I am quite tired of Cashman and co. pleading for “patience.” This off-season, the team could not make upgrades because of the budget … and I understand that. I questioned, and will continue to question, the logic of signing Ichiro Suzuki instead of Russell Martin, but I understand why Nick Swisher had to walk.
And then the injuries came, and Vernon Wells was the best that the Yankees could do. This move was doomed from the start … but it was cheap, and didn’t have much impact on the budget, so I suppose there isn’t much reason to complain.
And then more injuries came. And ineffectiveness. And catcher after catcher after catcher hit waivers, with some even reaching free agency, and nary a nibble from the Yankees. Were any of these catchers world beaters? Absolutely not. Would they represent an upgrade over Messrs Stewart and Romine? Absolutely.
And then Alfonso Soriano came, and it was once more the best they could do. The team gave up a good prospect for him, as a team bidding against itself for Soriano’s services, to make a move that countless people were pushing for before ‘Vernon Wells’ was ever a nightmare clawing at the back of the fanbase’s collective eyes. This was set to be the first move of at least a few, and once more Cashman asked for patience.
And then the deadline came and went, with the Yankees standing pat. The market was barren, according to Cashman … and it would be difficult to argue otherwise. Obvious trade candidates like Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz, Nate Schierholtz, and Mike Morse stayed put for whatever reason and, while I wonder if legitimate offers were ever made, it seems clear that the cost was at least semi-prohibitive.
And now we’ve come full circle, hoping that Curtis Granderson comes back and hits like Curtis Granderson. Hoping that Derek Jeter regains the step he appears to be missing. Hoping that something pops up at the August 1st waiver deadline that wasn’t available yesterday. Patience.
As a fan that is in favor of rebuilding (either over a couple of year, or on the fly a la the Red Sox), I am not upset that the Yankees did not deal something of value for a bandage for the remainder of 2013. As such, this all may seem a bit hypocritical – but I assure you, it is not. I would like to see Cashman or someone take some sort of responsibility for the mess that is 2013, without blaming things beyond their control. The team willfully downgraded this off-season, and selected to stay the course when all reason and logic suggested that help may never truly be on the way. I would like to see someone step forward and explain the blatant disconnect between Cashman and those above him. After all, Cashman has done a wonderful job of passing the buck on Ichiro, Wells, and Soriano, likely hoping that nobody will realize that those three will count $14.5 MM against the cap next season – or $6 MM more than Martin, or roughly the same as Swisher.
My frustration is essentially this – there is no clear direction for this team. And that is frustrating – perhaps the most frustrating thing imaginable, with respect to my personal fandom. It isn’t ‘win now at any cost,’ which is good. But it isn’t really ‘build for the future,’ or ‘replenish the team for next year,’ or … anything, so far as I can tell. It’s patch and patch and hope fans buy the company lines about patience and waiting for things to get better. Three of the team’s five starting pitchers are free agents after this year. Mariano Rivera will be gone. Alex Rodriguez will likely be gone (for the better, perhaps, but the hole at third base remains very glaring). Boone Logan may be gone. Robinson Cano may be gone. Granderson may be gone. Mark Teixeira may never be the same. Derek Jeter will be 40. They still won’t have a catcher. And the best players on the farm are at least one more full season away from helping at the MLB level.
Yes – a great deal of this may well be mitigated by the potential of Rodriguez’s contract coming off the books, at least to some degree. And, yes, this is all coming to a head because the team appears to be infected with some airborne injury virus. Yet it seems likely that all of these issues would have cropped up eventually, and you need look no further than Philadelphia to see how quickly being overly reliant on an aging roster can turn disastrous.
And the front office’s explanation of all of this? Everything is beyond their control, and we just have to be patient. All I want is some semblance of direction. And we aren’t getting that.