Yankees GM Brian Cashman has done his part, and Hal Steinbrenner is signing the check. Now, it’s all on the 25 players in the clubhouse to deliver.
The focus on the Yankees is now where it belongs. They are not the Mets encumbered with excuses and a light shining on cheap owners. Nor are the Yankees the Red Sox, with a front office floundering to recover from past indulgences in a sea of red ink.
No, these are the New York Yankees, a team made whole yesterday with the signing of a true ace in Gerrit Cole. Cashman and Steinbrenner get the kudos they deserve, but the torch is now passed to Cole and Co. to bring that elusive 28th Championship home.
The Yankees season begins October 2, 2020
The Yankees will waltz through the regular season just as they would without Cole. The difference now is Game 1 of the AL Division Series when there will be no hand-wringing among the Yankees as to who gets the ball to start that game.
Gerrit Cole will deliver because that’s what he does. The question that follows, however, is whether or not he will lead the charge himself – alone and standing on the mound at Yankee Stadium to roaring cheers – or will Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Hicks be there to back him up?
Perhaps, there’s even a better question – will they be healthy enough also to take the field on that day in October?
As with Cole, we don’t worry about Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, and Masahiro Tanaka. These players will show up.
But we will come to find that with the addition of Cole, everything has changed. There is no rationalization of a season (like 2019) in which the Yankees win 103 games, only to watch the World Series on television.
We’re going back to the days when Derek Jeter stood in front of his locker, telling the reporters, but most of all his teammates, “We didn’t win anything” unless the result was a parade down Broadway and a flashy ring.
Aaron Judge was tossed about a bit when he pretty much said the same thing last season.
Last night, Judge couldn’t help himself posting this Tweet..
Steinbrenner giveth and he can taketh away
Cashman and, in particular, the Steinbrenner family, have given the Yankees a magnificent gift for Christmas. But it comes with attachments.
And for each player, your numbers during the season, however explosive they might be, mean nothing. For the money you earn, that’s what is expected. It’s the next level by which you will be measured and held accountable.
With all the irony intended, Steinbrenner, thanks to the magical negotiating powers of his GM, now has the right to say – just as his dad used to say – “Win it – or else.”
He won’t because that’s not his style. But if Steinbrenner doesn’t say it, Cashman, Judge, and Yankees fans surely will. It’s a new day – just like the old days…