Memo To New York Yankees: Don’t Let Boston and Tampa Get Stronger This Week

July 28, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The clock is ticking. Three days to go.

Three days until Friday’s 4p.m. Major League Baseball trading deadline. This year’s deadline has been highly anticipated.

Maybe that’s because there are so many players rumored to be traded. Quality players, like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Scott Kazmir, Victor Martinez, and Adrian Gonzalez.

The level of play has been really high for a lot of teams this year, so there hasn’t been a definite amount of sellers like in the past. It makes for competitive baseball, but sooner or later teams need to decide if they are contenders or re-builders.

The most competitve race has been in the A.L. East with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays.

Currently, the Yankees are 2 1/2 up on the Red Sox and 7 1/2 up on the Rays. The Rays are five back on the Red Sox in the Wild Card chase.

This past week has seen a furious amount of rumors flying all over, and a lot of them have involved the Red Sox and Rays.

On the other side, the first place Yankees have barely been mentioned in rumors, except for acquiring a possible fifth starter and another reliever.

Here’s my question: Is the Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman going to sit back and let the Red Sox and even the Rays get stronger while his team stays put?

The Yankees have been good in 2009, but the Red Sox are right on their coattails and looking to improve over the Yankees again.

They added Adam LaRoche as an extra first basemen just in case Mike Lowell can’t stay healthy, and Kevin Youkilis has to move over to third. But apparently, they aren’t done dealing, or at least trying to deal.

They’re rumored to be participating in the Halladay sweepstakes. If that happens, it would give the Red Sox a tremendous advantage in the A.L. East race. They’ve also shown interest in the Martinez and Gonzalez situations. Those acquisitions would make the Boston lineup even deeper than it is now.

Rumors have also tied Tampa Bay to Martinez and Lee as well, especially if they did trade Kazmir. Adding someone like Martinez to that lineup would help Tampa’s playoff chances go up.

Now, the Yankees were supposed to be in the Halladay talks, but apparently the asking price to start was both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Giving up both of those would be a terrible move for Cashman.

Every Yankee fan would love to have Halladay, but not if it involves dealing two potential superstar pitchers who are 23 and 22 and have so much upside. Especially considering the risk of trading them inside the division.

The Yankees have also been rumored in every other deal for a starting pitcher on the market, but most of them have just been speculation.

The bottom line is that the Yankees cannot let their rivals get any better before July 31. If Cashman has to block a Red Sox deal, then he needs to go do it like he’s done before. He blocked the Red Sox in 2000 from getting Jose Canseco, just so Canseco wouldn’t hurt the Yankees in the second half. Canseco sat the bench for most of his 2000 tenure in pinstripes, but for his troubles he did get a World Series ring.

The Red Sox have won two World Series titles in the last five years, while the Yankees have won zero. The Rays and Red Sox were the final two teams in the A.L. East playoffs last season, while the Yankees did not make the postseason in 2008. Lately, the Yankees have been looking like the second-rate team compared to the Red Sox.

That needs to stop because the Yankees are anything but second-rate.

The Yankees were once the toast of the league, but lately it’s been the Red Sox and Theo Epstein making all the right moves and bringing in all the right players. 2009 needs to be a turning point. Getting Mark Teixeira away from Boston and bringing him in two days before Christmas was a right step in kicking Boston in the face.

Cashman needs to start getting aggressive. Smart, yes, but aggressive too. The Yankees haven’t won a championship since 2000 and haven’t been to a World Series since 2003. Many of the New York fans and media are starting to grow tired of seeing a team with a high payroll, and superstars getting bounced out early in the playoffs.

Cashman needs to start acting as if his job is on the line. He can’t just watch Boston and Tampa walk back into the playoffs and finish in third place again. He can’t watch another Yankees team win first place, and then be eliminated in the first roundjust like they were for their last three playoff appearances.

Cashman needs to make sure the Yankees are the team to beat, just like they were from 1996-2001. Start putting that fear back into other teams’ hearts.

Cashman, if you allow the Red Sox and Rays to get stronger and better while doing nothing for the Yankees and it costs you in September, you better hope you still have a job in November. People may start calling for your head.

Right now, the Yankees have sole possession of first place in the A.L. East. Their G.M. needs to treat this team like its a winner and keep the Red Sox and Rays looking up at it in the standings, like they used to in the past.

If you want a clearer message for the Yankees, it’s simple: Step on the Red Sox and Rays throats before it’s too late, and they come back to catch you.

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