3 teams Yankees can blame for Astros’ sustained dominance

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 07: Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Michael Brantley #23 after hitting a two run home during the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on June 07, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 07: Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Michael Brantley #23 after hitting a two run home during the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on June 07, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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Why be mad at the Houston Astros for cheating when you can redirect your attention to other boneheaded MLB teams that made them even better, New York Yankees fans? The cheating has an expiration date (we think), after all.

As the Bombers gear up for a four-game weekend series against their hated AL rival, it’s a waste of time to focus energy on the past … but maybe it’s not a bad idea to use these bits of information as fuel for New York to crush other opposition that’s helped the Astros maintain their success for so long.

The most hated members of the Astros’ core (Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yuli Guerriel) were drafted or plucked via international free agency, but much of the rest of the roster was acquired through other means and with the help of boneheaded decisions.

Admittedly, the Yankees have benefitted from pilfering other franchises across baseball, but the Astros doing it just makes it all the worse … especially when they managed to out-smart arguably the best in the game.

We’re undoubtedly vibing for a Yankees series win as we’re set to kick things off, but if things go south, don’t forget to take your anger out on these three other teams who put the Astros in a position to sustain success.

The Yankees should be furious at these teams for helping the Astros sustain success

Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

3. Cleveland Guardians (well, in this instance, the “Indians”)

After the 2018 season, the Cleveland “Indians” were coming off three straight playoff appearances, one of which resulted in a World Series berth. Outfielder Michael Brantley was among the driving forces in their offense alongside Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.

That offseason, Brantley was a free agent, and it was simply assumed he’d be leaving. Why? We’re not sure. Over the last decade or so, the Guardians have failed to put together a competent outfield, which is the deepest position in the sport. Don’t ask us why! It’s just been the case.

So you’d think they would’ve made it a priority to keep Brantley, an outfielder, especially since the then-32-year-old wasn’t exactly in line for a long-term contract. Nope! Instead, they let him waltz to Houston on a weak two-year, $32 million contract, which actually perfectly aligned with Cleveland eventually blowing up their roster after the 2020 season.

Brantley has remained a force over the last four seasons. In Houston, he’s hit .308 with an .836 OPS and 126 OPS+. He’s been an aggressive contact lefty bat that’s helped the Astros’ offense hum along. If he’s not there, a lot of other guys don’t see pitches.

Why the Guardians couldn’t have forked over a measly $32 million to keep their window of contention slightly propped open, we’ll never know (unless he didn’t want to stay, but there’s no knowledge of that explicitly).