Not so long ago, the New York Yankees could be counted on to bid on the highest priced free agents. If you were a ballplayer or agent, you knew who’d pay top dollar. Even those who had no desire to play in New York would use them to drive up their price. There was no amount too much for George Steinbrenner. His son, Hal though, is changing all of that.
Yankees team-building of the past wasn’t just about acquiring free agents. Other teams, struggling to compete with so much tied into one player, could always look to the Yanks to dump payroll. Even in the days before free agency, this happened. Just look at the Yankees, and Kansas City A’s in the 1950’s and 60’s. Kansas City was like a second farm system for them.
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Now it seems as if those days are over as things are different. For the first time in a long time, the Yankees have a thriving farm system. Some have it ranked as high as number two in baseball. Amazingly, they accomplished that in a very short amount of time.
Instead of poaching other teams high priced talent, now the Bombers poach their prospects. The tables have been turned, alright. When the Yanks signed no free agents before 2016, that was a sign. So was the selling of high-priced veterans at last years’ trading deadline. This time, they were building for tomorrow.
Getting under the tax will allow the Yankees to add players while still operating responsibly.
The Yankees are going to try something next year they have never been able to do. That is, get under the luxury tax. For those who feel this is to prepare for signing a big name like Bryce Harper, forget it. Harper has mentioned wanting a deal in the $400 million neighborhood. That’s all fine and well for Bryce. Just let some other teams get suckered into it.
Getting under the tax will allow the Yankees to add players while still operating responsibly. Instead of paying one player an insane amount, they can spread it out. Use that money to plug any holes the team may have. Sometimes prospects take the time to develop and having some extra cash is good insurance. Plus, they may be buyers again at the deadline.
If prospects such as Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier pan out, there will be no need for high priced talent. The talent will have arrived with a much smaller price tag. General manager Brian Cashman has watched opposing organizations build a less expensive winner for far too long. This time he can prove he doesn’t need the excessive payroll.
The Yankees have changed, alright. They went from a team of aging, fading veterans, to a team of young, hungry prospects. Of course, these things take time. But when the plan finally comes to fruition, it’ll feel that much better.