If the Yankees’ attempt to rebuild and restock the franchise with a fresh blend of veterans and youth hasn’t already been convincing, perhaps take the words of two Monument Park inductees.
“That’s what you are going to need in the future,” former pitcher Ron Guidry told NJ.com at the first Yogi Berra Awards Dinner last Friday in Manhattan. “You are going to need these young kids. You can’t just do it with older guys all the time. Your body doesn’t let you do the same. You need an influx of younger players. It works good when you have the right combination of old, experienced guys with the young because they bring a new vitality to the game.
“The old guys know when to tell them, ‘You’ve got to calm down.’ You are good for each other. Once you get it and you learn, you have good success. I’m not going to say it works all the time, but most of the time it does. It’s working here so far.”
The same opinion was expressed by one of Guidry’s former teammates, Willie Randolph, who was also a World Series champion with New York back in 1977.
“I’m impressed by all of the young kids. I saw them in spring training,” said Randolph, who’s worked annually as a guest instructor in Tampa. “You know the talent is there. They just have to keep learning. It’s one of those things: If you are going to count on them, you have to put them out there and let them play and let them learn. That’s the only way they are going to get better.”
From 1994 until 2004, Randolph served as a base and bench coach for the Yankees, and during that decade, he witnessed the birth, development, and ultimate triumph of the franchise’s “Core Four” of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and Jordge Posada. Now, the likes of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Greg Bird headline another young set of potentially great Yankees, but Randolph isn’t jumping to conclusions on anyone just yet.
“I’m not one of those people. I think you have to let this simmer for a while. Let them play,” Randolph said. “It’s exciting to watch these young kids show up. Fresh blood. Great talent. But baseball is a difficult game to play. We’ve all seen guys come through the pike up and down.
“I really do feel good about these kids because, it’s not that they remind me of Jeter because that’s not fair, but the way they understand the responsibility of being a Yankee. I think they understand that this is what’s expected of them: To work really hard. Don’t change. The game will humble you. Don’t get too caught up in all the hype because the game will bring you down if you let it.”