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Marc Malusis: Yankees better off thinking long-term over short-term

The Yankees have the tools to compete for titles in the near future — but success this season is just a bonus.
Aaron Judge tied Mark McGwire's rookie record with his 49th home run on Monday afternoon. (Photo: Getty Images)

As Clint Frazier hit a walk-off game winning three-run homer against the Brewers on a sun drenched Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, I thought to myself this is fun.  How could it not be as the Yankees were desperate for a victory and they saw yet another one of their young prospects come through with a huge hit when the team needed it the most. The Yankees did not close out the first half the way that they started the season and their lead in the AL East came and went at the hands of their struggles and the uptick in play of the Boston Red Sox.

Even after their 21-9 start, I never looked at this Yankees team as a World Series contender. With that being said, they are not as bad as the current funk that they are in now. If you go back in the off-season, I never thought the Yankees would be a playoff contender in 2017. They are playoff contenders and it has a lot to do with the play of their young stars like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino. The experience that their young players are getting is fantastic and they will hopefully use that experience to develop as major league baseball players that much quicker. 

As the Yankees entered play on Sunday, they were five games over the .500 and are by all accounts a playoff contender. With that being said, my message to Yankees GM Brian Cashman would be to trade none of his prospects of significance this season. I would not deal for a reliever, even with the struggles of Clippard and Betances. Not for a first baseman, even though they have started 10 different players at the positions this season and you even have at least one person in the organization reportedly questioning the heart and integrity of Greg Bird, who is still dealing with his ankle injury and has not shown the ability to stay healthy.

I am not saying that GM Brian Cashman should do nothing,  I am just saying it should not be a significant move that would cost prospects of consequence. I would not trade for Gerrit Cole, Jose Quintana or Sonny Gray because I don’t think the Yankees are one starting pitcher away and I don’t think the Yankees are as good as the Houston Astros or the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees will not be winning a World Series this season. It is ok to admit and it is certainly ok to enjoy this season and the fun and excitement without the expectations of a championship.  With all due respect to George Steinbrenner, you can actually have a successful season without winning a title. I know it is not the Yankees way historically, but it should be their way this season.

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Now what does that mean for the Yankees, any player that Brian Cashman thought would be part of his ‘uber- team’ that he talked about last July. Anyone that falls into that category would remain because I think you have to see what is happening in the Bronx as transformative. The Yankees are a fun and exciting brand of baseball overall right now.  I know you can say a lot of that has to do with Aaron Judge and I would agree with that but there seems to be an excitement from the Yankees fan base that has been dormant for quite some time.

There is no question that fans like to see home grown players and love to see young players develop and become impact players right before their very eyes. There is a connection to those players as compared to a free agent signing or trade. I know it all comes down to how those players perform on the major league level, but that is what most fans want to see.  They want to see if these young players symbolize a change in the Bronx where the Yankees will once again be a yearly World Series contender.  Brian Cashman should play the long game and not the short game. 

There is no need to change or alter your plans from what they were before the start of the season. Some have been critical of Cashman in the past that he has not built and developed the young talent in the Yankees farm system and has been great at spending money. Now is the time to stick to the plan that was in place and hold unto the young assets and see just how special these young guys can be, together.

Take this season for what it is, a bonus year.  Nothing more, nothing less.

 
 
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