Enough is enough and it's time for the New York Yankees to start making some moves pronto. No more general statements, idle threats or cliches about how it's a long season. This team is dead and listless and is in need of some serious wholesale changes.
Starting at the top the Yankees must go back to the future and install Gene "Stick" Michael as General Manager and Buck Showalter as manager. Those two are excellent talent evaluators who essentially put the Yankees back on the map in the early 1990's. These two know how to evaluate talent, cultivate a farm system, make shrewd deals and have won in New York before.
While I applaud Brian Cashman's philosophy on trying to re-structure the team to reload the farm system, re-stock the pitching depth and lower the payroll, he's not the evaluator they need to pick the right pieces. Just look at some of the moves he's made recently: Damon over Beltran in centerfield, not re-signing fan favorite Bernie Williams and leaving the bench weak, trading away Gary Sheffield one of their only righty power bats for one pitching prospect who has been injury plagued and is on the DL with Tommy John surgery, trading Randy Johnson while being naive enough to believe that Carl Pavano and or Kei Igawa would be suitable replacements for a pitcher who won 17 games, those two combined won't make 17 starts. Cashman neglected to sign proven younger pitchers in Ted Lilly and Gil Meche, citing payroll. Then he turns around not three months later and gives a 45 year old pitcher in Roger Clemens $28 million to pitch for four months! Don't even get me started with Kyle Farnsworth.
On the field as far as the manager goes, I love Joe Torre but even beloved and successful guys like Casey Stengel and Billy Martin had to go eventually. Torre seems to have lost a little zip and confidence in his coaches since Zim and Stott left. A lot of guys have seemed to tune him out for whatever reason and while he has acted as a great buffer between the owner, media and the players, it seems that now they may have taken advantage of that quality and now walk all over him. Torre doesn't have this team playing aggressively at the plate nor does he have a grip on how to handle the pitching staff as to when to take guys out or leave them in or when to rest guys or not in the bullpen.
Stick and Buck would clean house with this team. Bring the clubhouse back to "The Yankee-way." They wouldn't tolerate slackers or headcases who either don't care, have poor attitudes or don't hustle. They'd be sure to bring in guys who'd give their all, guys who are proven winners and guys who are hungry to win. They'd bring in guys like Mike Gallego, Jimmy Key, Spike Owen, Mike Stanley and Wade Boggs who are blue collar ballplayers to turn this thing around. They'd also give the kids a shot to grow and develop in order to build a new core from the farm system like they did with Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.
When it comes to this roster the Yankees need to get younger, more pitching and better defense. Getting guys such as Mark Teixeria, Torii Hunter, Ichiro and Mike Lowell who could all potentially become available either at the trade deadline or as free agents after the season would all make great fits on this club.
If I were the Yankees, right now I would dump all the dead weight, old, overpaid, listless players. I'd try to dump as much payroll as possible and try to gain as many prospects as possible. Johnny Damon would be gone, the guy can't even barely run anymore and I'd let Melky Cabrera play and develop to find out what they've actually got in him. I'd deal Bobby Abreu who has become a bad influence on Robinson Cano, much in the way that Raul Mondesi was a horrible influence on Alfonso Soriano. Deal Jason Giambi and get his always injured steroid controversy ridden butt back out to the west coast to either the Angels or A's. Trade Mike Mussina, who isn't going to get any better next year at age 39 and if at all possible deal Igawa as well and allow some of the younger starters such as Phil Hughes and Tyler Clippard to get a shot at developing and being ready for the 2008 campaign. I'd also like to see them dump Kyle Farnsworth and Luis Vizciano and let some of the young arms pitch in order to see if they can't groom the next guy to replace Mariano Rivera within the coming few years.
In addition, seeing as how they're free agents, though I'd like to see them play for no other team than the Yankees, the Yankees could potentially deal pending free agents in Rivera and Posada for some prospects with the understanding that they will re-sign them after the season is over and that the trades are for the good of the future of the team. Finally, if they know he is going to leave and or if they know he wants out for sure, they should try to deal A-Rod for as many prospects as possible because his stock has never been higher and he is by far the most tradable commodity on this team at the moment who could garner the Yanks a boatload of prospects in return. Of course A-Rod could too be dealt and opt out of his deal with the understanding that the Yankees will re-sign him in the offseason.
This is what the Yankees must to to get back on top by the time their new stadium opens in 2009. They need to cut the deadweight of overpaid headcases, get younger with more depth in the farm system and at the major league level and also they need to create more payroll flexibility in regard to the luxury tax. It may be hard to do that with so much invested in this team, but obviously it has become apparent that the players don't have anything invested in this team any longer for the most part. Thus if the Yankees want a quick turnaround in re-building the ballclub, they must act on this fast if not at the trade deadline. The Yankees have bottomed out with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, thus the string of playoffs will have been broken which is the perfect opportunity to start the foundation of a new dynasty.