Can the Yankees avoid the missteps of the Red Sox and Mariners?
The Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox were born in the formative years of modern baseball, and the history of the sport begins in earnest with their first World Series title in 1903.
But they started their current rebuild in 2014, the first year Cano played for the Mariners. It began, however, against a much better backdrop: Boston won the 2013 World Series. As soon as they did, this model franchise in the new millennium made the bold and prudent decision to tear down and rebuild.
They knew DH David Ortiz was going to retire sooner rather than later, but 2B Dustin Pedroia was only going to be 30, young enough to build a new team around.
And so they went from a 100 win season in ’13 to one of 71 wins in ’14, and the first of two last-place finishes in the AL East. But the overhaul showed enough promise to keep going while suggesting the areas of concern.
Hope and Help
Part-time up and coming stars from 2013 took over full-time roles in 2014. Meanwhile, the next wave got their feet wet.
CF Jackie Bradley Jr., 3B Brock Holt and SS Xander Bogaerts all played limited roles on that championship club, while RF Mookie Betts, LF Yoenis Cespedes, and C Christian Vazquez saw their first significant playing time in 2014.
Young everyday players and stars looked like they were emerging around the diamond. Their farm was also strong, including two top-25 prospects in number 20 LHP Henry Owens and number 24 C Blake Swihart.
The problem was the current pitching staff. In 2014, once promising ace RHP Clay Buchholz was the youngest among the four pitchers who started at least 20 games for Boston; he was also their worst. Clay ended the season with 28 starts, the most on the staff, and an ERA of 5.34.
The rest of the four was made up of 30-year old and unhappy Jon Lester (2.52), the ancient and inconsistent 35-year old John Lackey (3.60), and the fair to middlin’ 33-year old Jake Peavy (4.22).
Boston had every reason to look at their organization and feel they had enough position players to build around. They needed to focus on adding front-line starters.
And so the front office began to make moves.