John Manuel, in Baseball America, does a great job at looking at the Yankees recent front office failure:
The Yankees really had no choice.
They have their own television network. They play in a $1.5 billion ballpark and face more scrutiny than any other team. So when the major league team fails, as it did in 2008 and again in 2013, the front office has to act.
In the 2008 offseason—with the team shutting down Yankee Stadium II to move into Yankee Stadium III—that meant signing A.J. Burnett, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira to contracts worth more than $423 million. That trio helped the Yankees hoist their 27th World Series championship in 2009.
It remains to be seen if the 2013 free-agent class produces similar results, but the Yankees have used a similar approach this offseason. They let Robinson Cano walk, wisely choosing not to match the Mariners’ 10-year, $240 million contract. But they added punch to the lineup by signing catcher Brian McCann, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and outfielder/DH Carlos Beltran for a combined $283 million.
The Yankees acted because they had to. As they found out in 2013, they didn’t have any prospects ready to help in the Bronx.
Those in charge of the farm system haven’t changed for nearly a decade: Mark Newman (senior vice president of baseball operations) and Damon Oppenheimer (VP of scouting) have run the player-development and scouting departments since 2005, and general manager Brian Cashman has run the organization since 1997. Media rumblings in New York in 2013 hinted at potential changes after the farm failures, but nothing significant has happened.
Nothing significant has happened for the Yankees’ player development system with regard to hitters either. The organization hasn’t drafted and developed an everyday player since the 2005 draft, when it took Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson. Cano, their last homegrown star, was signed in 2001. The only other hitters originally signed by the Yankees who got significant major league time in 2013 were Jose Tabata of the Pirates, whom the Yankees signed in ’04, and Jesus Montero of the Mariners, signed in ’06.
The Yankees have identified talent on the mound. They have missed much more with hitters, especially in the draft, starting with their ’07 class. It started with a needlessly lavish contract for righthander Andrew Brackman, whose $3.35 million bonus remains the largest in Yankees draft history, and continued with seven-figure bonuses for hitters such as Bradley Suttle and Carmen Angelini. The Yankees also look to have missed with top picks in the 2010 (Cito Culver) and 2011 (Dante Bichette Jr.) drafts.
The 2013 season was a rough one for the Yankees’ top hitting prospects. Outfielders Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin (injuries) and Mason Williams (poor performance) struggled, and the once-productive Latin American program has faltered as well, with top prospect Gary Sanchez the only current product in full-season ball who profiles as a regular.
This is all true. And, yet, no one is ever held accountable for this situation? So, why should it ever change in Yankeeland?