After another season of disappointment in the Bronx, the Yankees hierarchy are busy planning for the future, again. Their legion of fans don’t like losing and they are not good at it. Memories of their World Series win in 2009 are fading fast, but the hope is that it won’t be long before they are champions for a 28th time.
Next on the list of MLB champions is the St Louis Cardinals on 11 to emphasise the dominance the Yankees have, or rather had. In the past, all the Yankees had to do to win the World Series was splash the cash to bring the best players to the Big Apple. For years, they have led the league in payroll, but as their title drought shows, you can no longer buy success.
Success in baseball during the 21st century has more to do with analytics rather than the number of zeros included in a player’s contract. The 2011 movie ‘Moneyball’ starring Brad Pitt which is based on a true story, highlighted that. Other teams have not only caught up with the Yankees, but they overtaken the Pinstripes and left them behind.
Since the Yankees last won the World Series, the San Francisco Giants have won it three times but more frustratingly, their hated rivals, the Red Sox, have celebrated two titles in Boston, where the Yankees’ latest title hopes bit the dust. The Yankees hope 2022 is the year their drought comes to an end. But what do they have to do to get back to the top of baseball?
The issues facing the Yankees every off-season for the last 12 years cannot be fixed by throwing money at the problem. More often than not, the answers could be right under their noses. Teams have not been able to match the Yankees’ spending power, so they have invested in developing good young players.
Developing these players will not only save the team money, but if the process is done properly, then these young rising players can be the cornerstone of the team for years to come. The Yankees now know that short-term solutions to long-term problems are not applicable any more.
The money saved on developing the next generation of players can then be used on urgent trades if and when injuries strike during the regular season.
Baseball, like any sport, is simple. But more often than not, it becomes complicated the more people interfere. Those at the top of the hierarchy want their voices heard and what they are saying might not be the same as what the manager wants for the team.
Managers are employed for their knowledge and ability to build a successful team. Success does not happen overnight and if a strategy is put in place properly, the rewards can be reaped for many years to come. Aaron Boone has been in the role of Yankees manager since 2018, and the team has made the play-offs in each of those campaigns.
Before the 2021 season started, the Yankees were well fancied to represent the American League in the World Series, but their failure to get past the first round is the latest letdown for a franchise desperate for success.
Yankees fans demand the best. The best stadium, the best manager and more importantly, the best players. But it’s not as simple as signing the best players hoping they will transform the team’s fortunes.
Their additions have to improve the team as well as fit in with the culture of the clubhouse. New additions can cause disharmony if their attitude is not right which adds to the difficulty of finding the right players. A mid-season spat between Gerrit Cole and Brett Gardner did little to promote harmony within the Yankees clubhouse.
All areas of the Yankees lineup can be improved, but a trade to the Yankees brings pressure unique to any other team. Expectation levels are higher than they are at any other team and some players struggle to cope with playing in the Big Apple for a demanding fanbase as theirs.
None of the current Yankees roster knows what it's like to win the World Series for the Pinstripes so any new arrivals with experience of winning a title would certainly make them stronger.
The Yankees used to be the team others aspired to be and their success was a blueprint for others to follow. Now it’s them who need to close the gap and follow the lead from other clubs.