New York Yankees: Yanks are built much like World Champion Red Sox

New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees have astonishingly not won a Division Title since the 2012 season. However, upon further thought, the Yanks are not built much different from the current Division Champion Red Sox.

For the New York Yankees, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Every current aspiring legend will always be compared to a former Yankees legend.

Much like how Aaron Judge has already been compared to Derek Jeter for his on and off the field leadership.

Much like how I would always have compared Alex Rodriguez to Reggie Jackson, not home-grown Yankees, but sluggers who were always meant to be Yankees one day.

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Just for nostalgia, much like how every Yankee rookie record Miguel Andujar was trying to break this year were Joe DiMaggio ‘s records.

The apple does not fall from the tree with this franchise. No team has been better at picking what they want their brand and identity to be and stuck with it for over 110 years now.

The Yankees have always been the Yankees. They will always be. One player will always be like another great Yankee, but still a great Yankee themselves because that standard has been set.

Well, 2019 is a different season. Not that the “Yankee Way” no longer exists, but there is a guy who gets to wear the number 0 now. Times are changing.

But, also, the apple does not fall from the tree in a different way this time. The Boston Red Sox are the World Champions. That must sting to read, but it’s a fact.

However, if there ever was a silver lining to that, it should be this. The Yankees now are built very similarly to the Red Sox, they just have not done it as long, or as well yet.

The apple does not fall far from the tree, or in this instance, the path to greatness is the same. The MLB is a copycat league now. One team and player set the market, the rest follow.

This is the situation the Yankees and Red Sox are in now.

The first comparison is World Series hero David Price to J.A. Happ. Price must have been a liability for more than he’s been an asset, but he was there when it mattered most.

The Red Sox signed Price in free agency in the offseason going into 2016, but not long before that he was playing for a division rival in the Rays and Blue Jays.

Much like J.A. Happ. Granted he was first acquired through trade but is technically on as a free agent signing now.

Like Price, he came from a division rival before the Yankees, also the Blue Jays.

The next comparison also stems from pitching with Chris Sale and James Paxton.

The Red Sox got Chris Sale through a trade. part of the package to get him the Red Sox had to give up a highly touted prospect in Yoan Moncada.

Moncada saw few reps at the MLB level with Boston.

While this offseason, the Yankees also went out and got arguably their best pitcher through trade in James Paxton.

To get Paxton, the Yankees also had to give up a highly touted prospect in Justus Sheffield, he too, saw few reps in the MLB with the Yankees.

But, those are just some of the pitching comparisons. There are more.

The Red Sox have an MVP outfielder in Mookie Betts. Betts was initially drafted by the Red Sox and came up through their system.

He came up in 2014 and has since taken the league by storm. He is a freak athlete who played multiple sports in high school.

He is also on the PBA Bowling tour. That is not important nor relevant for this platform, but it is a fun fact.

A Betts equivalent on the Yankees in Aaron Judge. While not quite an MVP player yet, he has spent his career putting up MVP numbers en-route to a rookie of the year in 2017, the same year he won the home run crown.

Like Betts, Judge plays a great outfield. And while they are two different kinds of hitters, Judge for power and Betts for average, Judge is also a freak athlete who played multiple sports in high school.

Oh, Judge was also drafted by the Yankees and came up through their system.

Each player is the respective player of their teams.

“Point blank, pay attention to how these teams are built, at least they teach us how to scratch the surface of how to build a MLB team today.”

Then, there are even a few more ways the Red Sox and Yankees are built-in similar ways.

At third base, the Red Sox have the option to play Rafael Devers. He is a 22-year-old player who struggles in the field but can hit. He made his MLB debut in 2017.

Presumably at third, at least an option at third base, the Yankees have Miguel Andujar. He is just 23 years old and is known for his bat, while not being the best fielder. He too made his debut in 2017.

Another comparison from these teams the last few seasons is their closer. Both the Yankees and Red Sox used closers that were expensive, but impactful.

Craig Kimbrel played for the Sox and did well for them en-route to their title, he is a free agent now. But, before that, he was a stud. Signed an expensive contract (around $10M a year) and the Red Sox traded years ago to get him.

Then for the Yankees, they are reliant on Aroldis Chapman. He too was a player they once traded for (and away) and then re-signed for a lot of money 5-yr, $86M contract signed in 2016.

There are even less obvious, more subtle comparisons to how these teams are built. Both have a mixture of younger and older players. Brett Gardner is similar to the Yankees now what Dustin Pedroia is to the Red Sox.

Veteran leaders who might never be everyday players again.

Then there was this offseason alone. The Red Sox brought back pitcher Nathan Eovaldi while the Yankees re-signed pitcher Zach Britton.

One last comparison could be who these teams are managed by. The Red Sox are managed by Alex Cora who played in the big leagues for 14 years and played in a World Series in 2007.

Then, the Yankees are managed by Aaron Boone who played in the big leagues for 12 years and played in the World Series in 2003.

Both managers are still young in their managerial careers, but both seem to have a special roster to work with.

The biggest thing the Red Sox have that the Yankees do not is probably a player like J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox went out and signed a prize free agent and paid a lot of money to do so.

That helped them immensely as he was a legit MVP candidate last season.

The Yankees have not spent any money on a player like that, at least not used that kind of money as impactful.

So, that alone could be the difference between the Red Sox being where they were and the Yankees being where they were.

But, the similarities to how these teams are built is wild. The Red Sox and Yankees have a combined three players in the MLB top 100 prospects list. 

So, they know stockpiling prospects are overrated and they should be traded away to get talent that helps them win now. But, they also know they just need to hang on to the ones they know will be great, like Judge or Betts. Devers or Andujar

Then, they both know that to win you need to spend money on pitching to win. Happ, Price, Britton, Eovaldi, then Kimbrel, and Chapman.

Or give a lot to get great pitching and keep them around, like Paxton and Sale.

Both teams also know the game is changing and this new wave of players need new, unique players not too far off the game themselves, Cora and Boone, not Joe Girardi or John Farrell anymore.

Point blank, pay attention to how these teams are built, at least they teach us how to scratch the surface of how to build a MLB team today.

Both of these teams have always rivaled each other and make each other better. That is why the almost always meet in the playoffs historically and why the both recently did in the 2018 ALDS.

The biggest difference between these teams is that fine attention to detail, perhaps. Maybe the Red Sox have a better bench. Maybe Cora is a better manager than Boone.

The Sox spent money on Martinez while the Yanks are waiting to get theirs.

The Red Sox’s core has also been together a tad bit longer. Betts is a seasoned veteran now, Price has been in Boston for years, and the Red Sox lost a few playoff series before winning it all.

The Yankees still have Judge ready to tap his full potential, Happ’s tenure is just beginning as is Paxton’s and the Yankees are coming off two straight heartbreaking postseason exits, maybe they are ready to win it now.

If all the Yankees have to do is wait for the right player and time to spend a lot of money on a perennial offensive player to be built almost exactly like the Sox, then they will be set.

Once Boone gets more acclimated maybe the smaller details that make the gap larger will make the gap between these teams smaller.

Either way, be patient Yankees fans. The standard for excellence in the Bronx is like no other, but what the Yankees have now, worked for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox won it all doing things this way. Are the Yankees, next or at least soon? There is a compelling reason to believe so.

Game recognizes game and we are about to un-turn a whole new rock to this wonderful rivalry.

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To be the best, you have beat the best. To beat the best, you must resemble the best. The only thing left to do is play ball.