Yankees: MLB Owners Stole Year of NYY’s Window With Reckless 2020 Decision
By Adam Weinrib
MLB owners took a full, legitimate World Series chance away from the Yankees in 2020.
2020 was supposed to be the Yankees’ year.
Now, it belongs to ownership.
You can’t buy “2020 World Series Champions” hats in the MLB store featuring the visage of John Henry, Bill DeWitt, or Tom Ricketts, however. At the end of the truncated 2020 campaign, as will be mandated by Rob Manfred at the start of next week, pending an absolutely miraculous reversal, a champion of on-field talent will be crowned.
But for the rest of time, that title will be viewed with an asterisk the size of a Nationals fan’s swelled head, as he reminds you yet again that Washington was 19-31 in a small sample size in 2019 on their way to a championship. And the greed of a bad-faith ownership group is responsible for the Yankees’ legitimate championship window shutting one year early, at least 30-40 games flushed down the toilet in the name of billionaires’ pride.
The New York Yankees have MLB owners to blame for their 2020 season.
As Buster Olney wrote in the piece above, MLB has taken on a Jeff Luhnow-led Houston Astros mindset in its ruthless effieciency, cutting costs at every corner in an effort to streamline a product that angers the masses, but maximizes profit. That makes this yet another time when Luhnow’s Astros have trumped the Bronx Bombers, albeit on a league-wide scale.
As dominant as the Yankees have been in recent years, it doesn’t last forever. Every Jose Altuve series-ender that winds up in the Crawford Boxes ticks another year off the calendar, and brings New York closer to a precarious set of decisions that will determine whether this roster extends its window or watches it clatter shut. Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, and even Gio Urshela will someday command the same type of deal that tore Mookie Betts out of Boston, on sliding scales. New York already (wisely) chose to commit that level of cash to Gerrit Cole, who was supposed to be the final piece to the promised land for 2020, finally popping the last level of champagne for the Bombers.
So much for that.
Judge and Sanchez, a $100 million man himself, will be free agents following the 2022 season. Torres will hit the market after 2024. Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, currently luxury items, will be anchors in the pursuit of maintaining this core only a few seasons down the road.
And now, thanks to MLB owners, one of the precious few seasons in which Brian Cashman has control of Bulgari jewels on a cubic zirconium budget, has been rendered illegitimate. If the Yankees make use of the perfect storm this season, they’ll forever be the team that won the season everybody worked hard to prevent from existing. Suddenly, the year it was all supposed to come together has been the year that baseball, as a whole, fell apart.
The trophy will still exist, sure. But it might be used as a wedge to prop up a shaky window instead of a centerpiece. Like Rob Manfred said, it’s just a hunk of metal after all, right?