As the Yankees finally roll out their Major League roster for meaningful games, Yankees fans are finally getting a look at the team that many are predicting to win the AL East.
The days of George Steinbrenner paying for every great free agent player are gone. The Boss helped herald in modern free agency in the mid-70s when he brought Catfish Hunter over from the Oakland A’s and not long after, Reggie Jackson followed and helped bring the Yankees back-to-back World Series titles in ’77 and ’78. However, those days are over, and it is for the better.
The general manager is now calling all the shots for the Yankees. In today’s league, analytics rule the show. It is best for Brian Cashman to do the majority of the team building for the Yankees.
Throwing money at players is not the way smart teams are operating anymore. It is all about player development and getting value out of free agents. The Yankees are already paying Giancarlo Stanton over $300 million to wear pinstripes for over a decade. There is a big contract player. However, the Yankees acquired him via trade.
Do not forget about the bullpen. The Yankees brought in two dominant relief pitchers in Adam Ottavio and Zack Britton. Today’s game relies heavily on bullpens and hey, they also have one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game in Arolids “Cuban Missile” Chapman, again, Britton coming to the Bronx via trade, then signing a contract this offseason.
Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez are all homegrown talent that ranges from superstar/ace to up-and-coming young star. Yes, Sanchez has to bounce back, but the Yankees have shown their ability to develop talent into payers that succeed at the Major League level.
Troy Tulowitzki and DJ Lemahieu are concrete examples of the Yankees philosophy shift for the better. They signed two great infielders with proven histories on team-friendly deals. Not to mention the value DJ adds by being versatile. He is the Yankees utility player, a new position that MLB teams have cherished over recent years.
Do not forget how well Cashman has worked the trading block. He acquired Aaron Hicks and James Paxton via trade and flipped Chapman to Chicago for half a season in return for Gleyber Torres! Cashman has taken the reigns from the owner and has built a juggernaut.
The Yankees and Brian Cashman have adapted to the new MLB where being financially smart pays off. The Yankees built their 2019 team in more ways than just backing up the money truck. Sure, that is what The Boss would have done, but in today’s game, it would have been a prehistoric move and a sign of the Yankees being bogged down by old philosophy. Trades, development, and smart free agent signings have built this team to be poised for a World Series run, without severely breaking the bank.
Look at the Chicago Cubs for example. They went out and spent big for their World Series title. Now they are paying the price (or lack thereof). The Cubs are treading water, trying to return to the postseason, but are handicapped by a large payroll with no flexibility to sign marquee players.
Imagine the rioting that would occur if Hal told fans there was no money to make moves.
Instead, the Yankees have made the smartest moves to financially be in a position for a streak of World Series runs, instead of diving headfirst into a pool of money dedicated to one chance at the Fall Classic.
Appreciate Cashman’s ability to built a team when he has the responsibility and trust from the owner to do so.
The only thing left to do is beat the Orioles.
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