The theme for the New York Yankees this season has been whether or not they will enter seller mode for the first time since 1989 when they shipped Rickey Henderson to the Oakland Athletics for Greg Cadaret, Luis Polonia, and Eric Plunk. It is unfamiliar territory but it might be the best thing for the Yankees’ future at this point.
Yes, not long ago I wrote about them not breaking up No-Runs DMC but they should at least see what kind of haul Aroldis Chapman can bring in and then sign him in the offseason to a long-term deal. Things change and the Yankees are not a playoff team. Even in the five percent chance, Fangraphs’ percentage for the Yankees’ postseason hopes, they do make the playoffs it will be a short run.
It seems that half of the Yankees’ brass, led by GM Brian Cashman, are for selling off pieces before the August 1st trade deadline. The other half, seemingly led by Randy Levine and owner Hal Steinbrenner, are for giving it a go. One side is clearly delusional and it isn’t Cashman’s people.
Randy Levine has stated time and time again in the press that the Yankees aren’t sellers. He sees the Yankees as a business only and even a one-game playoff would be worth the money in his eyes. He sees television ratings for YES Network getting an uptick from a playoff chase. He sees selling as a potential dip in ratings and therefore a poor business decision. What he fails to see is that Yankees fans want the team to sell. They want to get good young players to root for over the next decade.
The Yankees’ method of buying aging veterans has to stop. Thanks to the money from television deals teams are locking up their impact players. The Yankees can’t rely on free agency and this is something Cashman has been working towards. In just a few short years he has retooled the farm system from the top on down and it is producing results. The Yankees could hasten that progress by selling off older veterans that serve the Yankees no purpose this year.
This division within the Yankees’ hierarchy has been a problem with the Yankees for quite some time. Remember when Cashman was given control of all baseball operations? Well that is obviously not true and he still has to deal with Levine and Hal butting their heads in on baseball decisions. If the Yankees want to get back to winning they need Cashman making all of the baseball decisions. Levine and company need to butt out and take Cashman’s recommendations as gospel otherwise the Yankees will flounder.
Trading Carlos Beltran, Chapman, and investigating trades for Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda, Mark Teixeira, Ivan Nova, and Chase Headley are musts for the Yankees. Not all will be traded but all have promising, or at least capable replacements, in the minor leagues. Outfielders Mason Williams (rehabbing now from a shoulder injury), Ben Gamel, Jake Cave, Tyler Austin, and Aaron Judge (when he recovers from his knee injury) are legitimate options right now. Gary Sanchez can replace McCann along with Austin Romine. Chad Green has shown some promise in the rotation. The only spot the Yankees don’t really have a replacement ready is third base but they could potentially acquire a third base prospect like Joey Gallo form the Texas Rangers in a trade or allow Rob Refsnyder another shot there.
Most Yankees’ fans want the team to sell. Levine, of course, doesn’t care. He has been tone-deaf to the wants and needs of the fans for years as evidenced by the Yankee Ticket Exchange and ridiculously high ticket prices for what has been an inferior product for the last few years.
There is one thing Levine and Hal must take into consideration and that is ratings. If the Yankees continue to struggle ratings will fall. However, ratings could go up with the introduction of some interesting prospects, either those in the system now or those acquired in trades. At least it would be more exciting than watching this dull Yankees’ team limp to an obvious finish.
It is time for Hal Steinbrenner to listen to his baseball people and only his baseball people. If he continues to allow Levine input into team decisions then Yankee baseball will continue to struggle. It is time for the Yankees to truly give Cashman the reigns and rebuild the Yankees into a winner.