The fledgling New York Yankees cast off three players by the annual major league trade deadline. And based on the response of some people, you’d think Samson had been stripped of his hair. The Yankees? Were Sellers? Yes, indeed. The Yankees were sellers. This is what happens in July when you, well, stink.
But before we go on, let’s make something clear here: the Yankees absolutely, positively did the right thing. The amusing part of this story is the self-aggrandizing dismay demonstrated, to at least some degree, by Yankees officials, media and fans. It was as if the Yankees selling at the deadline actually required a greater sacrifice than it would from anyone else because, well, again, they’re the Yankees. Those pinstripes are ground from onyx, you know. Then spun by hand.
Doesn’t it make you want to puke?
News flash: since the turn of the millennium, the Yankees have won one World Series. One. In the last five years, they have won one playoff series, against the Baltimore Orioles, after which they were unceremoniously pasted by the Detroit Tigers, 4-0, in the American League Championship Series. Since that time, they haven’t won a playoff game. This will mark the fourth time in the last five years that they have missed the playoffs altogether.
Oh, and the one time the Yankees did make the playoffs, they were muted by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros, 3-0, in last year’s one-game playoff. Put another way, the Yankees haven’t scored a run in the playoffs since 2012.
But oh, the dramatics. When the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman last week, general manager Brian Cashman made it clear the club was not waving “the white flag.” A few days later, when New York peddled off Andrew Miller — who is signed through 2018 — manager Joe Girardi spewed the same nonsense. Then the Yankees moved Carlos Beltran, too, and Cashman conceded that the Yankees were “pretenders” rather than contenders.
Good grief. Get over yourselves already. Getting the NFL to admit it has a concussion problem is easier than getting the Yankees to admit they have no chance.
Earth to Yankeedom: Queen Elizabeth is royalty, too. But she has as much power as bicycle pump.
But seriously, is there a more self-important franchise in the continental United States — the Montreal Canadiens don’t count — than the Yankees? The drama that accompanied the Yankees’ actions at the trading deadline (could they bring themselves to do it?) was the kind of arrogance that the New England Patriots routinely get blasted for. But at least the Patriots have won a championship since the last Summer Olympic Games. And at least they’ve won a playoff game since the last Winter Games.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I am from Boston. Prior to this year, the Red Sox — who won three titles this millennium — had been sellers at the last two deadlines. But nobody up here acted like we were pawning off our engagement rings in the process.)
Here’s the bottom line, folks: this was an easy decision, and everybody knows it. The Yankees are the worst thing you can be in sports: old, boring and hopeless. They had no real farm system to speak of. Cashman understood this better than anybody. If his soft-stepping was all a way of appeasing the Steinbrenner family, so be it. But the buildup was, at times, so theatrical in nature that it brought out the worst narcissistic qualities in anyone associated with the Yankees or New York.
You know, The City. Capital T. Capital C.
In the end, other than swallowing their oversized pride, the Yankees made one major sacrifice here: Miller, who is now the property of the Cleveland Indians for the next two-and-a-half seasons. Maybe New York can actually re-sign Chapman. Beltran was gone in November regardless. (And he, too, can come back if there is mutual interest.) What the Yankees ultimately did was something everyone else would have done and should have done in this situation at the deadline, albeit without the martyrdom.
In the end, the Yankees are just another team with almost no chance of winning and no real choice, as much as New York would like to think otherwise.
Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.