Would missing the playoffs be a good thing for the Yankees?
That seems like a stupid question since the Yankees model of success is built upon putting a winner on the field and making the playoffs every season. The added revenue from making the playoffs is significant and when you consider they have made it every year but once since 1995, that added revenue is substantial. However, the way this team has played this season, I believe major changes are needed this offseason and perhaps missing the post-season will push ownership into making those changes. The only time this club missed the playoffs in the last 17 years (2008), ownership responded by spending over $400 Million on 3 big Free Agents that led to a World Series the following year.
While I don’t think the team will spend like that this Winter no matter what, a failure to make the playoffs could lead ownership to make a change at GM and/or Manager. Those are the 2 guys directly responsible for the old, slow and one-dimensional offense and the old team that is limping to the finish-line. Cashman built this veteran team and had only 2 players on it whose games weren’t built on the HR – Gardner & Nunez. Gardner was injured in April and never adequately replaced until over-the-hill Ichiro was obtained in late July. Nunez was banished to the minors early in the year despite hitting .294 and leading the team with 6 SBs. Cashman never replaced the youthful energy and speed those 2 players brought to the team and instead patched holes by giving expanded roles to the likes of Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez. The guys he did bring in were all veteran journeyman types like McGehee, Pearce & Nix. Cashman has to take the fall for not bringing in better replacements and for not having adequate replacements at the AAA level. Everyone knew this team had to get more dynamic, yet he did nothing to help it.
Nearly all of Cashman’s trades since the Swisher deal in 2008 have been busts. Despite preaching every year about getting younger and more athletic he has assembled a team that is the very antithesis of that – an old, slow, boring club. He has traded away most of the players that would be the core of the team now. And the few young pieces he has maintained, Girardi does not use or they are jerked around. Nunez was sent down and now that he’s back up sits on the bench. How many times has David Phelps been jerked from starter to reliever, reliever to starter, minors to majors, etc. Phelps has been one of the few bright spots this year and just threw a huge game in Boston to keep the team tied for 1st place. Unfortunately for him, he’ll be back in the bullpen from here on out as Andy Pettitte returns to once again try to save this team.
Pettitte saved Cashman from the brutal Pineda situation and Freddy Garcia‘s awful April. He will now attempt to come back early from a broken ankle to save the team again. And that has been the theme of this season. The old veterans like Andy and especially Derek Jeter have managed to somehow keep this team afloat and probably save the jobs of Cash & Girardi. But should their efforts overshadow the poor team Cashman has assembled and all of the ridiculous decisions and indecisiveness from Girardi? I think not and believe this team needs to make changes this Winter. Ideally, ownership will make the changes even if they do slip in the playoffs but if it takes missing the post-season to see real change, I’ll accept that. Does anyone truly believe this team can win the World Series anyway? They are 10-15 since August 15th and have not won back to back games during that span. Despite their impressive romp through the National League in June, they have been no better than a .500 team.
So while I will never root against the team to win and hope they somehow win the division and the World Series, I am tired of the current regime and will accept missing the playoffs if that will bring the change I believe is needed? What do the rest of you think? Do the Yanks really have a chance at the WS this year? And do you believe in the current management team of Cashman & Girardi to lead this team into the future?