Yankees Rumors & News
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In today’s Star-Ledger, Ed Price has a story that should warm the hearts of Yankees fans the world over.

From 1996-2000, the Yankees built a dynasty around “cornerstone players developed from within: Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.” However it was not until 2005 that the franchise returned to that strategy, thanks mainly to the increased authority granted to Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Says Price:

Cashman is convinced that if the Yankees are to win their first World Series since 2000, they will need to once again produce players from within. And having secured increased authority along with the contract he signed after the 2005 season, he has been the driving force behind an effort to make the farm fertile again.

According to Price, just three years ago the Yankees’ farm system was ranked the fourth-worst in the majors by Baseball America. Last week the magazine rated the team’s young talent pool fifth-best. That’s quite a turnaround, and evidence, according to Cashman, that there’s a method to the madness. The franchise has redoubled their emphasis on the draft, as well as bolstered their presence in the international free agent market. They’ve resisted the urge to trade top prospects for quick fixes, and most recently, they’ve traded dead-weight vets such as Gary Sheffield, Randy Johnson, and Jaret Wright in exchange for powerful young arms.

Interestingly, Price also takes a look at changes that Cashman has made to the club’s minor league affiliates, noting that the teams’ win-loss records have been de-emphasised in favor of focusing on player development. Says Price:

[Yankees owner George] Steinbrenner always wanted his minor-league teams to have success in the standings. But that meant frequent firings, the signing of older players who blocked the development of prospects and less emphasis on instruction.

“I don’t believe in winning in the minor leagues,” Cashman said. “That was a developmental objective that was listed in our minor-league guidelines and I yanked that out. When you’re executing a developmental plan, winning has nothing to do with it.

“If anybody puts winning ahead of development, then they’re out.”

It all adds up to music to the ears of starving Yankee fans.

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