The New York Yankees’ minor league system has been a running joke within the baseball industry for quite some time. Make no mistake, nobody will ever mistake Brian Cashman and his lack of minor league development for Gene Michael, who rebuilt a depleted Yankees’ farm system and developed the “Core Four” plus some useful additional parts. One advantage the Yankees have over their hated rival, the Boston Red Sox right now, is that the Red Sox are on the verge of being knocked out of contention in 2014 once and for all. The Yankees with a series win Sunday night, could help control their own destiny at the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline.
Baseball America ranks the Sox’ minor league system as the second best in all of baseball, while the Bombers continue to struggle. The Yankees have several desirable prospects in the lower levels of the farm, but nothing appearing to be major league-ready any time soon. The last thing the Yankees need at this point, is to create competition for themselves, but laying down today, losing 2 of 3 to Boston, and giving the Red Sox the smallest inkling that they can get back into the AL East and Wild Card races. If the BoSox gain momentum from this series, and can get back within 3 or 4 games by the time the deadline rolls around, the Yankees will now have competition from another AL East rival to add with Toronto and Baltimore in their search for an impact starting pitcher and an impact bat.
The Red Sox have plenty of big league-talent to deal, but their hierarchy, led by Larry Lucchino and GM Ben Cherington need to determine whether a couple of big moves makes this team a World Series contender now. Or, do they wave the white flag, and look to next season, where their top notch minor league talent will be ready to compete for big league roster spots in spring training, 2015.
What more motivation do the Yankees need to not only continue to gain ground on first place Toronto and second place Baltimore, than to help put the final nails in the coffin of not only a defending World Series champion, but their most bitter rival in Beantown?