With Tanaka agreeing to terms on a 7 year $155 million deal, the Yankees have officially committed to not getting under payroll, and not just this year, but for years to come. Some of the biggest contracts on the team: Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, all share something in common besides their hefty price tag. They all have no trade clauses written into them. So these guys are going to be the face of this team for a while, and for me, I'm having trouble really supporting this idea. The Yankees don't seem to have a long term team building strategy, and their short term team building strategy basically ensures that we won't be building from within.
What's funny about this whole Tanaka signing to me, is what our old friend Hank Steinbrenner had to say: “Anybody that questioned our commitment to winning is going to have to question themselves.” (Source). I don't quite remember the Yankees commitment to winning being a big part of the dialogue about the Yankees this off season. What I do remember being questioned is whether the people running the Yankees knew how to build a team, and whether they could commit to a team building strategy that focused on player development and signing the right players as opposed to the expensive ones. A strategy that would set the Yankees up not just for this year, but for years to come. We've basically signed 3 guys on the declining part of their careers, and paid huge money to do so. In other words, we've done nothing different than we have in the past.
The Tanaka signing may end up proving to be their smartest signing of
the off season. If it wasn't coming on the heels of over paying for
Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran, while losing Cano, it might look even
smarter. When we had guys like Mo, Pettitte and Jeter on the team,
these sorts of deals were no problem. But when you're down to just
Jeter, and you sign all these guys, you basically change the
presentation of who the Yankees are. We like our homegrown guys, and
not having impact players who are homegrown is going to wear on fans.
At some point, it doesn't feel like you're watching the New York Yankees
Despite this, there are some positives about this season. Watching
Jeter in what could be his walk year will certainly be a treat, but I'm
also excited to see one particular homegrown Yankee play this season:
Alfonso Soriano. He was a clutch bat in a wasteland of an offense last
season, and seemed to really turn his season around. He could pull an
Ichiro and return to his less than stellar form, but here's hoping that
we can get Soriano the championship he never won, since we decided to
trade him for that homerun hitting, MVP-caliber player who has totally
worked out for us. Totally.