A tense situation for the Yankees: the present or future?
A man walks into a doctor’s office and can only say two things: teepee and wigwam.
The doctor considers the curious case and decides he’s “too tents.”
While you may have heard the homophone joke, you may also know that the New York Yankees are in a similar position: dealing with two tenses.
They are stuck between trying to do what they can to win now and making trades and decisions that may help them for the future. While this is a baseball-specific problem for the Yankees, it’s an eminently relatable problem.
Should we go for it in the present, hoping to win, win, win now, or should we allow ourselves the opportunity to rebuild and move toward a better future by adding some education, by moving to a new house, getting a new job, or starting or ending a relationship?
We generally live in the present, because that’s what is wanted by our ids — the impulse-driven parts of our psyches. We’re hungry, we want food. We’re tired, we want sleep. We’re sick of hearing politicians who starred in reality shows turning the process into a reality show, we change the channel.
These Yankees, with their high-priced talent, glitz and glamor, and the endless celebration of their own history, have mastered the art of staring in the mirror and liking what they see. The team could easily change its name to “The Narcissi.”
Anyway, can, should, will the Yankees pull the trigger on a host of deals that may replenish a farm system, sacrificing the all-important present for a future that may not produce a better team than the mediocrity they’ve demonstrated?
I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t rely on the position of the stars, the moon or the tides to make decisions for my favorite team or for my life. Early this week the flamethrowing rent-a-closer on a one-year deal with the Yankees, Aroldis Chapman, was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a four-player package headed by stud shortstop prospect, Gleyber Torres.
How much further they can, or should, go in swapping assets, repositioning the team or realigning their strategy is a favorite game of the endless sports pontificators in the New York area, who always seem to know so much better than everyone else until a player or a team proves them wrong.
From my perspective, the Yankees aren’t a contending team. They are, as the old saying goes, exactly what their record indicates. Early this week, they were a .500 team, which means they win as many games as they lose. In the incredibly competitive American League East, where talented teams like the Red Sox overcome their own pitching flaws with sensational hitting, a win-one, lose-one Yankees team isn’t inspiring confidence.
Of course, the fun of life — and all these games — are the many unpredictable parts. Would anyone have expected the Mets to become a World Series team last year? There are no guarantees, which is what makes any present sacrifice a leap of faith.
We, the fans and the team, might not get something better by making a change.
From my armchair, however, I would plant a “for sale” sign in front of this team with a declining A-Rod, a shadow-of-himself Mark Teixeira and a smoke-and-mirrors starting pitching staff. No one is going to buy Teixeira or A-Rod, but the scales seem to be leaning toward an investment in the future. Now, if the never-give-up Yankees can change course on a faltering season, maybe we can consider moves that might help us win in the future.