New York Yankees: This Is Their “Rebuild”

The New York Yankees will never be in the cellar. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Yankees will never be in the cellar. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

You may not realize it, but the New York Yankees are going through their version of a “rebuild” and are finding ways to win ball-games and stay relevant all at the same time.

If I were to tell you that since May 4th the New York Yankees have been the best team in baseball with a fourteen and six record, would you believe me? Believe it or not, the 2016 Yankees are back to playing .500 ball for the first time since April 14th. After starting the year nine and seventeen, the team has battled back to a respectable twenty two and twenty two record. The Bombers are also eleven and four since the arrival of All Star closer, Aroldis Chapman.

The starting pitching and the bats have been exceptional during their six game winning streak, which happens to be their longest streak since June 1st of 2015. During the streak, the team is pitching to a 1.68 ERA with a .148 batting average against, and the offense is holding their own with 5.3 runs per game. Whatever the reason may be for the turnaround of the New York Yankees, the fact of the matter is that they stay relevant.

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General Manager Brian Cashman gets a ton of heat for the bad contracts he’s given out over the years but in spite of those, he has kept the team in the hunt every single season. While the Yankees wait for old contracts to expire in the likes of Mark TeixeiraAlex RodriguezCarlos Beltran and C.C. Sabbathia, they find ways to win.

Since Cashman has taken the general manager reigns in 1998, he has never had a losing season and has never dipped below the 84 win mark. It’s no secret that the Yankees have been in a transition phase over the last three seasons. If this were any other team in the league, they would have blew this entire operation to pieces two years ago and sold off all undesirable contracts similar to what the Boston Red Sox did in 2012 with Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez on their way to complete irrelevancy and a 69 win season. Of course, the next year they went on to win the World Series but there’s substantial evidence that all of the stars aligned for that World Championship to happen.

The next two seasons the Red Sox effectively fell back into their rebuild finishing twenty games under .500 in 2014, and 78 wins in 2015. The Sox are not the only example of a team that totally removed itself from contention in order to ensure a better future- That team is the beloved New York Mets.

The New York Mets had six straight losing seasons before getting defeated by the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series. A string of such bad baseball is not in the cards for the New York Yankees: “There are just different ways to climb the mountain,” Cashman said during a spring training interview before the season. “Sometimes there’s a long and winding road. But that road I’m not allowed to take.” When asked about the New York Mets pitching rotation and their rebuild he said they had to “walk through fire” to get where they are today, and he’s right.

While the Yankees aren’t making the post-season every year like they did in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s, they stay relevant. A new era of Yankees baseball could be soon approaching with a loaded 2018 free agent class, and a revamped farm system. Here are a few names set to be free agents in two years that could put the Yankees in contention almost instantly:

The Yankees will have most of their big money players off of the books, and that will make them heavy favorites to land one or possibly two of these stars.

Down in the farm, the Bombers have replacements for Teixeira, Beltran, and Sabathia once their deals expire. Right fielder and top prospect, Aaron Judge will start in 2017 as will first baseman, Greg Bird whom everyone got a sneak peek of last year when Mark Teixeira broke his leg. 2015 first round draft pick James Kaprielian was on the fast track to pitching in the majors before being shutdown with elbow inflammation. Good news for him is that he will begin a throwing program in the next fews days, and his mission to the majors will resume.

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There is a two year plan in place for the New York Yankees, and the fans will not have to endure a crummy rebuild to get there. Hate him or love him, Brian Cashman has kept the Yankees in contention throughout his tenure with the Yankees and there’s something to be said for that.