There’s a tendency to lump all Yankees all fans into one stereotype. Around here, in the comments of this blog, it’s become known as Team Greedy. It’s the group of fans that wants the best, no matter the cost. Nothing is too extravagant, and the consequences shouldn’t matter. Sign Jason Giambi. Trade for Alex Rodriguez. Sign CC Sabathia. Trade for Ichiro Suzuki.
Team Greedy asks, why not also sign Josh Hamilton and trade for James Shields?
But the state of the Yankees roster and payroll — with too many tough-to-absorb contracts and not enough big-league-ready prospects — has exposed the weaknesses of a Team Greedy mindset. There’s cause and effect; a cost of doing business. There are still some who want every toy in the store, but there’s also a growing argument for doing what makes sense. We might all disagree with what exactly makes sense, but these days, the big picture matters, the farm system matters, and it’s becoming clear that the Yankees must be built on more than money and veterans. Team Greedy is being pushed to the fringes, until…
On Twitter. Via email. In the comments of this blog. I’ve read plenty of Yankees fans disgusted by the state of the farm system. Never should have traded Jesus Montero. Never should have traded Austin Jackson. Never should have traded Tyler Clippard or Zach McAllister or Ian Kennedy. The Yankees have to build a farm system and protect their young talent.
But when the very idea of Giancarlo Stanton hits the rumor mill, isnt’ Team Greedy the easiest way to go? The most exciting way to go? The kid is a monster, and he’s still young, and there’s a hole in right field, and who knows whether Mason Williams or Slade Heathcott or Gary Sanchez will ever amount to anything? Trade them all! Tyler Austin too! Plus two or three others! Whatever it takes!
There’s such temptation to go for the big score, and you know what, Team Greedy might be right. There’s a chance that none of the Yankees young prospects will ever amount to anything and Stanton will become the best power hitter in the game for the next decade. There is a legitimate case to be made for selling the farm to get this guy.
But then what? Where do the Yankees turn to fill other positions in a year or two? What do they do when Stanton hits arbitration next year and needs a massive contract soon after that? Can trading for Stanton set off enough dominoes — trade Granderson for other prospects, don’t re-sign Cano, etc. — to make such a trade work in the short term and the long term?
Maybe. But there’s risk either way. Trading for Stanton is an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket scenario. It’s an extreme version of the old model. Under the new model, the Yankees might have to wait. They might have to choose their risks more carefully, and take a chance that one or two of those young, Class-A prospects will become valuable big leaguers.
These days, the bigger picture carries all the weight. And the days of Team Greedy might have come and gone.
Associated Press photos