The Yankees mediocre season is a necessary step to the top

The year 2016 has been an underwhelming year for the New York Yankees, to say the least. GM Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees front office are in an odd position right now, as they are trying to balance the act of competing and “rebuilding”. I put quotes around the word rebuilding because in the case of Yankees’ brass, they don’t believe in that word. This comes as a result of the the Yankees mindset that we’re all used to. It comes from always trying to have a packed house every night, when that’s been far from the reality. Or the attempts to boast about the history of the illustrious ball club, nice throwbacks, but not relevant to the team today.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

George Steinbrenner never settled for mediocre performances from his teams, and he surely would have made some swift changes if he were still around. By no means am I saying that George Steinbrenner was "the best owner ever", or the franchise would be better with him. What I am saying though, is that the kind of Yankees baseball we have been watching the past few seasons has been different. We’ve been watching a ball club stuck in limbo. We’re being delivered a product that is trying to get by, without being bad. I’m not angry with this team, because I understand what the end goal of this season is, and it’s pretty clear to understand that goal.

This year is a “get-by” season for the Bronx Bombers. Contending was never a main priority, even if the average Yankee fan finds that hard to believe. Instead, the future has been prioritized, which is nice to see. It is clear to see that there has been a real shift in organizational philosophy that has taken over the Yankees, and it is undoubtedly the smart choice. Stay away from the high priced FA's who will help short term, and hold on to those highly-touted prospects. Sure, everyone wants their team to contend year in and year out. When you have a dynasty built like some teams did back in the 90’s (Yankees I’m talking to you), it’s quite easy to be a perennial powerhouse. However, when years of overspending on free agents and whiffing on draft picks adds up, it’s hard to field a legitimate contender. When you look at teams like the Chicago Cubs or Houston Astros, they were terrible for years, but what about now? The Cubs are the favorite to win the 2016 World Series and the Astros have a bright, young roster. So as Yankee fans, we should consider ourselves lucky that we don’t have to go through years of horrific seasons to finish the "rebuild". That’s why going through one or two bad years, like 2016 and 2017 are shaping up to be, isn’t as bad as it seems. Yes, I understand Yankee fans are accustomed to a winning atmosphere, but if the end goal is to be set up in the long run, why not go through two mediocre years to potentially have ten great years of Bronx baseball?

Greener pastures await this team as soon as next season. Most obviously, massive contracts will be coming off the books for the team, which will allow Brian Cashman to prioritize free agent money where it really matters, most likely towards the historic 2018 class and resigning homegrown players. Take a look at so many other teams in the league and it’s easy to find their bright stars. The Chicago Cubs have multiple in Addison Russell, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. The Houston Astros have Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, while the New York Mets feature Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom and more. What about the Yankees? Sure, right now there isn’t much talk in the Bronx around the young guys, but there will be. After Carlos Beltran leaves, the hulking Aaron Judge will take over. Pitching prospects such as James Kaprielian and Ian Clarkin will be fixtures in the rotation sooner than later. Don’t forget about Luis Severino or Gary Sanchez, who are players that certainly have roles in the Yankees long term plans. For a look at the how the Yankees future could be altered by trades, look at my fellow BBB writer’s piece HERE.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports 
We know that Yankees upper management will never admit that the team is going through a long, arduous “rebuilding” phase. The word simply doesn’t exist in the Bronx dictionary. Yes, this current Yankees squad isn’t the best bunch, but it’s clear that there is a plan Brian Cashman is laying out. He’ll never actually field an awful team, but he’s not going all out to make 2016 a year to contend. Most Yankee fans will only look to the games in front of them and scream in disgust as to why such poor baseball is on display. It’s certainly an odd stage that we’re at as Yankee fans, but the reality is that this team has a lot of hope for the future, something that never seemed possible for the big spenders from the Bronx.

Article by: Phil Akre
Follow me on twitter: @philakre
Follow the BBB on twitter: @BronxBomberBlog

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