In July, the Yankees did what we all knew should have happened a few years ago. They traded Major League talent for young help. Specifically, Aroldis Chapman, who was acquired for dirt-cheap in the offseason, turned into SS prospect Gleyber Torres. Andrew Miller was signed for 4 years/$36 million before 2015. Many in baseball laughed at that kind of money for a setup man. Yet, the Yankees flipped him and what is now described as a team-friendly contract for their best prospect, Clint Frazier and top 10 young’in Justus Sheffield. Finally, Carlos Beltran was turned into 2015 #4 draft pick Dillon Tate.
Still need proof of a youth movement? Three of the top 10 Yankees prospects were acquired at the deadline. Two others, Blake Rutherford and James Kapriellian, were 2016 and 2015 first round draft picks, respectively. Two more of the names on the list, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, have recently made their MLB debuts. Judge, Austin, and Sanchez have all put on power displays. Gary has been great behind the plate and is on a home run tear right now. Seeing these young guys, many a Yankee fan want to see Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner traded, as well.
Whoever has been saying that, you are dead wrong. You simply cannot win a World Series, the Yankees’ ultimate goal, with a bunch of 20-somethings with no experience. Those 2014 Royals came oh-so-close, but as George Steinbrenner would have said, close does not cut it. Let’s take Ellsbury for example. He was called up in late 2007 and was part of the Red Sox’ World Series run. In 2013, his final year with the club, Ellsbury bookended his Red Sox career by capturing another title. He can teach these kids how to stay calm, and in the moment during the playoffs. Next, look at Gardy. He is all you want from a ballplayer. When is the last time you saw Brett Gardner on a baseball field giving less than 100%? Never. He has won four Heart and Hustle awards with the Bombers and was part of their 2009 Championship. Now, if you will let me look way back, let’s take a peek at that 1996 Championship team that was honored this past weekend.
Off the top of your head, you can name the biggest stars- the Core Four, Bernie Williams,Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez. How about Mariano Duncan, does his name ring a bell? It sure should- he was the starting second baseman and batted .406 at Yankee Stadium that year. Remember Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden, who won the title a decade earlier with the Mets? How about David Coneand Cecil Fielder? I could go on and on.
The point is, if this 2016 team gets rid of all its veterans, the young stars will have no chance to ascend to stardom like Jeter, Pettitte, Posada, Rivera, and Bernie. While the young guys will be the main attraction, think of the veterans as the glue holding them together.