Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
There are plenty of reasons to worry about and criticize the Yankees, not least of which is that they just dropped an ALDS to a Boston team that they could easily have beaten. Their manager and star offseason acquisition failed in the clutch. They need more pitching than is probably available this winter.
But one criticism that is neither fair nor rational is that the Yankees took a step backwards this year, because they did not reach the American League Championship Series. Last season, of course, they came within one game of the World Series.
A front office's goal is to create a team that can win enough in the regular season to reach the postseason. Then, you see where the randomness of October takes you. This season, Brian Cashman constructed a club that won 100 games, and Aaron Boone led it capably until the final two games. From the standpoint of roster building and management, the season was a success.
Bernie Williams, an authority on Yankee success, agrees.
"I don't 'think you should look at it that way, because in short series, anything can happen," said Williams, speaking on ESPN Radio's Michael Kay Show on Wednesday. "You can lose in the first game, in the wild card. You can lose in the World Series. You can lose in the American League Championship, and to me it's all the same, because it's just short series. And anything can happen in those short series. The thing is about getting to that point in the regular season, and having that opportunity to be part of that postseason."
"You can look at it like it was a step back, but it you're looking at it in that light, I think you're missing a little bit about what the team was all about this year … they won 100 games, man."
In 2017, the Yankees won 91 games, overcame a key mistake by Joe Girardi in the division series, and gave the Houston Astros a highly competitive ALCS. Good season. In 2018, the team took a major step forward in the regular season, then fell short against a Boston club that won 108 games. Good season.
At some point, this franchise and its fans are going to have to break free of the draconian George Steinbrenner/Derek Jeter mentality that only a championship renders a season successful. That's simply not realistic in the modern game.
Give any organization truth serum, and they'll admit that the goal of any year, from the standpoint of both competitiveness and revenue, is to be in a pennant race. A division series is great. Beyond that, you see what happens. Any playoff team can beat any other playoff team. And whether you win or lose an October series does not define your success.