Dennis Young: The Yankees got exactly what they deserved
Alex Rodriguez is right. There haven't been too many opportunities to say that this year. His offer for the Mets has become shameless and his once brisk TV work has turned into silly, completely false fixations on home runs as "empty calories" and bunting as comfort food. But Rodriguez is on the money with his complaint that his old team - which he led to his only title in the past two decades - outsmarted themselves en route to another early exit from the AL playoffs.
Rodriguez gave up a massive uproar on Wednesday after the Yankees fell 2-1 in the ALDS two days before they were eliminated on Friday night. "With $ 240 million, you're number 1 on the payroll. You have to play your game. You've been doing it for over 120 years, you've got 27 championships, you did it as an alpha, you did it the old fashioned way Done, "Rodriguez said." The players start to say (gestures to David Ortiz), "Dad, what are we doing?" They spend so much time figuring out how to outsmart the Ivy Leaguers (in Tampa), that's not Your game. Don't play jeopardy. Play baseball ...
“We always said, Dad, if a manager can stay out of the game it would be great. Now we have to say that front offices are left out of the game. Frustrating."
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He spoke about the disastrous decision made by the Yankees, Deivi Garcia and J.A. Happily, instead of just starting Masahiro Tanaka in the second loss to the Rays, which will be a big part of the Yankee fan base all winter. (As Rodriguez rightly pointed out, there's no chance Aaron Boone had anything to do with that decision. The Yankees are run by the man who famously told Rodriguez to "shut up".) I'm less interested if he is that - or Rodriguez's millionth flip of the heel, this time in an anti-nerd crank - relitated as the core justice of his standpoint: The New York Yankees shouldn't have to do this.
Regardless of whether Tanaka started Game 2 or 3, the Yankees planned two more do-or-die playoff games with a certain permutation of the Slopfest Garcia-Happ-Jordan Montgomery. They survived one of those games, were knocked out in the other, and Tanaka, Cole, and the Bullpen had their margin of error reduced to zero. It did not work.
Perhaps they would have lost to an excellent Rays team anyway, considering Tampa Bay nearly marked Gerrit Cole in Game 1, shot at Tanaka in Game 3, and ended the Yankees offensive in Game 5. And Cashman's defenders would point out the bad luck for James Paxton and Luis Severino. But any plan based on keeping these two healthy wasn't very good at first, and there was plenty of pitching anyway by the close of trading.
Instead, the Yankees tried to beat the Rays on their own game and failed miserably. The only reason the Rays play the game this way in the first place is because they don't have the Yankees' willingness to spend any money. If the Rays invested an additional $ 150 million in payrolls to match the Yankees, you could bet they wouldn't go mad trying to find workarounds that obscure their roster restrictions. The Yankees shouldn't have the same restrictions! And inevitably, a team that is used to planning with them will be better at it, as was clear when Garcia did not seem to fully understand the plan and Happ was not remotely comfortable with it.
This is now the second year in a row that the Yankees have dropped out of the playoffs because their starting pitching wasn't good enough. Again, Cashman could say that last year's rejuvenated ball and surprisingly compressed schedule this year changed their schedule approach. I would reply again that the Yankees should be impervious to minor changes in conditions.
Passing the Yankees off as the most aggressive baseball players is tempting, and compared to the anti-union Rays and A's and the uncompetitive Red Sox, they are indeed the good guys. But the Yankees have so much more money than any other team that they can't be compared to the rest of the MLB. They can only be properly compared to themselves. And the post-2009 Yankees are hoarding more profits than ever before. As of 2018, they actually spent the lowest percentage of sales on players on a baseball team. The drought in the World Series is no accident.
This was a personable Yankees team that would have been a great thing against the Dodgers in the World Series. Instead, the AL is represented by either the Skinflint Rays or the hideous, McKinsey-optimized Astros. You can thank the stone burners for this. Again.
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