When I began sorting through Pinch Hitter submissions, one of the things I looked for was fresh perspective. Sam, Brian and I can analyze the Yankees offseason from a reporter’s point of view, but we’re never going to see this team the way a fan sees it. Not every fan will agree with Justin’s morning post, but I’m betting quite a few thought he was spot on.
I happen to disagree with him — and I told Justin as much in an email — but that’s kind of the point of this series: It’s nice to have a different voice and a different opinion on the blog.
That said, here’s why I disagree: Because Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office have a job to do, and they can’t afford to be as reactionary as a fan might be.
Just like any job, running the Yankees comes with its good days and bad days. A bad day at work isn’t fixed by some sort of drastic, snap decision. A bad day is fixed by swallowing hard, taking the hit and figuring out the next logical step. In the work place, patience really is a virtue.
Being a Yankees fan is not a job, it’s an experience, and its bad days require instant reaction. Every move and non-move is debated, and even 19-year-old prospects who are four years from the big leagues are constantly discussed and evaluated by the fan base. Patience has no place in the fan experience. The fan experience is constant, and days without news are … well … boring. And when those boring days come after the bad days, there is frustration.
The fan base might feel comforted to hear an outburst from the front office — something to let everyone know that “the powers that be” feel the same frustration — but that sort of bluster simply doesn’t fit the personality of the people now at the top of the Yankees front office. They’re calculating. They take the hit and silently try to find the next move that makes sense. It’s silly to suggest that makes them less committed to winning.
Reactionary decisions — and Rafael Soriano might have been one — tend to come with risk, and even Justin — who clearly wants an aggressive approach — was frustrated by the end result of that particular aggressive move. It’s easy to scream at the top of your lungs, demanding that the Yankees sign the best remaining free agent on the market, but the reality doesn’t always match the fantasy. Free agents cost more than you might expect, and trades don’t work out exactly the way you draw them up. That’s why, even after the bad days, it’s important to wait for a move that makes sense.
Patience is a frustrating thing for a fan base, but it’s essential for a front office.