Looking back: Yankees made right moves despite elimination

Last night, the New York Yankees season once again ended without a postseason victory, as they lost to the Houston Astros in the AL Wild Card game, 3-0. The Yankees have not won a postseason game in three years, which, for the league’s most storied franchise, seems like forever ago. At the end of each team’s season, there lies the ultimate question — was this season a success or a failure? For many Yankee fans, they would be quick to call the 2015 season a failure, as the Yankees blew a seven-game division lead and managed just three hits in a winner take all WC game on their own field. It is easy to choose this road and quickly throw this season away as a waste, but that would be a mistake.

Let’s rewind to July 31 of this season. The Yankees were sitting in first place and had the prospects to acquire a star at the deadline such as David Price or improve their 2B situation by acquiring Ben Zobrist. However, Cashman elected to acquire neither, instead making only one small move before the deadline, acquiring Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners. It was rumored that the Tigers wanted either Aaron Judge or Luis Severino in a deal for Price, while Cashman revealed after last night’ game that the Athletics offered the Yankees Zobrist for Rob Refsnyder and Adam Warren. Instead of making the popular decision to make a big splash at the deadline, Cashman chose to stand pat.

After the deadline, the Yankees lead in the AL East quickly vanished thanks to a combination of their poor play as well as phenomenal play by the Blue Jays. Many Yankee fans were up in arms, blaming Cashman and the Yankees for failing to improve the team at the deadline. Nonetheless, Cashman was adamant that the prospects the Yankees had knocking on the door at Tiple-A were worth the wait. Yankee fans got a taste of what the future holds with the promotions of Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Rob Refsnyder. The 21-year-old righty out of the Dominican Republic, Luis Severino, started eleven games this season in the Majors, sporting a 2.89 ERA and a 8.09 K/9. Meanwhile, 22-year-old 1B Greg Bird was thrown right into the pennant race when Mark Teixeira went down with a fracture in his leg. Bird stepped right in, not missing a beat as he produced 11 HRs and 31 RBIs in 46 games this season. Rob Refsnyder, a 24-year-old 2B, saw limited action, only playing in sixteen games this season, but he showed glimpses of what he can do, batting .302 with two HRs and two SBs in that span.

The Yankees also have a man named Aaron Judge, waiting in the wings at Triple-A that numerous teams tried to pry away from them before the trade deadline. Judge, is a 23-year-old RF who is the size of a tight-end at 6’7′ 230 LBs. Judge is considered incredibly athletic for his size and, according to FanGraphs, has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale. Although he did not see the Majors this season, he is expected to make an impact in the big leagues at some point in 2016.

In Severino, Bird, Refsnyder, and Judge the Yankees future is looking promising. The Yankees also have P Bryan Mitchell and C Gary Sanchez, who despite not being as highly rated, are still legitimated prospects that could be important pieces to the puzzle. In New York, fans are impatient and very rarely will be satisfied with a rebuild. Fans are always pushing for the Yankees to go out and get the best player, whether through a trade or free agency. The late 1990s was the last time the Yankees truly had a dominate run. That team was filled with homegrown talent which became to be known as the “core four.” Now, I am not saying that the Yankees will ever produce such a great group of young players at the same, but the Yankees and Cashman are doing the right thing. The youth movement is well and alive for the Yankees, and despite their loss last night, eliminating them from the playoffs, the Yankees made the right decision keeping their prospects. Only time will tell what ultimately happens, but the future looks much brighter in the Bronx than it did two years ago.

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