Monday, March 31, 2008

The High Price of Patience

I regrettably agree with John Harper's theme in his article today about the Yanks and their reliance on the young arms this season. According to Harper and his conversations with scouts around baseball who have seen the Yanks this Spring, it seems likely that the Yanks will miss the post-season this year and the decision to not trade for Johan will be often second-guessed. I can't say I disagree, however painful it might be in the short term.

I try to maintain a long term view for the Yanks. They are not, unlike the smaller market teams, tied to a narrow window before their best players "graduate". Those smaller market studs tend to graduate to teams like the Yanks. If the Yanks have to take a post-season pause this year to set themselves up for another 5-7 year stretch of prosperity, so be it.

Each of the six [scouts] polled made a point of saying they were impressed by the way the young trio performed in spring training, yet four of the six said they believe the Yankees indeed will miss the playoffs in 2008, citing the inevitable growing pains as well as questions about the rest of the pitching staff.

"I love their future," was the way one scout put it. "But if you think those young guys aren't going to take their lumps at times this season against American League lineups, you're dreaming."
Again, it will be a bitter pill to swallow if the Yanks are home in October, the first time in 13 years, but it happens. The RedSox missed the playoffs between titles recently and they are better off for it, it seems, having a deep farm system along with the financial wherewithall to make any move they seemingly wish. And I don't think the RSN panicked. We shouldn't either. I've often joked "In Cashman We Trust" and while Hank's itchy trigger finger does concern me, I know Cashman has our long term health in mind when he makes, or doesn't make a deal.

"Hey, I applaud Cashman for wanting to do it this way," one executive said. "I think those young guys will make it pay off in the long run, but I think they'll take a step back this year. There's always a price to pay for showing patience."

It's a price the Yankees rarely are willing to pay. As such it's the reason the Santana question will hover all season.

The fun thing about the Yanks this year is that they are NOT the team to beat. They are not solely a bunch of older mercenary types. They are again homegrown guys who we can grow with and root for. And if those kids can continue to develop, maybe we'll be surprised. And for me, that's the element that's been missing for so many years. It seems as if making the playoffs brought a sense of relief rather than joy. I'm looking forward to that joy rather than relief. A playoff invite and progression would certainly bring back that joy.

Of course, bowing out in the first round would flat-out suck.

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