Not only are the Yankees stockpiling their organization with high-quality talent, they’re also making sure that they’re acquiring high-quality people.
The other day, I noticed some interesting quotes GM Brian Cashman gave to Joel Sherman of the NY Post. He essentially said that 20 years ago, clubhouse chemistry didn’t matter. You could bring in a guy that had problems and the team would overcome the distractions. However, with today’s social media culture, you can’t get away with having players that bring baggage.
According to Sherman, Cashman said:
“I do believe that — especially if you’re in a large market and you bring aboard someone that is a massive problem, that has a lot of issues — those issues become everybody’s issues, and they do drain on you…I do think that prevents you from being the best you overall can be. I believe in that. Whereas 20 years ago, you can bring anybody in and survive that. Now I don’t think it’s as easy — with social media, TMZ and stuff like that. Because you’re too busy instead of talking about the game and the results and the competition, you’re too busy talking about something that’s going on off the field or not game-related constantly. It’s a pain. It’s a problem.”
If you watched YES Network’s recent special on top prospects Blake Rutherford, James Kaprielian, Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres, you can see a trend. These guys have the character and personality to back up their physical abilities.
All four guys seem to have the kind of makeup and demeanor that suits New York. The fact that they’re all in the minors together, going through the highs and lows of trying to make it to the big leagues, can only strengthen their bond with each other. The Yankees have also implemented their “Captain’s Camp” to help their young prospects develop even further. The camp aims to teach the players how to succeed on the field, but also how to conduct themselves off it. It all appears to be part of a grand plan to develop good clubhouse chemistry.
We’ve seen what’s gone on with the Cubs in recent years and how strong veteran leadership mixed with youth can make for a positive clubhouse environment. Just a few weeks into spring training this year, there have already been stories about newly-signed DH Matt Holliday taking Frazier under his wing, offering words of advice about how to succeed at the big league level.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for the Yankees, who have a bevy of prospects waiting in the wings behind the four I mentioned above. The organization is trying to build something that can be sustained for a long period of time. You need to have the talent, but you also need to have the chemistry to make it all work.