In 1996, the New York Yankees began their first dynasty since the 70s.
They have failed to be one since.
It’s been 14-years actually, but Yankee fans won’t have to wait much longer.
Before getting into why the 2017 Yankees are better built for a long LONG run, let’s revisit the 1995 Yankees.
You know, the team that one year later won a World Series and then went on to win four out of five World Series and six out of seven American League Pennants.
Yeah, those ’95 Yankees.
Donnie Baseball was still in the line-up and Tony Fernandez was at short stop. Some of the soon-to-be World Series heroes were already there though.
Bernie Williams, Jim Leyritz, Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland were there. That ’95 club even had a few aging legends in the twilight with Wade Boggs and Darryl Strawberry.
The Yankees would finish 1995 second in the AL East behind the Boston Red Sox, but it was only the beginning.
During that season, the Yankees debuted a man named Derek Jeter (played just 15 games) and another soon-to-be Yankee legend Jorge Posada.
The rest is history.
The other pieces fell into place heading into 1996 by the way of those aging legends that I spoke of before. For the next few years, that was the Yankees primary method of rebuilding on the fly. When guys retired or left, they basically bought the biggest names they could find, even if they were in their final years in the Show (See: Brosius, Scott).
That’s what makes 2017 and the new Yankee rebuild so much scarier to me.
They’ve, for the most part, done it organically.
Outside of Matt Holliday, Chase Headley and Starlin Castro, the Yankees haven’t necessarily gone out and sold the farm to get stars. I don’t count Aroldis Chapman, because they let him go and got him back. Smart moves with Chapman and now Indians reliever Andrew Miller have been what has helped the Yankees rebuild from the farm system up.
There are a few older guys on the club, but depending on their durability, they all could be replaced by prospects or trades.
Chase Headley could be trade bait as Gleyber Torres makes his way up towards the Bigs. Heck, even Torres could be trade bait if the Steinbrenner sons decide to go out and pull a George and get Manny Machado who’s contract is ending soon.
In 2016, Hal and Hank earned their Steinbrenner. They forced out the aging, expensive players and even got Alex Rodriguez to step away and take some phony “special advisor” position to earn his money. Now the Steinbrenner boys will have their chance to truly channel their inner George.
Beyond Machado there will be plenty of stars available over the next few years.
Bryce Harper hits free agency after the 2018 season and with his alleged contract demands looks like he will only be available to a select few teams, like the Yankees.
The weakness of the 2017 Yankees is undeniably their starting rotation.
So far it hasn’t cost them as they sit in first place in the division, but it could be what costs them down the stretch this season. It’s also something that they can fix this offseason.
Matt Harvey could be a low-cost, high reward addition at the back of the rotation for depth. He’s had a tough go of it lately in Queens, but they always say that pinstripes help turn a career around and Harvey was a Yankees fan as a child. Sometimes fulfilling a childhood dream helps get your career on track too.
Harvey is an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season and a trade before then could be likely.
One thing that we can all agree on is that the Yankees will never stop having money to spend. That money, combined with both prospects and solid veterans available for trade is why I feel like the 2018 Yankees will be ready to begin the next Yankee dynasty.
Being such a fan of the history of the game forces me to always anticipate the next Yankees dynasty. They happen nearly every decade with few exceptions. This past 14-years has been an exception.
Other than their championship season in 2009, the Yankees have not only failed to win the World Series, but haven’t made it to one since 2002. Over that stretch, the fabled Bronx Bombers haven’t been devoid of talent and have definitely made some deep runs into October, but they just haven’t had that Yankees mystique.
Maybe it’s the fact that they left the old house that was oozing history and filled with the ghosts of Yankees past. Maybe it was the Red Sox erasing their 3-0 lead in 2004. Maybe they just did a bad job with their personnel decisions. Either way, it’s been obvious that the Yankees haven’t had that Yankees feel in quite some time. Not even in their Championship year of 2009.
That’s all changing.
The Yankees are almost back and all of us fans of the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball better start praying that 2017 is “our” year because 2018 is looking like it’s the Yankees year.
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