Bomber Bites With Jumping Joe–Yankees Don’t Know When to Fold Them
The old Kenny Rogers song about playing poker remarks that a good player “knows when to hold them and when to fold them; knows when to walk away and when to run.” Looking at the 2014 season, it is clear that the Yankees and Red Sox were both dealt terrible hands, but while the Red Sox folded at the trade deadline, the Yankees went all-in. hoping for a card on the river. The Yankees could have folded and set themselves up for next year and beyond as did the Red Sox, acquiring Allen Craig, Joe Kelly, Yoenis Cespedes and some prospects for Stephen Drew, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront. The Yankees conversely took on free agents to be Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy, Chris Capuano and Drew, and acquired Martin Prado in hopes of energizing this team to the playoffs.
The optimistic hopes of a final postseason appearance for Derek Jeter appear dead in the water in the second week of September. The Yankees started their final stretch of 21 games in 20 days to end the season with a sloppy 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. A combination of injuries and underperformance of their hitting stars and all around inconsistent play has led to a season of mediocrity on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.
This outcome, however, was hardly unforeseen. There were doubts of whether this team was capable of making the playoffs even before the season started. The Bombers were an old team, trying to replace one legend (Mariano Rivera), while giving another (Jeter) one last hurrah, and they played like a team whose best years were behind them. There was no rollercoaster ride this season of long winning streaks or long losing streaks. The Yankees simply won 3, lost 2, won 1, lost 3, won 4, lost 1 for the entire season. Never playing very well or very poorly for long. This was not a team gathering momentum and deserving of an all-in approach to player acquisition.
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The 2014 Yankees were a team on a ledge all season, teetering between a very bad team and a very good team. Realistically, there was a 50/50 chance of them getting their act together and making the playoffs, or succumbing to injuries and lack of timely hitting and finishing fourth in AL East. The Yankee front office bet on the team just needing a little push to make the playoffs. As the season winds to a close, it appears they lost that bet.