**SUBWAY SERIES SPECIAL**
new york YANKEES: Bomber Fans, The Beginning Of The End Is Upon You!
I've been thinking lately about the Yankees...; and their demise! There's a ton of details to include in something like this. So instead, here is my shorter version.
When the Boss was still involved with the Yankees, Brian Cashman gave George an ultimatum; either start changing the way this organization operates or he was outta here. The short version is Cashman got his way and stayed on as GM of the Yankees. His first order of business was to dismantle the meddling troop in Tampa; i.e.; George's Baseball People like Billy Connors..etc. George always played them off Cashman until he finally told George, No Mas with those guys.
George gave him the centralized power he sought. Or, so he thought. And on the way out of the Boss' office, in typical George fashion, warned Cashman he better be right or else. Cashman enjoyed a substantial increase in the size of his baseballs due to this break-through with George. So he set about restocking his farm-system and passed on an opportunity to trade for Johan Santana.
I admittedly was already predicting the decline of the Yankees as far back as 2007 for the same reasons we've heard over the years - They were getting old; all the long term contracts were burdensome; and the farm wasn't supplying a steady stream of prospects just yet.
I believe I would have been on course too. I thought Brian Cashman was dying to rid the team of some of those long term contracts; like Giambi, Mussina, AND A-Rod's! - just to name a few. And I believed Cashman was in no rush to sign-away the Yankees into another long-term situation like that again. The Yankees had upwards of $80 million coming off their books. Brian Cashman had always talked of his want to gain more financial flexibility in addition to wanting to bring payroll costs down. The expiring contracts would have afforded him just that. The team had not enjoyed such financial prudence since the earlier 1990's under Stick Michael.
But what happened? The Yankees re-committed themselves to long-term, onerous contracts again. They went out and spent almost half a Billion dollars on C.C., A.J., and TEX. What that did (besides winning a Championship) was just stall the inevitable by a few years. And now, we (actually more like you...) are there. Things won't fall apart this weekend or this season. Maybe next season is safe too. But after that, I want you to ponder all the following:
Brian Cashman: He's Chosen Shock and Awe As An Exit Strategy. His Attitude Betrays Him.
Brian may have succeeded in convincing George to let him call all the shots. But it never stopped others, namely George himself and one person in particular, Randy Levine, from stepping all over him like a welcome mat.
We all know Cashman wanted no part in the re-signing of Alex Rodriguez to that ludicrous contract. What's closer to the truth is Cashman wanted him gone. But ARod secured a backroom deal with Levine and the Boss thus making Brian Cashman have to back track on an earlier comment or two he may have made. Cashman was quite curt about things then. But he was no where near the Samurai GM slashing his way through Derek Jeter this past off-season. Why? His own sense of empowerment and the knowledge he's leaving after this year has his current demeanor redefining the term DIVA.
But again, Brian Cashman was urged by higher-ups to get the deal done and to make it for more years and more money than was prudent.
With Posada, the Yankees' hand was forced when the Mets offered him a fourth year. So the Yankees matched the years of the Mets' offer and kept their Catcher. Today, the Yankees are paying dearly for that fourth year.
But the point here, there is little to no reason why Brian Cashman should want to re-up with the Yankees considering Randy Levine himself is tapping into his inner-George, but with a much more amateurish and derisive manner. But on the way out, Brian Cashman has made it his business to whip a forked tongue at anyone withing hissing distance.
He'll also want no more part of putting these current Yankee legends to bed. He ended Bernie Williams' career in a very cold, direct manner by offering him a minor league deal or nothing. Brian Cashman likewise let Andy Pettitte leave to Houston (the first time) with a Don't let the door hit you on the way out attitude.
And then there was Derek Jeter this past off-season. Brian Cashman operated with a lack of blood in his face; cold. Most recently, Posada-Gate surfaced, but what followed was another passive-aggressive attack against Derek Jeter again for his stance taken with Posada as acting Captain of the Yankees. And now it it seems as if Jeter, Posada, Cashman, and Girardi are all headed on a collision course of wills this season.
Someone is going to be left behind to tell these players they are no longer wanted. But it won't be Brian Cashman. He knows better. Besides, he's been disrespected by this Front Office one too many times. YankeeVille isn't big enough for both Cashman and Randy Levine without George around to be Supreme Allied Alpha-Male. And slowly but surley, chaos is starting to take hold. Players, managers, GM, and Front Office personnel are all acting out.
RANDY LEVINE: The Phantom Menace....Will look to replace Brian Cashman with a yes man - (not a YES Network Person); I mean a Yes Boss, Whatever You Say Boss - kind of person. Why not? If Randy Levine is stepping all over Brian Cashman's toes now, what makes you think he'll give the next GM more autonomy than Brian?
And this is when things will really start to get ugly in the Bronx. Hal is just a numbers cruncher. Hank is inconsequential in this operation. That leaves Lonn Trost and Randy Levine calling shots in Bronx County Park.
In a very short span of time, Jeter, Mo, and Posada will join Pettitte and Bernie as all being retired. By then, the Yankees will wish Tex and most of all, ARod would retire also. Robinson Cano, if he's still here, will be hitting in a line-up, alone.
The Yankees are trapped in a vicious cycle they created for themselves. They HAVE to spend $200 million on payroll. They have no choice. They are slaves to having to sell-out the Stadium to keep up with their own financial universe that is currently riddled with debt on the new park. But the down-ticks in attendance nation-wide are all beginning to be realized.
The Yankee era that started in the late 90's will end any season now. ALL good things come to an end. Joe Girardi's drama with Jorge Posada will only be the first in a series of flare-ups as the careers of some of these greats wind down. Joe Girardi will be in the unenviable position of having to make many more unpopular decisions. Only next year, Cashman won't be around to have his back.
There will be little to no patience for another stripped down version of the Yankees while a new core is drafted and groomed through the system. The Monster in the Bronx requires much more to feed on in order to sustain itself.
I envision Randy Levine and his puppet Front Office throwing bad money, after bad money, after bad money, trying to keep the momentum in the Bronx lukewarm at best.
The Steinbrenner Ownership: How Much Is That Empire In The Window?
So..., Let's face it, the children have never been overly fascinated by this aspect of Daddy's life. For all intents and purposes, Hal Steinbrenner is the only real player here. And he's already admitted to us all, the only things he's really good at in this Baseball enterprise is crunching numbers.
I'm going to share a gut feeling with you. I think as soon as the debt on the new park becomes a little more negotiable, the remaining Steinbrenners will look to sell their interest in the franchise and cash in on Daddy's Empire.
And what you may find even more incredulous of me to say, it can happen within the next five years.