Expectations have always been high for the New York Yankees.
For a good portion of the franchise's existence, the team has met those expectations and I stress the word met.
Year in and year out, the Yankees’ front office and fans have expected nothing less than a World Series Championship. The way things look right now, it will be while before that happens.
Since the departure of the “Core Four” (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada), the bar has been lowered. Not by much, yet the current Yankees cannot seem to reach their potential.
The start to the 2016 regular season has be a bumpy one for the Pinstripes who are currently in the cellar in the American League East and have the fourth lowest winning in percentage all of baseball. It’s safe to say that the Joe Girardi-led Yankees are nowhere near what general manager Brian Cashman had imagined after compiling a team with a payroll of just short of 227 million dollars.
In today’s game, front offices have the money to bring the most talented players to their organizations in hopes of both filling the seats and winning ball games. No team has showcased this more over the years than the Bronx Bombers by spending exorbitant amounts of cash in free agency and trading away some of their most prized prospects. This past offseason’s spending in free agency is something that I fear has and will continue to hurt the Yankees. They don’t take a look around the league at how smaller market teams are carrying out baseball operations. More and more, teams are learning that developing players within their farm systems is far more rewarding than spending boatloads of money on free agents, with the most recent example being the Kansas City Royals.
Not all hope is lost in my mind because of Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada being all grown from within the Yankees farm system. The question now is whether or not the Yankees front office is willing to spend the next three to four years using the draft and free agency to bring players into the organization, that can grow within the farm system, be taught the Yankee way and let them be immersed in the Yankee culture.
One thing for sure about spending money in free agency is that is you cannot buy leadership. Leadership is grown from within and leaders check their egos at the door. I believe that no matter how humble a high priced free agent might be and how stoic a leader they may have been on their former team, it is not going easy for them to check their ego getting paid upward of $20 million dollars a year in a city that is ego-driven.
It may not be what Yankee fans want to hear and it will definitely not stop the bleeding immediately, but I think it might be time for the Yankees organization to step back and pivot in a slightly different direction.
Sid Rosenberg is co-host of The Bernie and Sid Show on WABC in New York. Follow him on Twitter @sidrosenberg