The Yankees have aggressively moved toward a younger group of players over the past month, trading veterans Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller while also releasing Alex Rodriguez and announcing that the 2016 season will be the end of Mark Teixeira’s excellent career. Looking back further, the Yankees targeted youth when dealing Martin Prado to the Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi — a move that ultimately came with mixed results — and selling high on one young asset (Shane Greene) to acquire an even younger asset at a more premium position in Didi Gregorius. While the 2016 season as a whole may be a disappointment for Yankees fans in terms of the team’s overall record, it’s also an undeniably exciting time as the future is right before them. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and many other young players have forced their way into the Majors this year. Greg Bird will be back in 2017 after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury this past spring, as well.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner discussed that youth movement with reporters, including Ken Davidoff of the New York Post and David Lennon of Newsday, explaining his palpable excitement for the possibility of a new core’s emergence. “We’ve been following these guys for three years, all the ups and downs and the progressions,” said Steinbrenner. “My goodness, the hope that you have. Then when you come up and see [Gary] Sanchez, the last two weeks, what he’s doing. And then (Austin and Judge hitting back-to-back homers in their debuts)… it would be hard as managing general partner to not be emotional about something like that.”
As Davidoff writes, Steinbrenner was acutely aware of the short-term pains that would come from continuing to add potential core components, specifically discussing the difficulty of trading away Beltran when he had been the team’s best hitter in 2016. However, he approved the acquisition of Tyler Clippard to help the club remain competitive this season and next, and the addition of Adam Warren was similarly motivated.