On Thursday March 29, 2018 the New York Yankees will begin their quest to complete a mission that was instilled in the organization since 1973. In 1973 “The Boss” Mr. George M Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees from CBS. The mission that “The Boss” instilled more so mandated was Winning. “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next. “The Boss” believed that winning above all else on the baseball field was most important and He did not hesitate to invest in his team.
The Yankees as an organization have had unparalleled levels of success having finished better than a .500 winning percentage in every season since 1993. Over that span the Yankees have won 2,320 games. The mission statement was made clear Win Win Win. Since that 1993 season the Yankees have also won five World Series championships (two more titles than the next closest teams who tied at three titles a piece are the SF Giants, Boston Red Sox). The Yankees never relented always pursuing the title, always pushing forward after what “The Boss” deemed most important.
That was until the Summer of 2016, the Yankees pivoted doing something that had not been done in New York since “The Boss” brought the team a “Sell-Off” was underway. The Yankees and their General Manager and Senior Vice President Brian Cashman took the opportunity to trade some veteran players to teams that were more so contenders than they were at the time to “Re-Tool” the team for the future. They parted ways with Designate Hitter Alex Rodriguez, first baseman Mark Teixiera announced he would retire at years end. Leading to the team changing course, changing to a more youthful approach. A team made up of “Home Grown” talent, a chance for the team to give their younger players a chance to play and develop. Giving GM Brian Cashman an opportunity to show off his brilliance and wizardry in making deals with the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. All to supplement a farm system that was beginning to develop that talent that could be it’s next great dynasty.
The Yankees continue player above .500 baseball in 2016 finishing with a 84-78 record. So going into 2017 the Yankees were believed to be a ball club that was “Rebuilding”. A ball club that wasn’t expected to truly compete. A team that was said to maybe fight for third place in the division. A team that maybe could have tried to stay in the battle for the second Wildcard spot into late September before succumbing to inexperience and not making the playoffs. Well just another reason that as Yankees Radio voice John Sterling would say “You can’t predict baseball Suzyn.” The 2017 Yankees became a feel good story because you had a team that wasn’t expected to succeed, suddenly dominating the baseball world in the first half of the season. They were lead by the eventually unanimous Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge and his record setting rookie campaign. Along with Gary Sanchez who even missing significant time in the season had a dominate year from the most demanding position on the field (catcher). As well as a man who finished third in the Cy Young voting behind Kluber and Sale which was Luis Severino. This team was a team unlike the “Evil Empire” teams of the late 90’s and early 2000’s they was praised and applauded. They built from within from the draft, and through trades and the international market. Their best players came from their system or under the radar trades like the 3 team trade that brought in a guy who is now a huge fan favorite in Didi Gregorious. They played like a little league team with fun and excitement, something that they Yankees teams of the past several seasons just didn’t seem to do. The fans, the city, the league even embraced this team. They had fun and it showed.
However, what was even more apparent than the fun the team was having was that they were winning ball games. They were pushing to a playoff spot which lead GM Brian Cashman to help supplement the team making trades to bring in Sonny Gray from Oakland, David Robertson & Tommy Kahnle (Former Yankees) and also the NJ native Todd Frazier. These additions fit right in with the fun and loose atmosphere the team had going on. It carried on with them into the playoffs from the Thumbs Down Movement to the Toe-Night Show the 2017 New York Yankees were a feel good story. Ultimately however they came up a little bit short in accomplishing the mission that was set forth by “The Boss” so many years ago. They fell one game short of reaching the World Series.
And so began the reorganization for the Yankees, starting with making a managerial change and after 10 seasons at the helm Joe Girardi’s term as manager was not renewed. Thus began the search for a new manager, and former Yankees third baseman with no managerial experience who has spent the last eight seasons in the booth calling games for ESPN, Aaron Boone was named the new manager of the New York Yankees. But Cash didn’t stop there, taking advantage of several expiring big money contracts and some payroll flexibility Brian Cashman was able to swing a deal with the Miami Marlins to bring in to the fold the 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton coming off a 59 homerun campaign and winning the NL MVP (first MVP award in Marlins history), Stanton adds even more fire power to the games most powerful lineup. In 2017 the Yankees hit 241 homeruns and now they bring in a guy who clearly has 60 potential now that he will be hitting in the more friendly confines of Yankee Stadium than what was the cavernous valley know as Marlins Park. The Yankees also agree to terms to bring back veteran and clubhouse leader CC Sabathia on a 1 year $10m deal. CC helps stabilize their starting rotation as well as being able to provide some guidance to a team with a lot of younger players.
This team is poised and no longer seem as the scrappy little underdog squad anymore. After only one season where the team was supposed to be “Rebuilding” the Yankees are back in the drivers seat of the AL East. They are once again the hunted, once again the moniker that was given to them by the Boston Media in their last dynastic run of the late 90’s and early 2000’s is back. The “Evil Empire” has returned, the sleeping giant has awoken. The team is poised to go on another run of excellence. However, we have to temper our expectations as Yankees fans, because this team is different than the late 90’s one, the league is different than it was at that time as well. In order to succeed in the MLB in 2018 and beyond the Yankees have taken the right first steps. But they have to continue making the right decisions. Looking for the right deals, and knowing when to pull the trigger on a deal. Cash has shown us over the past couple of seasons he has a plan. So as the Yankees head into this upcoming year of 2018, as they head into their campaign down the “Road to 28” and beyond the future looks bright. The Yankees turned over an old and un-athletic roster into one of the most dynamic young teams in baseball with more reinforcements on the way. Having a young team ready to compete for a World Series in 2018 and having more talent in the minors ready to contribute when called upon. The 2018 campaign will surely be one to watch for all Yankees fans.