Friday was quite a day for the New York Yankees. Robinson Cano departed for the Seattle Mariners in the morning, and news broke of a Carlos Beltran signing late Friday night. The Yankees reportedly signed the 36-year-old outfielder to a three-year, $45 million deal, pending a physical.
Beltran has had a couple of close calls, almost coming to the Bronx in both 2005 and 2011. The Yankees like the switch-hitter’s bat, and they like his postseason prowess. In the 2013 postseason with the St. Louis Cardinals, Beltran smacked 15 hits in 17 games. He has an all-time postseason slash line of .333/.445/.683.
This offseason should feel extremely familiar to Yankee fans. Prior to the 2009 season, the Yankees signed monster deals with pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, as well as first baseman Mark Teixeira. You know the story from there. The Yankees hoisted World Series trophy No. 27 at the end of that same season.
New York has missed the playoffs just twice in the last 19 years, and the club hasn’t been excluded from postseason play in back-to-back years since the dismal 13-year stretch of the 80s and early 90s. It’s clear that we are looking at 2009 all over again. Not only are the Yankees not missing the playoffs this year, but they are not settling for anything less than World Series title No. 28.
The Yankees’ 2013 injury-plagued season was depressing. At times, it was downright unbelievable the poor luck the players seemed to have. Not only that, but the Alex Rodriguez saga that consumed the media for much of the season didn’t help matters. The 2013 season can only be described as an epic failure, and executives are proving that they will not let that happen in 2014.
Fans, of course, want their Yankees to win now, but what about the future? The 2013 injury parade wasn’t just about bad luck, it was about age too. It would be so refreshing to see them sign at least one player with a “2” as the first digit in his age. Now there is talk of using Brett Gardner as trade bait to perhaps secure more pitching. The Yankees need pitching, yes, but please, please, not at the cost of another homegrown and relatively young guy.
Continued success in an uncapped league comes from a combination of savvy acquisitions and a healthy farm system. This is common knowledge, right? I’ll be happy when the Yankees win No. 28, but I won’t be happy to see this offseason spending-spree cycle repeat itself every five years. Then again, this is the New York Yankees we’re talking about. Their mission statement might as well be, “Win. Now.”