KELLY: In with a bang. That’s how Yankee newcomers Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge burst onto the scene.
The two under-25 rookies made their debut in style, hitting back to back home runs. It was also the first time a duo made their major league debut for the Yankees since May 1969.
For what seemed like an eternity, the Yankees took on long (read: bad) contract after contract to fill their “win-now” at all costs mentality. They re-signed Alex Rodriguez after he opted out of his already massive deal. They signed C.C. Sabthia to a never-ending contract – seriously, when does it end? They inked up Mark Teixeira for well past the first baseman’s prime.
They signed veterans like Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to provide the team with hitting, but it just didn’t seem to work.
The last three years the team has put together barely .500 records and missed the playoffs two out of the last three seasons. The team lost its appeal to fans who were more focused on saying goodbye to the legends of the past than paying attention to the team of the future.
But this year however, especially the last few months, ownership and long-time general manager Brian Cashman seemed to have a change of heart. They traded away the aging Beltran in return for Texas Rangers prospects, including Dillion Tate, last year’s 4th overall pick. He sent veteran relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller (who I was sad to see go) away for more young prospects. Ivan Nova is now a Pittsburgh Pirate and the team raked in more prospects. Overall, they brought in 12 future players for four veterans.
One of the those prospects the team got for Miller includes Clint Frazier, a first round pick in the 2013 draft. Frazier so far is known best for his hair and his good deeds.
Frazier and the rest of the prospects won’t solve all the Yankees’ problems, including the mangled starting rotation, but it’s clearly a distinct turn to the future of this organization.
Guys like the 6’8 Judge – woah! – can become new fan favorite, new “home-grown” icons that this fanbase has always loved.
At the same time, the team helped Alex Rodriguez end his baseball career, probably with a boat load of cash and got news that Mark Teixeira would be hanging up his cleats at the end of the season. These two players, and their $20 million+ salaries each, won’t be a part of the Yankees next year and for the first time in a long time, the corners will have some fresh faces.
The Yankees won’t be contenders this year, and probably won’t be next year or even the year after. But when some of these young ones hit their primes – hopefully all at the same time – the Yankees will be back in contention, much to the dismay of fans from all of the other teams.