A horse by any other name is still a horse and the New York Yankees will still remain the New York Yankees as an organization who remain bereft of creativity …
It would appear that with the death of their patriarch George Steinbrenner , his offspring led by Hank , Hal Steinbrenner , Jessica Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindahl as the current owners of baseball’s most venerable and successful franchise are intent on carrying as progeny’s, with the premise that they are willing to spend as they seek further success , but in their own right. As we know over the past decade , when all else fails , when this organization has not been able to develop talent from within its system in several years . It has been left to GM Brian Cashman ,once given the “go ahead” , to simply pry open the vault and overspend on talent . In aftermath of an unsuccessful season in 2013, in which we saw the team flounder for the majority of their schedule, as aging players CC Sabathia , Hiroki Kuroda , Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Andy Pettite were either unproductive , ailing with injuries or in the case of Rodriguez, simply seeking to make excuses for his own misdeeds as he continues to blame the league hierarchy for seeking to drive him out of baseball.
Slideshow gallery .
Now while it would be true to suggest, that the New York Yankees are the franchise who simply sets the ratings for the national viewership of for baseball and attendance as well adjudging the value and profitability of the league’s thirty teams . It would be fair to say, that in terms of overall success in the past six years, but for their lone triumph in 2009 , the intervening years between that World Series’ victory and the franchise’s last 2000 , have been somewhat lean as to the lofty expectations of the New York Yankees’ organization overall. At the start of the 2013 season , Hal Steinbrennner’s intent was to reduce the team’s payroll to below $200 million , in order to avert having to pay the MLB “luxury tax” that has repeatedly penalized high-spending salaried teams within the game . Given the fact that in 2013 , only the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers were the only team meeting the criteria of having to be taxed . It does beg the question , whose assistance is this all being provided for , when the league itself does not choose to monitor how these monies are utilized by the beneficiaries of the Dodgers and Yankee’ largess ? Bear in mind , also , Bud Selig when pressed to explain the disparities, in the fact that New York was burdened with a surcharge of almost $40 million , whereas the Dodgers paid only $9.355 million when their payroll commitment to their entire personnel was merely $12 million less than the New York based franchise. The MLB Commissioner, was unable to explain the reason behind the disparity , as well as lacking the knowledge and expertise concerning the alleged benefits of the scheme.
Over the years, team owners such as Bob Nutting , Lew Wolff , Jeffrey Loria and Drayton McLane have simply used this charade as a way to line their own pockets , while pleading poverty on their franchises’ behalf . And for anyone seeking to also state that within the game of baseball , a form of parity is the closest thing that the “four major professional team sports” now have . I would ask you to look at the participants of this past postseason and then adjudge the teams’ payrolls and then explain how it is that 25% of baseball’s $3.125 billion payroll commitment was tied up in the salary commitment of the Dodgers , Detroit Tigers and others who made up the MLB postseason fare ?
There is no denying that for Joe Girardi and his staff , this past season was a nightmare beyond the injury issues of the team. An inconsistent offense as well as pitching led to numerous team woes beyond the lack of overall leadership , with Derek Jeter being missed from the lineup for the majority of the Yankees’ regular season games this past season , because of a re-occurrence to an old and persistent injury . From my own perspective, Jeter’s career is now on the wane and rarely are we able to simply see the flashes of brilliance , that once made him one of the best players and short-stops within the game . If anything, what is now sorely missed on this roster, are the intangibles he brought to the team as well as his leadership abilities. The same cannot be said of anyone currently playing on this team and therein now lies of the greatest flaws for the New York Yankees moving forward.
If the New York Yankees are to contend with a resurgent Boston Red Sox team that is likely to get better in 2014 rather than regressing . The same can be said of a Baltimore Orioles’ franchise, that came so close , but simply for the lack of dearth of pitching and offense , saw the latter half of their season implode. The retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera leaves the pitching lineup with a great deal of uncertainty, as well as to who is now best capable to fit the closers’ role for the rotation. . The salaries of CC Sabathia , Mark Teixiera , Alex Rodriguez , Curtis Granderson , Alfonso Soriano and Veron Wells is one thing to bear when the organization is said to be doing well competitively and from a financial standpoint . However, this past season , more than any other time in recent memory this organization, has now become no longer impervious to genuine criticism into every aspect of its conduct on and off the field of play , but also the image , that has been permeated by lingering doubts as to the capability of the Steinbrenner family , in running what is essentially a multi-billion dollar business empire . The handling of the fallout of the Alex Rodriguez ‘ scandal’ .. , and the lack leadership shown by Brian Cashman , Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner in questioning the sound legal advice availed to them by Lonn A Trost , Chief Legal Counsel & SVP , has me now even questioning the rationale of many of the decisions now being made within the front office of the organization .
As I alluded to earlier, Hal Steinbrenner sought reduce the Yankees’ payroll substantially below $200 million for this past season . Yet, in a flurry of early and mid-season madness, some thirty-eight million dollars, were added to the payroll, when they sought to acquire both Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano . Now, while both players contributed to the team over the course of the season . One could hardly say that those contributions amounted to what would be deemed in any way, tangible success . Injury prone, Mark Teixeira , Curtis Granderson , Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez accounted for almost forty per-cent of the Yankees’ offense in 2012 , but with the injuries and age came the fall-off in a once prodigious offense.
With the Boston Red Sox seeking to build upon their success in 2013 , having won the World Series with a rather lopsided win over the St Louis Cardinals . GM Ben Cherington and the managerial staff headed by John Farrell sought to bolster this roster during this off-season . A number of players obviously would become superfluous to the team’s needs , as so often is the case. One of the more highly praised free agents this off-season by way of a productive bat , would be Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox . In what undoubtedly will come as a surprise to many of the die-hard Red Sox fans, been the player agreeing to a reported six-year $153 million deal with the New York Yankees . Now while I believe Ellsbury to be a very good player , and a great clubhouse leader , the very fact that in recent years he has become more of a health risk , leads me to be of the opinion that the risks do outweigh the advantages of such a deal . The likelihood is that Ellsbury is being brought into replace Curtis Granderson whose statistics were down from last season , as well as the outfielder’s recent own health concerns , also has me wondering what are the actual advantages of this deal in the first . Brian Cashman is merely moving once piece of a mismatched jigsaw puzzle , for another piece, that is very much similar in kind .
Having re-signed Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees’ projected pitching rotation will be steeped in mediocrity . CC Sabathia and Kuroda may well be seen as the best one two punch that New York can assemble , but beyond that, there would be very little for an opponent to be fearful of .
The resignation of Jim Leyland from the Detroit Tigers after their free-fall in the postseason, leads me to believe that the manager felt that he could no longer take this ball-club farther than he already had. GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner Michael Ilitch tried to have their longstanding coach change his mind . Leyland’s wishes were respected and the Tigers have moved on, with the hiring of Brad Ausmus to succeed the venerable manager. With Ausmus’ hire has come the upheaval within the roster , with the departures of Prince Fielder and Doug Fister . And it does not appear that these deals are to be the last of the transactions that are likely to be made as Dave Dombrowski seeks to reshape this roster into a more competitive unit . The remainder of Fielder’s ludicrous contract will now be absorbed by the Texas Rangers whose lean years have continued , even in spite of two recent back to back ALCS pennant wins and World Series’ appearances that were doomed , because of the incompetency shown by the Rangers’ teams in each of the postseason finales in question.
The emphasis of this Detroit Tigers roster, now appears to be built around Miguel Cabrera , the reigning two-time AL MVP , pitchers Justin Verlander , Rick Porcello , Anibel Sanchez and Max Scherzer . With Brad Ausmus now succeeding Jim Leyland as the manager of what is likely to be a newly revamped Tigers lineup , a great deal is being asked of Leyland’s successor to emulate the success achieved and in leading this franchise forward. Dave Dombrowski will also have to deal with, the issue of a new contract for Max Scherzer , the AL Cy Young winner in 2013 and the American League’s most successful pitcher in terms of wins . It is debatable if the general manager will seek to make the pitcher the highest-paid pitcher on the Tigers’ roster, by offering him a multi-year deal .
The window of opportunity will always remain open for the Detroit Tigers , as long as Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander remain the centerpieces of this team and the pieces are in place around them . Anything short of that, and the future for the franchise would appear to be bleak.
It is extremely difficult to see how anyone can stand behind and continue to support the Houston Astros after two consecutive seasons of having exceeded one hundred losses in each of the past two years . Call it either the poor management style of Bo Porter and his staff or the fact that the teams in 2012 and 2013 have absolutely mediocre on all fronts . . Astros’ owner Jim Crane may well have been induced into overpaying for a franchise purely based on the marketing and revenue potential of the Houston area market place and the fact , that as part of the $775 million paid to purchase the franchise from Drayton McLane was deemed to be a bargain .
Two years on from that deal and the franchise apart from having amongst the lowest attendance in Major League Baseball , is now staving off financial worries as well as seeking in an injunction the US Federal Bankruptcy Courts to stop their broadcast partners CSN SportsNet Houston (CSN) from filing for bankruptcy reorganization (Chapter 11). Any such move, for the franchise would create financial embarrassment for not only Crane but for the entire Astros’ organization moving forward and for baseball , itself. Considering, the MLB hierarchy and their ongoing incompetence , as they are led by Bud Selig . All roads now appear to point to an uneasy journey ahead for the AL West ball-club. The MLB Commissioner was found wanting, in his now surreptitious handling of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sale from the previous owner Frank McCourt , whose own mismanagement of the franchise has been well chronicled . Add in the fact that , a number team owners were widely convinced that Selig acted improperly during the proceedings, in trying dissuade the bankruptcy judge from accepting any other offer , than the bid submitted by Guggenheim Partners Inc and their wholly owned property Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC .
With the Houston Astros having a vested interest in CSN Houston as a stakeholder in the cable broadcast outlet , that is also owned in part by Comcast Inc , parent company of NBC /Universal . The question that has to be asked, is how can a regional cable and sports’ broadcast outlet that is often seen as a financial windfall for a professional sports’ franchise be so mismanaged and mis-ran , to the extent , that one party simply wants to relinquish its holdings , while the other seeks to force their partner to carry on writing a blank check , and simply getting nothing tangible in return ? Clearly, Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow are forcing this issue, as represented by their legal counsel in the US Federal Courts .
As to the ongoing competitiveness of the Houston Astros and this upcoming season . I am not so sure that we are not likely to see the franchise pull off a third consecutive season of losing in excess of one hundred games There has been nothing to suggest that the team is likely to improve , in spite of what are said to be great off-season moves and Jim Crane’s explicit wish to raise the payroll from $65 million in 2013 to over $80 million in 2014.
If there could be one word, to describe the Miami Marlins last season , along with their inept record and continued failings . It would have to be “failure” . On so many levels, this organization continues to be mismanaged , from the front office on down , never mind the fact manager Mike Redmond was thrown in at the deep end , without so much as a life jacket , yet was expected to somehow pull of a miracle and make this team … competitive . Well, Redmond was able to achieve neither , in spite of the lone accolade of organization having seen their rookie pitcher , Jose Fernandez pick up the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Honors . Team owner , Jeffrey Loria continues to play fast and loose with the truth, as to his dealings with the city of Miami as well as the Miami Dade County government and what was entailed in the franchise acquiring its ballpark and the fact the city of Miami residents will be left on the hook for the $575 million in costs for the paltry 35,000 seated venue . The public has yet to be ,made aware of the US Justice Department’s investigation of the city and their actions that led to the approval of the financing for the barely attended venue for Marlins’ games since its inauguration in 2012.
Miami City Mayor Tomas Regalado and many of his subordinates have remained tight-lipped , concerning any allegations of graft, with certain high-ranking city officials having accepted monetary gifts in order to approve the finance bill , that availed the baseball franchise its new venue. Bud Selig for his part , whose influence was ongoing , met with Loria behind the scenes to check the ongoing progress of deliberations, that were said to be taking place between Jeffrey Loria , Larry Beinfest , Michael Hill and David Samson in their continued meetings with both governmental agencies at the time . Somehow in the midst of this all, the commissioner also found time to disparage Florida’s only other professional Major League Baseball franchise , the Tampa Bay Rays , by questioning the integrity of the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg and the club’s apparent unwillingness to obtain a new stadium . No assistance of any kind , has been provided by the commissioner to the Rays, in their continued endeavors for a new ballpark , and the franchise’s own fans being the continued imbeciles that they are, have never had the temerity to question Bud Selig’s motives in assisting the Marlins , but failing to come to the aid of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays’ fans are not as knowledgeable as they make themselves out to be , but they are extremely apathetic , most definitely , as can be seen in their wavering support of the franchise and continued excuses when it comes to the continued low attendance figures at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg, Florida .
The Miami Marlins coming off their 62-100 season within the NL East , only the Houston Astros bore a worst record in the entire league last season . Personally, having once been an ardent supporter of the franchise before complete abandoning them in 2011 , after the contempt ongoing deceit of the ownership group , that was also abetted by Bud Selig and his hierarchy cohorts . There is really nothing admirable that can be said about the South Florida franchise and the continued incompetence being shown not only its upper management but also by the league in its entirety. As to the ongoing idiocy, and what appears to be the love-fest , with the adoption of instant replay being introduced within the game of baseball . Considering, the lack decisiveness being shown by the teams , players , union , owners and front office executives in dealing with issues , such as, rampant steroid use and the financial disparities that still continue within the game . I doubt , that , this upcoming season within baseball, will be any different from the previous seasons of controversy , excesses of the players in terms of their personal conduct or the ongoing incompetency of Bud Selig and his leadership style , whatever that might be !
Picture gallery .
Chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and anything else that you feel that is pertinent to the subject matter .
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Members of the Steinbrenner family pose for photographers following a ceremony dedicating a monument to the late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner before the Yankees baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Seen are (L-R) Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, Jessica Steinbrenner, George’s widow Joan Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner. Source:Pool/Getty Images North America ….
(2) Members of the Steinbrenner family, (L-R) Hal Steinbrenner, and Jessica Steinbrenner pass by their father’s monument following as another member of the family places a rose beside the newly unveiled plaque, at a ceremony dedicating the monument to the late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner before the Yankees baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Source: Pool/ Getty Images North America ….
(3) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox , seen here during a game played at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts,. The player having become a free agent this off-season, signed a reputed six-year $153 million deal to play for the New York Yankees . Ellsbury, age 30, has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons , but his agent Scott Boras believes his client will be a productive player and provide the clubhouse leadership needed by the franchise . It begs the question, will Jacoby Ellsbury now become the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter as perhaps the new captain of the team ? AP Photo / Jae C Hong ….
(4) Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, Ben Cherington (R), introduces John Farrell as the new manager, the 46th manager in the club’s 112-year history , on October 23, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. In his first season as manager of the ball-club Farrell would lead the Red Sox to their third World Series title in the past nine years and the franchise’s eighth overall in their history. Getty Images/ Jared Wickerham …..
Detroit Tigers’ general manager Dave Dombrowski , left is seen here with the team’s new manager Brad Ausmus . The new skipper succeeds Jim Leyland whose resignation was reluctantly accepted by the organization this off-season. Players such as Miguel Cabrera , Justin Verlander , Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer thanked the outgoing manager for his contributions to the Tigers , as well for the relationships founded and also, in making them better players . AP Photo / Tony Jackson ….
(6) Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane ,left, is seen here alongside the team’s manager Bo Porter . Two years into his reign and Porter has led to the franchise to back to back 100 losses in each of the last two seasons. With now lowered attendance having moved from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013 , the organization apart from being uncompetitive , is now having severe financial difficulties, which Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow are denying, in spite of their civil suit against CSN Houston , the regional cable sports’ broadcast outlet that the ball-club has a stake in . Getty Images / Paul Stevens ….
(7) Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, left, and team president David Samson walk through the lobby of the hotel hosting Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in Dallas , Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….
(8) Bud Selig is seen here alongside fellow MLB hierarchy executive , Joe Torre SVP & Head of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball . All signs seems to be pointing to either Rob Manfred or Bob Dupuy succeeding the outgoing commissioner in February 2014 , rather than the popular choice of Torre, himself . Courtesy of ESPN and MLB Properties Inc ….
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