Jay Jaffe is an admitted fair-weather fan when it comes to the New York Yankees. Jaffe grew up in Utah rooting for the Dodger teams of the late 1970s, so it’s natural that he was no fan of the boys from the Bronx. But when he moved to New York city in 1996, Jaffe fell fell for Joe Torre’s Yanks. Jaffe then rooted for the Bombers during their recent glory years, but now, the affair appears to be over. What gives? Well, it mostly has to do with the way the Yankee front office has operated for the past several seasons. In a recent article for Baseball Prospectus, Jaffe writes:
It’s painfully clear the Yankee front office is, if not out of ideas, then at least at an impasse as to how to implement the ones they have with creativity and foresight. In this regard, the pesky Red Sox have not only surpassed them, they figure to hold a distinct advantage going forward. Nowhere was that more clear than last October’s LCS clash. Sox GM Theo Epstein and his charges created a big edge for themselves in constructing and deploying their roster, while the Yanks drastically misused theirs. Emblematic were Game Six’s flailings of Sierra and reserve first baseman Tony Clark–two aged hitters with more than a few holes in their swings–which occurred while reserve outfielder Kenny Lofton looked on from Torre’s doghouse. Can’t anyone here run this team?
…As a fan, I look over this expensive Frankenstein knowing that it’s laden with superstars, even future Hall of Famers, a team projected by PECOTA to win 95 games, second-best in all of baseball, and likely to provide a good run in October. The Big Unit aside, however, this has the feel of déjà vû all over again. It’s not too difficult to imagine either Pavano or Wright as the next episode of Mystery Stottlemyre Theater, in which a previously effecive(ish) starter falls apart on the Yankee watch. Beyond that, it’s even less difficult to envision injury-induced collapses, major or minor, of a few older vets, the kind that can turn a 95-win wild-card team into an 87-win squad making tee times in October.
Jay isn’t the only member of Prospectus who is down on the Yankees. Joe Sheehan, a native New Yorker, and lifelong Yankee fan, has them missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993.