Yankees fans beware, GM Brian Cashman has basically already conceded next season to the Red Sox. The Yankees big splash signing of these Winter meetings so far has been a one-year deal for $13 million with an aging Matt Holliday. More of the temporary plug-gap stuff the Yankees have done in recent seasons as they wait for their youth movement philosophy to bear fruit.
According to the Daily News, when Cashman heard about Boston's trade for Chris Sale, he said it reminded him of Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, creating a Super Team.
Have the mighty Yankees so easily embraced being second-best after so many seasons of being the flagship, winningest, richest franchise?
Who’s running this show?
Is Cashman the same young, hungry GM who led the Yankees to multiple championships and perennial playoff appearances, and was also a bulldog at getting a superstar player to come to NY? Is he the same big-city exec who once rivaled Theo Epstein as the greatest young architect in the game?
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While Epstein became a curse-breaking legend in Boston and then did it again this season with the World Champion Chicago Cubs, Cashman has become a product and prisoner of a Yankees franchise that has flipped the script and put winning second to hoarding wealth.
Sounds like Cashman is letting Yankees fans know ahead of time to temper their hopes and enthusiasm for this season.
"If we're the NBA, we're in the pack of contenders looking to take Golden State down," Cashman said.
He has no problem with saying Boston is a better franchise right now and it's unlikely the Yankees can compete with their arch-enemy this season.
“I think where Boston certainly is sitting currently and where we're currently sitting, we're on different time frames," he said. "Our efforts are to be the best we can possibly be, but with a strong mind for the future."
With Boston already loaded and looking to defend its AL East title, adding Sale to a rotation that features Black Ace David Price and 2016 AL Young winner Rick Porcello pretty much gives them the strongest starting rotation in the American League and three potential 20-game winners.
"That's a big one," Cashman said of the deal that includes the Red Sox sending four prospects to the White Sox for the lefthanded ace. "That's a blockbuster. It was a 'Wow.' Obviously they gave up a lot and they got a lot. Boston's like the Golden State Warriors now in baseball; they've got their Durant, their Green, Thompson and Curry. It's a big one."
Sale — who is under contract for three more seasons and $38 million — would have been a great addition for the Yankees who need an elite ace in the worst way.
For a moment, it appeared as if Sale was going to the Nationals, but with the Yankees publicly waving a white flag in December, Boston is going for the jugular.
Cashman let us know months ago that with the way the Yankees are currently constituted and focused on finances and retaining their top prospects, that he was not in a position to acquire a player such as Sale, who would have cost the Yankees a number of the top-level gems.
"I've talked to the Chicago White Sox about a number of their different players, but the Sale price tag, you were going to have to ring a bell," Cashman said. "We're not prepared to back the truck up and get the one player left that you might need. We're going in the right direction and building toward something, but it will take a little time."
Cashman is still poking around for players,as evidenced by the Yankees agreeing to terms on a five-year, $86-million contract on Wednesday night with Aroldis Chapman, the largest deal ever for a relief pitcher. But despite that financial outlay, he’s made it clear that the George Steinbrenner, pre-recession free agent sweepstakes show is over.
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"From the chair I sit in, you make sure you have to honestly evaluate yourself, what your strengths are, what your areas of deficiency are, and how long it's going to take to address all of them in a proper way," Cashman said. "Certainly we look to speed up that process at all times, but it's not something that one move is going to wipe away all our needs.
"Backing the truck up and unloading the best of what you've got, when the dust settles, you still would have other areas of need to fill potentially in the short or longer term," Cashman said. "You've been depleted by doing that. I just don't think you're in as good a position. We're trying to get back to the point where we are formidable and set up for both short and long-term. We're getting there and I'm proud of the work we're doing, proud of the progress we're making."
At least somebody is.