Why Doesn't Anyone Want to be a Yankee?! October 04 2014
As with myself, Yankee fans have closed the books on the 2014 season. For the 2nd year in a row the Yanks have missed the post-season and depending on your love for baseball, you are either done with the sport or are tuned into the playoffs. Personally I don't enjoy watching National League games although I have been told 1000 times that its "real baseball" and "strategy based" still its not for me. The American League teams are all teams that have had the Yanks number in the past, Baltimore, The Royals, Angels, and Tigers. I will be a stereotypical Yankee fan and root for Mattingly's Dodgers. But for the second year in a row Yankee fans were distracted with how bad this team was by the parting ceremonies of a Yankee legend. YES, Derek Jeter's last home game and last home at-bat was one of the greatest moments in regular season Yankee history, and for that entire last week no one cared that the Yankees were out of it, again.
Fast forward to the last game at Boston. Another great ceremony and another distraction to the big picture. Although everyone was locked in to hear Jeter's final press conference, in which he did open up a little bit more about the whole farewell tour experience, the interesting interviews were with the Yankees impending free agents. We saw both ends of the spectrum where players spoke about the free agency openly and some that just left it up to the suits. What stuck out in my mind was none of the free agents flat out said "I WANT TO BE A YANKEE". Now I'm not sure if players mask their desire because it can be used in negotiations against them, but there isn't any passion to play for this team anymore. A player looking in from the outside can easily say the Yankees just aren't a "playoff team" and no one can deny that anymore after missing the post season twice now.
Just as the allure of the Mariano Farewell Tour wasn't mystifying enough to keep home grown Robinson Cano, I don't think any player will be moved to spend the remainder of their career in Pinstripes after seeing the Jeter tour. Everyone remembers Cano saying he didn't get any respect from the Yanks after their 7 Year $175 Million Dollar offer. Well all blasted Cano and wished him luck into "baseball no where" and claimed he would never see the post season or his Yankee-Lineup-induced stats. Truth is Cano was 1 win away from the Wild-Card game, alot closer than the Yanks were. And as for the line-up where both you and I can't name anyone except the trainwreck Jesus Montero, well Cano finished batting .314 with 14 Homers and 82 RBI, that is more RBI's than ANYONE on the Yankees this season.
Before Cano there was the Joe Torre. Joe was "insulted" with the Yankees offer for $5 Million dollars annually to manage the team. I would manage that team for $5 an hour. At the time it was still higher than any manager was getting paid, and he was managing the Yankees All-Star lineup which you could put in PEN and ride out for the season. He wasn't "Strategizing" in the National League and even though he killed his bullpen he wasn't making life or death decisions. But the fact is he could have taken less money and gone in to win another World Series or two in Pinstripes and add to his legacy. But he chose not to. Just like these free agents wont be choosing to stay. Kuroda will most likely hang-em up. Ichiro sounded like he was unhappy with his playing situation and I can see him leaving. When Headley was asked about next year he was clear that he wanted to play a position every day for the entire season. No platooning, no DH, and no carousel around the infield. Brandon McCarthy was a great pick up mid-season and seemed to fit in well especially with the NL to AL change. David Robertson did more than what we could have asked replacing Mo. He can continue to be the "heir-apparent" as Mariano called him if he wants. If he wants security in years I am not sure the Yanks will offer it and he may sign elsewhere. Hopefully not with the Red Sox. We have seen players who "love New York" and the Yankees and Pinstripes, and winning and turn down the qualifying offer to go elsewhere. Who remembers Nick Swisher? Swish who was the clubhouse life-force and the most energetic and Mr. Happy to be a Yankee, turned down $13.5 Million dollars for 1 Year. I can easily say the average Yankee fan in their life will make $1.5 Million dollars ever. But yet we have to hear these players turn down this money, and be insulted by it, and move on from it. Staying for "less" money to be a part of a legacy doesn't enter their mind at all. They want to take the most money in a small market team and carry no legacy with them. I am all for a person trying to earn as much money as possible but when we are talking about tens of millions of dollars what are they really saying? Cano took $225 Million from the Mariners instead of the Yanks $175. I am not going to map out Cano's lifetime of spending but what difference is the money when you are making that much.
Newsflash to these players, free agents, and former players: Your average fan gets by in life by making less than 75k a year and when they have a few bucks to spend on entertainment it is spent watching people like you. Insulting right. The players like Mariano and Jeter are gone forever. You will never hear a player say they do it for the fans anymore. Jeter claimed that the Fans were the best part of his business and how and why he went to work everyday. The best part to the newer generation is that they are getting obscene money in a small town working 3 hours a day no matter if they win or lose. They don't care about the Yankees winning 3 in a row in the late 90's, or the Perfect games or No Hitters. Only 5 Yankees are currently under contract from the 2009 Championship team. (CC,Teix,Gardner,Cervelli, & A-Rod) So they all haven't hung aorund to try to do it again, or even come close. They don't care that fans lineup for hours to meet them just for a 20 second "hello your the best can you sign this". It is all about the money. And we all care except for them. Did any players apologize for this season and last for their performance? Nope. Just the owner Hal Steinbrenner took to the airwaves to apologize on their behalf. So yeah this December we will all watch the Hot Stove Reports hoping that Cashman tries to grab the best guys possible at every position but it doesn't go down like that anymore. We will see head scratching offers, players turn down hometown discounts, and small market teams grab players away from the Pinstripes with no explanation. We can always hope to go back to the promised land next season. It used to be that a season without a championship was unacceptable. Maybe we should go back to those standards.
Let's Go Yanks!