Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman had a choice to make. Sandy Alderson, the Mets General Manager, was faced with the same choice. They each went separate ways. Look where they are now.
The Yankees and the Mets have always been two peas from different pods. Their fan bases are divergent with the Mets being more suburban and the Yankees more inner-city. The ownership of each team has differing styles as well, with the Steinbrenner’s more flexible and willing to spend money to make money than the Wilpons who maintain a rigid, by today’s standards, eye on the budget.
Mets fans can recall the days when Casey Stengel would clown and entertain the writers and fans with his “Stengelese” answers to questions about his floundering team. To the questions that now come to Terry Collins about his injury-riddled team for which he has no answers, the Mets continue to stumble without falling, while edging ever closer to the abyss of embarrassment.
That’s bound to draw some criticism from Mets fans but look around at what’s become of the team that created so much excitement when the trio of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard were poised to take over the world of baseball. It wasn’t that long ago, was it?
And therein lies the point where Alderson went one way with his team while Cashman, albeit as a man with hindsight in seeing what happened with Alderson’s plan, went another route in constructing the 2017 New York Yankees.
The Yankees pave the way
They say that baseball is pitching, pitching, pitching. And it is, but only for as long as you have pitchers who don’t keep Dr. Andrews in business and can stay away from the disabled list. The story of the Mets is well known, and we don’t need to repeat it here.
And the Yankees, if they are not careful, could easily find themselves in a similar situation by the end of this season.
By definition, pitching defies what the human body is capable of normally doing. The human arm is not designed to throw a 96 mph slider or a four-seam 100 mph fastball 80-100 times in one night. And to repeat that over 30-35 starts is just asking for trouble. And that discounts all the extras that come with the playoffs.
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Brian Cashman, cognizant of what was going on in Queens, elected to follow an alternate path to build his team. Operating under the assumption that if you can score runs at a better than average clip in this league, you can win.
You still need pitching, but all you need is decent pitching. And if you find that you don’t have enough pitching, you can always find it if you look hard enough.
And so when you look at the Yankees starting staff, no one really blows you away. There’s no Clayton Kershaw, and there’s no Chris Sale. But instead, you have a revitalized Michael Pineda, and an “I’ll find a way to get you out” CC Sabathia.
And beyond that, you have a star in the making with Luis Severino, albeit someone who from time to time experienced some hiccups, a rookie trying to find his way in Jordan Montgomery, and a bona fide number one in Masahiro Tanaka.
Cashman makes his choice
Not bad. But notice one thing. When Cashman acted over the offseason, he brought in position players and not pitchers. Matt Holliday may still prove to be the Yankees most valuable player this season. And the other guy, Chris Carter, well, enough said about him, and hopefully when Tyler Austin returns he’ll be sent on his way. But the pattern is what is important.
And it’s not so much of a knock on Sandy Alderson as it is a pat on the back for Brian Cashman on a job well done. The Mets ran into a streak of bad luck, and it’s as simple as that.
But at the same time, they have reserved a place in hell for themselves by concentrating on pitching, in a time when pitchers seem to be as fragile as a slice of cake.
The bottom line in baseball is that you win when you score more runs than the other team. Yankees win, Mets lose. Or more precisely, Cashman wins, Alderson loses.