t be a market for players at the exact position the Yankees need for a long time, and passing entirely seems foolish.

WI FAN asks: Billy Beane as Yankees GM for 10 years at luxury tax threshold vs Brian Cashman for 10 years at threshold plus $30 million per year. Which team appears in most World Series? Which GM (if any) has developed powerhouse farm system? Any difference if spending is equal?

This is a harder comparison to make than you might think. Yes, Billy Beane has been operating with a next-to-nonexistent budget out in Oakland, but the last decade or so of evidence has shown us that the Yankees’ limitless financial advantages aren’t being flexed anymore. It’s a world of a difference from what Beane is working with, but the Yankees aren’t opening the checkbook that often and Cashman doesn’t get to go above that whenever he wants. Add onto that the ever expanding postseason that MLB wants to push for, and World Series titles become harder and harder to predict.

As far as developing farm systems, the Yankees have been fairly successful at doing so while still positioning themselves near the top of the league. Teams like Oakland have accepted the notion that their stars will get traded down the line, like how Tampa Bay has done for years, in order to stay competitive since they won’t pay beyond team-controlled years often, which will artificially inflate their farm systems with incoming prospects. I don’t think hiring away Beane to replace Cashman would magically make the Yankees better at developing prospects, even if they brought Beane’s entire staff along with him.

Hal Steinbrenner asks: When was the last Jacoby Ellsbury sighting?

Every year that passes from this story only adds further amazement. I have no idea where Ellsbury is at, or where his case against the Yankees stands, and I can’t believe it got swept away so easily from public discourse.

That will wrap up our last mailbag for this year. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a question, and we look forward to continuing these discussions in 2022!