Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The New York Yankees are finally playing it smart and are beginning to look like a team that can make another dynasty-type run once again. The main reason for this is General Manager Brian Cashman. George Steinbrenner is no longer using Cashman like a human puppet, and is letting him do his thing and pull the strings himself, and so far it looks like a very wise business decision. Georgie Porgie has a history of moving personnel around like those little pieces in a Monopoly game. The result is that the Bronx Bombers have spent more time in Marvin Gardens than they have on Park Avenue. Last season the Detroit Tigers embarrassed them so badly that the team looked like that poor sap in Monopoly jail. This year the Yanks may just be able to bypass loser’s prison and move back into the expensive winning neighborhoods they frequented in the late 90’s. A big part of their move back to respectability involves staying away from overpriced free agent bidding wars, stockpiling young pitching prospects, leaving their minor league system alone so that it can develop and unloading old, expensive antiques. Planning for the long-term rather than getting players who are overpaid underachievers in order to try and win today is not a formula for success, and Cashman knows it. His moves this year have been just short of brilliant. Getting rid of Gary Sheffield and Randy Johnson, Hall of Famers whose best days are long gone, was the right thing to do. Picking up pitchers Andy Pettite, Luis Vizcaino and Kei Igawa should work out well. Unloading questionable arms like Sidney Ponson, Jaret Wright, Tanyon Sturtze, Octavio Dotel, and Jeff Nelson was a timely survival move. And picking up Doug Mientkiewicz, a utility team player who will enhance the squad’s overall chemistry, was pure genius. By staying away from over-hyped free agents like Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito and Carlos Lee, the Yankees have clearly illustrated that they won’t throw money at the first free agent to pop his head out into the open market anymore. By keeping his team’s core intact and letting them play together for more than just one season, the Yanks will be better and tougher to beat than ever. Watch out American League, because the pinstriped boys are playing it smarter and looking at the big picture, rather than running a closeout sale every off season. The end result could be another dynasty in the Big Apple, complete with solid pitching, timely hitting and a team attitude that’s been missing over the last six years.