The Yankees come into 2016 having won 85, 84 and 87 games the last three seasons while playing in (and losing) just one playoff game in that time. They have a handful of good players, but nobody that jumps out at you and makes you want to pay $100+ just to get a glimpse at them. Now while some people might look at this squad and get discouraged, I see hope. Why? Simple, 1993. There are a lot of parallels between the team getting ready to take the field and the team that laid the groundwork for the dominating dynasty that won 5 World Series.
1993 was a year in which the Yankees front office was receiving a lot of criticism. George Steinbrenner had just been reinstated from his ban stemming from the Dave Winfield controversy. Fans were not happy with ownership and how the team seemed to stop being the Yankees. Fast forward to the 2016 offseason. There were so many big name free agents available and the Yanks signed none of them. The fans are calling for Hal Steinbrenner’s head and cursing his name, much like they were doing to dear old dad in the early 90’s. We’re the Yankees! We spend money, it’s what we do. 90+ wins a year is our birthright! What is this not spending money garbage? The fans from the 60’s and 70’s grew up watching them win, they knew nothing else. The fans from the 90’s and 2000’s grew up watching them win, what is this measly 80 or so wins a year?
The team to beat in the AL East in 1993 was the Blue Jays. They had won the World Series in 1992 and the Yanks would be chasing them again in 1993. The division belonged to the Jays in 2015 as well. They won 93 games and made it to the ALCS, leaving the Yanks in the dust. It seems they will be the team to beat in 2016 too.
The similarities don’t stop there. Paul O’Neill spent his entire career in the National League before being traded to the Bronx in 1993. Starlin Castro also spent his entire career in the NL before being traded to the Bronx this year. Both fell out of favor with the team they had played their whole careers with and wound up in pinstripes. Both teams fielded veterans whose health was starting to raise some doubt. 1993 was Don Mattingly and Mike Stanley before Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran filled the roles in 2016. The 1993 Yanks stole a beloved, lifelong member of the Red Sox in Wade Boggs. In 2016 we have Jacoby Ellsbury.