The Yankees and their Baby Bombers. It had a nice ring to it. The Judge’s Chambers, dreams of a new Core Five, multiple World Series. They’re the Teenie Bombers now – is that “ring” still the same?
Nearly all of the Yankees Baby Bombers have reached their teenage years. Many have been forced into foster homes along the way. Some still are struggling to learn to walk. Others have been crippled by injuries and are still trying to learn to crawl. And a precious few have sprouted into full-blown adulthood.
We shouldn’t be surprised the Yankees, and their Baby Bombers are a broken family, split into smaller pieces by time and circumstances. We say that patience is a virtue, but the word patience does not exist in the Yankees vocabulary.
And fans of the Yankees would have little or no trouble attaching names to the characterizations of the Baby Bombers that appear above. The James Kaprelian’s, Billy McKinney‘s, Tyler Austin‘s, Dustin Fowler‘s, and the Dillon Tate‘s who were traded away to accommodate the win now mentality that is ever present in the Yankees culture.
Athletic talent which is often fleeting has taken its toll on the Baby Bombers too. Those, like perennially injured Greg Bird and Clint Frazier, fall to the edge of extinction. Careers that began with a flourish are placed in jeopardy in a split second and one pitch that puts Jordan Montgomery on Dr. James Andrew’s operating table.
Still, others ply their trade in the Yankees farm system seemingly forever, leaving us to wonder if Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams will ever get a full-fledged chance to pitch for the Yankees.
It’s said that you can have too much of a good thing. And surely, Brian Cashman has been challenged by the use it or lose it needs to fit the Baby Bombers into a 40-man protected roster. And eventually, some weeding out would be required.
But imagine that a franchise like the Tampa Bay Rays or Kansas City Royals were gifted with the same crop of young talent as the Yankees. I would add the New York Mets, but they’d probably find a way to screw this up too. Then, ask yourself, would the results be the same? Would they handle the opportunity differently?
The answer, of course, is a resounding yes, they would. There would be no need to bring in the likes of a Sonny Gray, Chris Carter, Adam Lind, Neil Walker, as well as that elephant in the room, Giancarlo Stanton. The kids would get their chance. Not all of them, but most of them.
You can be sure too that the Rays and A’s would find a place in their lineup for Estevan Florial, who was just named to the All-Star team in the Arizona Fall League. The Yankees? They’ll find a way to quiet the rumble to see Florial in pinstripes in 2019, conveniently tucking him away at Triple-A Scranton – or even worse – including him in a trade for Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard when the Mets fall apart in June again.
How long will it be before the Yankees give up on Miguel Andujar because of his erratic play at third base? Conversely, will the Yankees stubbornly continue their love affair with Gary Sanchez, even if this prized Baby Bomber still can’t find a glove without a hole in it?
In the end, very little of the Baby Bombers era in Yankees history makes any sense. In contrast to their fans, the Yankees never fully bought into the Baby Bombers as an idea that would produce the next Yankees dynasty. The team went halfway in and halfway out, attempting to find an elusive mix designed to win now.
One World Series win in the 21st Century is all the Yankees get for their efforts to date. Meanwhile, that Evil Empire in Boston has four titles.
The point is this. Don’t say you will if you won’t. The Baby Bombers were (and still are) a myth in the eyes of those who make decisions in the Yankees front office. The team’s recent history is filled with mixed messages, and that needs to stop because it’s proving to be counterproductive.
Justis Sheffield or Jonathan Corbin? Estevan Florial or Aaron Hicks? Miguel Andujar or Neil Walker? Very simple – which way will the Yankees go?