If I’m the Steinbrenner boys, I would hit the free agency market in the off-season and throw a Brink’s-armored-tuck-load of money at the most coveted person out there. And I would give him a long-term contract, then, back off and let him do his thing.
To me, the most coveted person in baseball – and the guy who could really fix what ails the Bronx Geezers – is none other than Mr. Moneyball himself, Billy Beane.
The Oakland A’s general manager continues to astound with his ability to get the most out of the least. Imagine the damage he could do if he had the New York Yankees endless supply of money to throw around.
The Pinstripes’ current problems are the result of poor decisions by GM Brian Cashman and terrible performances by a scouting and player development staff that has whiffed more than Adam Dunn in recent years. The Yankes are in this pickle because of their inability to identify and develop talent the way they did in the 1990s when they harvested a bumper crop of players, including first-ballot Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and perennial All-Stars Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte.
The recent reacquisition of Alfonso Soriano was another desperation move. Yes, Soriano (17 homers, 51 RBI) will add some punch to an anemic lineup and provide much-needed protection for the Yankees only true hitting star, Robinson Cano. But Soriano is 37 years old, and like virtually every player on the current roster, he is on the other side of the hill.
And speaking of players over-the-hill, you have to wonder about Yankees ace CC Sabathia. The heretofore dependable lefty workhorse has yielded seven runs in three consecutive starts and leads the American League in hits and earned runs allowed. For the first time in his 13-year career, Sabathia is giving up more than a hit an inning (157 in 147). He’s only 33, but I’m beginning to wonder if he’s injured or the wear-and-tear of pitching has finally caught up to him.
If he can’t snap out of this, the Yankees will have a tough time finishing .500 this season. And, don’t forget, they are on the hook with Sabathia’s huge contract through 2016.
Which brings me back to Beane, who wisely eschews long-term contracts for pitchers. I don’t know if he would come, but it’s worth a shot. And if you can’t get him, there are Moneyball acolytes out there who recognize the true value of players and would love to say they were the architect who resurrected the most prestigious franchise in all of sports.***
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