Yankees Identity Crisis
By Tyler Angelo
In a few surprise moves at the end of Day 1 of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, the Chicago White Sox revamped their team. In doing so they became the second AL team to outspend the New York Yankees and beat them at their own game. First the Boston Red Sox shelled out millions and signed two of the top free agent bats in Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez as the Yanks sat idly by. Since there are two Sox in a pair, the White Sox stole free agent target David Robertson and traded for Jeff Samardzija. They also signed a club house leader in Adam LaRoache prior to the Winter Meetings. The Yankees were left scratching their head as they watched their 2014 closer, who converted 39 of 44 saves, get scooped out from under their nose.
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Earlier in the day reports of the Yankees going up to four years in their offer to try and get closer to the demands of Robertson had came out. However, they were refusing to go near the $50-million he desired. He was looking for a deal similar to Jonathan Papelbon‘s four years, $50-million and the White Sox took advantage of the Yankees’ hesitation. Their talks quickly became a formal offer in which Robertson couldn’t refuse, a four year, $46-million dollar contract.
Remember the good old days when the Yankees would buy anyone and everything that would help them win a championship? The calm, cool, and collective approach of the front office this off-season is something we are not used to seeing. For example, consider the 2008-2009 free agency when the Yankees bought A.J. Burnett, C.C. Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira. Also, who can forget last season when the Yankees threw being cheap out of the window and bought Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and gave Brett Gardner an extension. It is what they do! We are known for going out and buying the big names and it is what gave us the nickname “The Evil Empire.” It seems this season that we have lost our way.
Brian Cashman is using leverage and the Yankee symbol rather than money as a means of negotiations this season. His pitch worked on the first big splash for the Yankees in Andrew Miller who reportedly turned down $4-million more from the Houston Astros to play in the Bronx. It seems that his charm wasn’t enough to sway Robertson though. However, the signing of Miller helped prepare the Yanks for the possible loss of Robertson. Miller and Dellin Betances can both close or set up which gives the Yankees options.
The Yankees are also discussing trade with the loss of Robertson. They have reportedly discussed Craig Kimbrel with the Atlanta Braves and Steve Cishek with the Miami Marlins. They also contacted the Kansas City Royals about Greg Holland and Wade Davis. The Yankees may be looking for teams with big name relievers who will not be able to re-sign them because of the big contract demands. However, you have to wonder what there is to offer from our system.
Let’s hope this identity crisis does not hurt them any further.