Just the other day I was thinking how great it would be if the ghost of the Boss visited Brian Cashman every offseason just like the ghost of Jacob Marley visited Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. And given today’s news that the Yankees’ offices have already closed for the holidays – a full two days before Christmas – I figure a supernatural visit is pretty much inevitable now. (Sidenote – I know someone who worked in Yankees player development in the late ‘90s and he once told me that working for the Yankees is a 364-day a year job. At the time I wondered if this was simply a colorful baseball tale about working for the Boss. Apparently not.)
So what is Brian Cashman likely to see when the clock strikes 1 and the Ghost of Christmas Past appears at his bedside? Probably visions of Yankees past similar to those that we saw in take place in Anaheim earlier this month. But instead of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson sporting their brand new Angels jerseys, Cashman will see a himself (a more youthful version), the Boss, and maybe even Joe Torre. All will be beaming as they help CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira into their brand new jerseys. (And if he looks really close during the A-Rod scene, he might even see that famous Jeter scowl at the side of the stage.) And the soundtrack to the whole thing will be a chorus of reporters and ESPN analysts emphasizing that the Yankees are single-handedly ruining baseball with their magical checkbook.
Before Cashman can even recover from the joy of reminiscing over these past signings, the clock will strike 2 and the Ghost of Christmas Present will appear. With him he will bring Eduardo Nunez (NunEEEEEEEE) and A.J. Burnett. (Burnett is quickly becoming the star of this ghostly show.) The Ghost of Christmas Present will say “this is your future shortstop and your current Number 2/3 starter, Brian. Do they look like the next Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte to you?” At which point Cashman will pull the covers up tightly under his chin and yell “I believe in A.J.! And so do the fans! Didn’t you see how they all changed their Twitter avatars for Game 4 of the ALDS?!”
And just as quickly as he appeared, the Ghost of Christmas Present will be gone, making way for the clock to strike 3 and the final ghost to appear. But unlike the traditional depictions of the Ghost of Christmas Future, this ghost will not be draped in black robes. Instead his fingers will bear World Series rings (none depicting the famous interlocking NY) and he will be drenched in champagne (none of which will have burned the eyes of Yankees players as it was sprayed willy-nilly around the clubhouse). The Ghost of Christmas Future won’t speak to Cashman (he never speaks) but he will show Cashman his future self handing A.J. Burnett the last paycheck of his $82.5M contract in 2013. And he will guide Cashman through flashes of World Series celebrations: the Angels, the Rangers, and … oh, the horror, the Cubs!
“But how can this be Spirit?” Cashman will ask, sobbing, once he is safely back in his bedroom. “We’re the Yankees for God’s sake, and our fans expect us to win!” And then Cashman will glance at the framed picture of the Boss on his bedside table* and have his epiphany: “I know what we must do! We must trade our young prospects and gamble on high priced free agents, just as we always have! Also, I suddenly have the urge to fire people at random…”
And so, just as Ebeneezer Scrooge came to realize the true meaning of Christmas, Brian Cashman will once again come to realize the true meaning of the offseason. He will scurry around wrapping presents: a case of Marlboro’s for Hank Steinbrenner, boxed DVD sets of soap operas for John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, and the newest, most state-of-the-art cell phone for Joba Chamberlain so he can tweet all the easier. And right after he packs up the Christmas goose to take to Randy Levine’s house for dinner, he will throw open the shudders and yell, “Who will give me a starting pitcher for Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances?”
*I can’t validate the fact that Cashman has a framed picture of George Steinbrenner on his bedside table.