Can the Yankees avoid the missteps of the Red Sox and Mariners?

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Fishing for Offense

Ackley got 502 AB’s that season and hit .245/.293/.398 with fourteen home runs, not great for a corner outfielder. Zunino got over 400 AB’s and batted just .199. Smoak, a part-time player already, hit .202.

When you trade your best assets, you have to get good-to-great players in return; Smoak was shipped out of town after 2014. It’s never a good sign in a supposed championship run when a team starts trading building blocks because they haven’t worked out.

The owners kept their push going and for 2015 brought in home run king Nelson Cruz. He was supposed to form one of the most devastating middle of the orders, along with Cano, and push the Mariners into first place in their very winnable division, and deep into the playoffs.

And Cruz delivered: Nelson slashed .302/.369/.566 with 44 HR’s in 2015. Cano played well but not at the superstar level the Mariners were hoping, and paying, for (.287/.334/.446, 21 homers).

But again the real problem was that the young players continued to disappoint. Zunino batted .174/.230/.300 in 2015; Logan Morrison had split time with Smoak the year before and so got 457 AB’s in 2015; he hit .225/.302/.383.

Ackley was now a part-time player and hit .215, while Montero hit .223. As the year went along each of them was replaced by an older rental. By the end of the season, there were so many that the team looked more like a mercenary squad than a burgeoning dynasty.

The final nail in the coffin for that season was that the pitching regressed. Only two of their most active six starters had ERAs below 4.14, and even King Felix added 1.39 to his ERA from the previous year, finishing with a still very good 3.53.