It’s August in 2016, and it is official: The New York Yankees of old are all gone. Now this probably has been the case for a long time now, as we’ve seen many Yankee staples retire from the game prior to 2016. Just last week, 1B Mark Teixeira announced his retirement after this season. Then today, 3B Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees announced his retirement from playing the game of baseball as he is set to rejoin the team as an adviser (Rodriguez’ last game is Friday, August 12), and it made headlines in outlets and on sports talk podcasts. I remarked to myself how much of the Yankees team is younger and newer now, and no pieces are left from the once villain-esque dynasty. Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia are essentially the last tenured New York players on the roster, each playing for the organization since 2008 and 2009 respectively. Then I came across a tweet from Cespedes Family BBQ :
It reads: “I have never been alive for an MLB that did not feature Alex Rodriguez.” That struck me, and got me thinking. Alex Rodriguez, or ARod, debuted in the MLB on July 8, 1994 at 18 years old. I wasn’t born until over a year later, in August of 1995. That is incredible to me; That someone could be such a mainstay in a sport for so long that it took until my 21st birthday to see an MLB without him. And of course with that thought, the nostalgia kicked in from the good ol’ days of New York Yankee baseball.
The days of Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield and even Alfonso Soriano. Those are the players I grew up watching, the players I learned to love the game with, the players I tried to mimic in backyard wiffle ball (especially Sheffield’s signature swing). I suppose its part of getting older, as I feel older and older each year, but the sport I love without the players who taught me to love it is hard to get used to.
As for some time now, the perennial winning team the Yankees once were is gone. But the future is bright, as the Yankees organization enters its first real rebuilding phase of my lifetime. With the selloff that occurred this past trade deadline (trading Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova) the Yankees hauled in top tier prospects to bolster their farm system. With the moves, the Yankees jumped from outside the top 10 in farm system rankings to the #2 spot. The additions of Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres bolstered the top 2 prospects in the organization, followed by Jorge Mateo and Aaron Judge. Gary Sanchez, who is seeing time in the MLB this season, is a top tier future prospect for the Yanks as well, along with Greg Bird who has missed all of 2016 due to injury. Rounding out the top tier prospects are Blake Rutherford and Justus Sheffield. The Yanks can claim 5 prospects in the top 37 of the MLB, as they acquired Frazier, Torres and Sheffield just at this trade deadline. Justus Sheffield is the only pitcher in the top ranks of the Yankees system, but with the clearing of cap space the Yankees should be able to shop around during free agency in future years to build a rotation to match the up and coming lineup of offensive prowess.
The New York Yankees certainly look defeated, a roster depleted and a mediocre record that probably won’t land them in the playoffs in 2016. But the future is bright, with young talent just a year or 2 away from making the Yankees a young, talented team that we haven’t seen in decades.
Rebuilding is not fun to watch in the short term, but stick around, Yankees fans.