Former Yankees reliever Zack Britton announced his retirement today in a piece from Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic.
In that same piece, Britton offered up his own solution for how his former team could get back on track. All they need to do is spend big and remind everyone that they’re the Yankees:
“When I was with the Orioles, you were intimidated to play them. They had so much talent. The way they carried themselves, you didn’t want to go to New York because they were so imposing and I feel like we lost a little of that when I was there,” Britton told Ghiroli. “How do you get back to that? For me, with the Yankees’ budget, they should get the best players. They have, to some extent, but really building powerhouses to make it a place people want to play. I remember hearing people say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go to New York,’ and it blew my mind.”
Britton then recalled how the Yankees once could “single you to death, steal a base, walk,” before pivoting.
We’ve covered six ways to Sunday how the Yankees can have a successful offseason and be a real contender again in 2024. Trade for Juan Soto. Be big free agency players for Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto. They’ve already checked one big box in hiring a great hitting coach in James Rowson.
So what does Zack Britton mean? Well, probably that general manager Brian Cashman needs to move on from his own version of “The Yankee Way” and loosen up. This isn’t to say he isn’t a good GM, he’s probably the best in the game despite the lack of championships.
And as much as we’d love for those Yankees of old to come back and “single to death,” it’s not happening. Baseball is officially a power game and it’s taken a shift ban to counter the rise in strikeouts and drop in stolen bases.
But even so, what Zack Britton says rings true. The Yankees sat out both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado’s free agencies. They won’t be players for Shohei Ohtani this winter and regularly ignore #YankeesTwitter’s cries to trade for Mike Trout.
This isn’t to say the Yankees need to immediately make like the late George Steinbrenner and hand every free agent and their mother big checks. Far from it. Don’t believe me? One name: Carl Pavano.
But rather, maybe Cashman needs to take all of his analytics and information and come to a crossroads of sorts. Does he go by the numbers and gamble on homegrown players who might be good long-term fits in the Bronx? Or will he use those same numbers to swallow his pride, trade a prospect, and go for a big name who will fit in New York long-term?
Granted, none of this is to say Cashman should listen to Zack Britton, but we get the idea. Somewhere along the way, the Yankees seem to only be so in practice. They spend the money and build the lineups, the strong teams. But they can’t seem to capitalize on them.
Maybe Britton’s words spark an eventful winter and high hopes heading into 2024? Stay tuned!
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