The Yankees seem to be headed for a lost season. The first one they've had in many, many years.
The issue is that it doesn’t have to be. The Yankees could actually learn something from their biggest rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
Last year, the Red Sox suffered through a season of injuries and underachievement. Heading into this season the Red Sox are still expected to struggle, but over the past season and a half, they have made a few decisions that could pay dividends both on and off the field.
Last season, the Red Sox gave significant playing time to a pair of prospects in Will Middlebrooks and Pedro Ciriaco.
This season, Jose Iglesias is batting over .500 through the first week. The Red Sox stuck with top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. to start the season, and he has ignited the Red Sox fan base.
The Red Sox still aren’t a great team and will more than likely miss the playoffs again this season. However, they are setting themselves up much better for the future than the Yankees are by playing their young guys. This is something the Yankees have to begin to consider as the season progresses.
The Yankees had an opportunity to break camp with a few young, exciting players. Melky Mesa, when he wasn’t striking out, was launching shots out of the ballpark. Mark Montgomery was wowing people with his devastating slider. Cuban import Ronnier Mustelier was a delight amongst fans, even earning his own Twitter hashtag, "Musty."
Instead of giving one of the prospects a chance to show their worth, Yankees fans are stuck not only watching the Yankees lose, but watching them lose with veteran castaways like Lyle Overbay, Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco.
The move to bring in Vernon Wells has been acceptable thus far because of the pop he has provided, but there is still limited upside when it comes to Wells.
The Yankees don’t seem to have any big league-ready prospects in their system, though I’d beg to differ that Austin Romine can’t produce more than what either Francisco Cervelli or Chris Stewart provide.
The fact is it doesn’t matter if they are ready or not. If the Yankees are going to lose, which seems to be inevitable this year, why not lose with a purpose?
In 2005, the Yankees replaced veteran second baseman Tony Womack with a little-known prospect named Robinson Cano. They made the move out of desperation but never envisioned he would be the future cornerstone of the franchise.
When competitors are given a shot to prove their worth, they are capable of surprising everyone, even themselves, with their ability.
The Red Sox have done it with a pair of their prospects, and their fans are beginning to appreciate it.
If the Yankees are going to lose, at least lose with players who want to prove they can win.