Let’s travel back in time. We’re currently living in the early 1990’s and the Yankees have taken a new approach to winning. After trading Rickey Henderson in 1989. They did well drafting, and scouting. They worked on building a farm system. With key players in the farm system such as; Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte the Yankees were loading up to put themselves back on the map.
The Yankees then turned to free agency and the trade market to upgrade their team and fill in holes. They add fan favorite Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, and Scott Brosius over the years. Brosius would prove to be a fan favorite, and won the hearts of many Yankee fans. Especially, after he put together an MVP caliber season.
The Yankees had finally given their farm system a chance to flourish. Partly in thanks to George Steinbrenner being suspended. By 1993 the Yankees had already drafted all of the core four, and put together their first winning season in four years.
By 1995 the Yankees had a strong team capable of making a World Series run, but fell short to the Seattle Mariners. 1996 came and Derek Jeter was named the starting short stop. He would prove that was the right decision. Now, everybody knows the story of the core four and the great 90’s teams, so let’s look at why that relates to 2016.
2016 has proven to be a frustrating season for Yankees fans. Constant ups and downs, but they have been able to battle at the top of the American League while completely rebuilding their farm system. The Yankees completely rebuilt their team by trading three players due for free agency this season, and one elite relief pitcher signed for two more seasons.
The Yankees already a strong nucleus of talent nearing the majors. They had Sanchez, Severino, Judge, Austin, Bird, and others. This doesn’t include Mateo and other highly touted players that weren’t knocking on the MLB’s door. The question is when did this rebuild begin? It surely didn’t just start this season. The Yankees have already gotten younger. The answer to that question is after Derek Jeter’s final game. We all love Jeter and the entire core four, and Yankee fans every wept as he took his final at bats, but behind the scene the Yankees were ready to take a new approach.
The Yankees start the next season without a short stop for the first time since 1996, and instead of going and signing a high dollar contract. The Yankees make a three team deal, sending Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers, and acquiring Didi Gregorious. The Yankees had chosen the young short stop over the other expensive options.
The Yankees then used smart trades to benefit themselves, buying low and selling high on Chapman. Getting Starlin Castro for next to nothing. The Yankees were continuously getting younger in an effort to make themselves juggernauts for seasons to come.
Consider this, the Yankees last major free agent signing was Andrew Miller. The Yankees have spent almost no money, and have watched money come off the books, but remained patient. They also released Alex Rodriguez to allow young stars like Gary Sanchez to pick up at bats at the major league level.
The Yankees will not chase spendy pieces, or pursue trades that will deplete their farm system. Instead the Yankees will use the next two seasons to see what their farm system can provide. They can find out who is a player, and who isn’t. Then, in 2018 with a checkbook ready to make major investments the Yankees can fill in their holes with the best free agency class in the history of baseball.
Expect growing pains from the Yankees over the next few seasons, and that’s okay! Let the young kids get their feet wet in the majors. Allow the kids to continue to grow at the major league level.
The Yankees also have had a great year for break out players. Jonathan Holder and Jordan Montgomery are two of the most stand out, break out players of this season.
One thing is for certain the Yankees have gone down the right patch, and their future is brighter than ever. The pain that you feel over this season, and possibly the next will be well worth it on opening day in 2019. The Yankees are in the midst of creating the next great Yankee dynasty. Same winning tradition, same rich spirit, new team.