Friday, October 27, 2017

Another Reason To Be Excited About The Future

While I was already excited about the future of the Yankees, the recent decision to part ways with Joe Girardi has increased it.

Let me start by touching upon the reasons I was excited before....

1. The Yankees are stocked with young stars. Aaron Judge is not only an MVP candidate after his rookie season, but is also a finalist for the Gold Glove award. Among catchers with at least 400 plate appearances this season, Gary Sanchez was first in fWAR, first in wOBA, first in SLG, first in home runs, and first in RBI. Luis Severino, in his first full season as a starter, was third in the AL in fWAR, third in ERA, and fourth in strikeouts per nine innings. And then you have other youngsters like Greg Bird and Jordan Montgomery. Not to mention that Sonny Gray is young and under team control for two more seasons, and Didi Gregorius is in the same boat while being a prime candidate for a contract extension (although the Yankees are not keen on contract extensions).

2. While there are already youngsters in the Majors making big contributions, that doesn't mean there aren't more on the way. Gleyber Torres is the #1 prospect in baseball, and will likely make his MLB debut sometime in 2018. Chance Adams will likely debut next season too, while other good pitching prospects like Justus Sheffield are not far behind. Then there's Miguel Andujar, who could very well be the team's long-term answer at third base (this could be dependent on the team ridding themselves of Starlin Castro, of course).

3. This is the area that has me a little concerned. Emphasis on "little".

I believe young players need veterans to guide the start of their careers. For example, Matt Holliday had a well-documented impact on Aaron Judge this season. Adjusting to the spotlight, particularly in New York, is extremely difficult. So to see a player like Judge handle things in stride like he did should be enough to tell you that some veteran presence is a good thing.

That's an area where CC Sabathia has been big for the team. Sure, we haven't heard much about the interaction between CC and youngsters like Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, but I'm sure some of CC's knowledge has been shared with them. And as long as the team has a starting spot to fill, and he's still effective, then Sabathia should be brought back.

But on the offensive side of things that veteran presence isn't so obvious. The 22+ years of experience in MLB from Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, and Didi Gregorius should be there for the kids of today and the future. But is it really? I'd like to know, because until then I'm just a little concerned here.

4. I have faith in Brian Cashman and the front office (btw, the fact that Brian Cashman had much to do with the decision to let Joe Girardi go tells you he's returning as the general manager). I know Brian has his share of detractors, but I'm not among them. What Cash has done the past few years is extraordinary. Before the 2016 trades of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman the Yankees farm system was middle of the road, but after those trades MLB.com ranked them second. Brian was also able to get the Yankees a young, strong, cost-controlled starter in Sonny Gray without giving up that much (Fowler, Kaprielian, and Mateo are not bad prospects, but each has questions about their futures). And how about the trade for Didi? That worked out pretty well, didn't it? Or how about holding onto top prospects who have made it possible for the Yankees to not only build a winner, but have a winning team right away? Has Cash made some mistakes (Chris Carter)? Sure. But his pros significantly outweigh his cons.

And that brings us back to the first line of this post... the Yankees' new manager.

I wasn't against Joe Girardi, but I wasn't for him either. I saw the good... I saw the bad. My faith in Girardi as the manager mainly revolved around the fact that the front office had faith in him. Was that wishful thinking on my part? I really don't know. There are numerous articles out there talking about all the good and bad things Joe Girardi did for the Yankees, so I really don't want to repeat all of that.

My faith again is in the hands of the front office, and I feel good about that. Because the front office has made it so the future of this team is brighter than it's been since 1996. They could very well hire some guy that flat-out stinks, but seeing how well the vast majority of their decisions have worked recently, I feel good about what will happen. Especially since it's been made clear that they were not on board with the "binder" thing that many people hated about Joe Girardi's managing style.

To wrap things up, I'll never be happy about the Yankees losing, no matter what the circumstances surrounding the loss are. Losing in the American League Championship Series, especially being one win away from winning the pennant with two games to go, hurts. But the fact that this team, and by "team" I'm talking about players, coaches, and front office, lost gives them motivation to be even better in 2018. They may not be the underdogs they were in 2017, but they still have something to prove.

6 comments:

  1. I have to say that I am in agreement with you point by point. Your feelings about Cashman echo my own. Like you, I have confidence that he'll make the right decision for Girardi's replacement. Based on everything I've seen and heard, Sabathia has very strong influence on the clubhouse. There's no doubt he is the one of the team's leaders. Veteran influence is invaluable. We can use former Yankees Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran as prime examples given the impact they've made on Houston's collection of #1 draft picks. The Yankees will be viewed as one of the AL's best teams next year and they should...because they are.

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  2. No disrespect fans, "Veteran influence is invaluable"... is very true, but one must also be able to play the game well enough to help the team on the field as well as in the club house. CC is a good role model but being only a 5 inning pitcher hurts the team by overworking the Bull Pen!

    Next year, the guys that played this year can help the new guys just as they were helped. They have, "been there and done that", now it is payback time!

    I think, now that the front office and Cashman are on the same page things should keep looking up.
    The last PP was the kicker for me...I am (by those that played with me, or against me) the worse looser in the world by many degrees!

    Yankees in 2018!

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  3. I think it's a given that a veteran on the team has to be able to play. You expect the best players to take the field next April regardless of who they are. But within the confines of earning the right to play on a Major League field, I stand by the statement "veteran influence is invaluable". You look back on the late 90's champions and Tim Raines had such a huge, but unsung, influence on those teams. I am not necessarily saying the Yankees should bring CC back. I want the best five guys in the rotation next year. Hoping that Tanaka doesn't opt out, we have Masa, Sonny Gray, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery as the sure bets. I would love for Chance Adams to grab the last spot or Justus Sheffield become the sensation of training camp.

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    1. I don't think we disagree on the substance of "veteran influence is invaluable" at all. I look at the make-up of the team for next year and see one maybe two veterans and none of them are the leader type. Thus, as with other teams of the past, one, two, or more players of this team will need to step up and take charge!
      Can we hope this is the way it goes, why not! It has happened before but, I don't see any true "A" personalities on the team for next year!

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    2. To add to what Scott said about veteran leadership being invaluable. Everyone talks about the Dynasty Yankees and the 1996 team but where is that team and where is that dynasty without players like Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Joe Girardi in 1996, and most of the pitching staff?

      Probably the same place the new, hopefully, core is right now. Sitting at home watching the World Series.

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    3. You are right Daniel, and that would be the way a team is put together as it was in the old glory years!
      The problem with this team is, we have to play the best players. In 1996 we didn't have anyone that could play with the talent we have today, other than some FA and older heads with good leadership. We only had the Core 4+1 and the imports.
      Joe T and the papers all said DJ was the leader of the team at that time...as a rookie! We all know that was BS but it was good press!

      Is there anyone out there we could get that would be better than what we have and still be a good leader? I don't see one, I see a few that could play better (or as well) as what we have but, very few are leaders!

      Anyone you can think of, Daniel? I'm sure there may be one or more...I just don't see one.

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