Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Changing Of The Guard

About a week ago I had a conversation with a reader on Twitter. The conversation started off talking about David Robertson, Shawn Kelly, Dellin Betances, and the closer role. However, things changed and we started discussing changes that should be made in the front office and coaching staff.

"Yeah, I'm going to be talking about you, Brian."

Since I'm sure you all care what I think about the bullpen situation for next year, I basically said that it wouldn't kill the team to let David Robertson go in the offseason, as I can see Dellin Betances taking over the closer's role. However, losing an arm as good as D-Rob's will definitely hurt the bullpen. Just look at how much weaker the bullpen is without Rivera, even though Robertson has stepped into the closer spot and done well.

Remember... no matter what role a player fills you can't go from two good pitchers to one and not get worse.

As I was saying, the conversation turned to the front office and coaching staff. The reader suggested getting rid of Kevin Long, and I can't say that thinking is wrong. I'm not the biggest Kevin Long fan in the World, but you can't deny that he's helped hitters before (see Curtis Granderson). But, for a while now, I've had a problem with the Yankees approach at the plate. Instead of doing things like trying to move a runner into scoring position by hitting the ball to one side or the other, Yankee hitters tend to always try to come up with the big hit. Nobody wants to be a role player, even for just one at bat. When all we need is a fly ball so a runner can tag up and score from third base, a Yankee hitter will try and do too much and pop out, or strike out while taking a big swing. I doubt that's all on Kevin, but he's surely a part of the problem there.

Before the conversation ended I brought up the idea that the Yankees seem to be in a transitional period. While things are changing, other things are staying the same. So while you see the team do the right thing and hold back from giving out another huge contract to a player on the wrong side of 30 years old (Cano), they go and give a different player on the wrong side of 30 a seven year deal.

The reader brought up Kevin Towers as a possible replacement for Brian Cashman, but I shot that down right away. Not because I know Towers, his contract with the Diamondbacks, or whether he likes Arizona or not, but because I think it's time for the Yankees to embrace a change. It's time for this team to get away from their old ways, and realize that the game has changed, and so should they. That means a young, new, General Manager. Not somebody that's familiar with the way the Yankees did business in the past, and will let that interfere with what's best for them now.

You may have read a quote from the head coach and technical director of the United States Men's National Team, Jurgen Klinsmann. No, not the one about the United States not being able to win the World Cup this year, but this...
“This always happens in America. Kobe Bryant, for example — why does he get a two-year contract extension for $50 million? Because of what he is going to do in the next two years for the Lakers? Of course not. Of course not. He gets it because of what he has done before. It makes no sense. Why do you pay for what has already happened?”
For starters, I partially agree with Jurgen. It doesn't make sense for a guy to get paid for what he did in the past. The company I work for is not going to pay me for what I did last year, they are going to pay me for what they think I can do for them now. In that respect, neither Kobe Bryant nor Derek Jeter should have been paid what they were in 2014. However, this is the way things have been done for a long time, and changing that could negatively affect a team's ability to sign stars in the future. For example, if Brett Gardner didn't think the Yankees would be there for him in 2020 when his contract was up, but he still had something left, perhaps Brett wouldn't have signed that extension and would have opted for free agency after this season.

I don't know how somebody thinks, but I can at least see why a team would feel obligated to make their stars happy.

But there's more to Klinsmann's quote than money. If you look past the money thing, you'll see that Coach Klinsmann is really talking about doing what's best for a team now.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I'm an expert on the game of soccer. I love the sport, but you're not going to see me start a blog writing about the game or those in it. However, I do know that Landon Donovan is 32 years old, and while that may be fairly young for a baseball player, 32 is a fairly old for a soccer player. Landon started playing in Major League Soccer at the age of 19. The German team, which is one of the favorites to win the World Cup this year, has an average age under 26.

Therefore, would Landon have been the best for the Men's National Team in this World Cup? I think the best answer to that question is "maybe", and in the end I'm going to side with Jurgen Klinsmann, a man that's had a great soccer career as both a player and coach.

So how does this affect the Yankees? Well, it's time for them to do what's best for the team now, and stop thinking about the past. I'm not saying they should throw Old Timer's Day out the window... NOT AT ALL. But when it comes to trying to win, they have to stop pandering to aging stars and the old way of building the team. Just like a restaurant that has to update their menu once in a while, it's time for the Yankees to sit down and do what's best for business in the present.

That means it's time for the Yankees to move on from Brian Cashman and the "old guard". I appreciate and respect everything they've done for the Yankees. Without them, who knows what would have happened in 2009 and in other successful seasons? But teams like the Oakland Athletics are showing us that enough's enough... it's time for a change.

"I think this guy may be a wrestling fan."

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)