Hal Steinbrenner holds meeting to discuss poor state of Yankees minor league system 23


hal-steinbrennerBack in 2004, Brian Cashman asked George Steinbrenner and received greater authority in running the entire Yankees organization. One of the things that he said at the time was that there would be a greater importance placed on the team’s minor league system.

It’s been nearly 10 years since then and the only everyday players the Yankees have developed are Robinson Cano (who was a pre-2004 prospect), Chien-Ming Wang (see Cano’s note), Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes (who isn’t even that good), Austin Jackson, and a few relievers (most notably David Robertson).

On top of that the Yankees haven’t had a single decent first round draft pick since Hughes with a long list of busts including Jonathan Poterson, Joba Chamberlain, Andrew Brackman, Gerrit Cole (failed to sign), Jeremy Bleich, Slade Heathcott, Cito Culver, Dante Bichette Jr., and Ty Hensley (you may argue, but he’s already had two major injuries). You could easily include Jeffrey Marquez, C.J. Henry, and Ian Kennedy in that list, but at least they were traded before they flopped.

On top of that, some of the team’s top prospects that looked solid a year ago, including Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Manny BanuelosMark Montgomery and Brett Marshall, have all taken giant steps backwards (Banuelos still probably has time to turn it around, that is if the Yankees don’t Joba his future).

Those are pretty pathetic results, but in all that time the Yankees insist on hoarding prospects and have allowed the same people to run the system with no accountability.

But maybe, finally, after a season in which they certainly could have used as much help from the minors they could have gotten and only got Adam Warren and Preston Claiborne, maybe, just maybe, Hal Steinbrenner is finally going to hold someone accountable.

Per George King and Dan Martin of the NY Post, Steinbrenner recently held a meeting in Tampa with his front office with questions about the lack of talent in the system. Potentially in attendance were Brian Cashman, Mark Newman, head of the minor leagues, Damon Oppenheimer, head amateur scout, and Donny Rowland, director of international scouting.

This doesn’t mean that Steinbrenner actually is holding anybody accountable (and based on the way he has run the team since taking over, I don’t have faith that he will), but it means that he’s at least aware of the problem. If it continues for much longer (three first round picks this year should help) it’s going to get to a point where he no longer can ignore it.

Keep in mind that this is a much bigger deal than it used to be. Prospects are more valuable than ever before because the MLB isn’t the same as it was even five years ago. Teams can now afford to lock up their best players long-term because of revenue sharing. So guys like CC Sabathia, who was an ace in his prime when the Yankees signed him, just aren’t available anymore. His modern equivalent would have been King Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, but today King Felix was re-signed to an extension by a team that once could not retain Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr, or Randy Johnson.

Just look at the potential 2015 free agent class. There are literally no sure things and the big names that are out there are either likely to be extended before then (Chase Headley), have big question marks (Hanley Ramirez), or are the injury prone types (Brandon Morrow).

I’m pretty excited by the fact that Steinbrenner finally had this meeting, but it’s hard to expect change with a team that has been so happy with the status quo since the 2009 World Series. Hopefully I’m wrong though because the state of the Yankees farm system right now, and their track record running it for so long, has left me pretty disappointed about this team’s future.

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About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.


23 thoughts on “Hal Steinbrenner holds meeting to discuss poor state of Yankees minor league system

  • John

    Not to defend the Yankees system, but Ivan Nova and David Phelps probably deserve mention. If Hal is really going to re-think the Yankees approach to player development, somebody should remind him that the Angels picked Mike Trout with the pick the Yankees surrendered to them for signing Mark (.250 is just fine) Teixeira.

  • Tanned Tom

    Rob, typo alert "Teams can not afford to lock up their best players long-term." I think you mean that now they CAN afford to lock up their best players.
    What bothers me is that the organization knew of the 2014 luxury threshold for years and has not altered the way it did business. A more forward thinking/looking organization would have jumped at the chance to trade Sabathia and Teixeira to the Dodgers. I know there are no-trade clauses involved, but if the team was going through a rebuilding the players might have waived those clauses. Instead we're loaded with old, injury prone and expensive players. Whose fault is that? Well run clubs avoid this (see St. Louis), poorly run clubs not only can't avoid it, they embrace it (see Philly). The cure is a total about face.

  • Tanned Tom

    A change in thinking is required. This off season they should:
    DFA Cervelli, Overbay, Youkilis, Chamberlain
    Sign and trade Phil Hughes, I'm not convinced making the qualifying offer is so wise.
    Allow Rivera and Pettitte to retire
    Make every effort to trade Soriano (his stock will never be higher), Teixeira, Sabathia, Wells, Suzuki. These guys are just not part of the solution moving forward.
    Re-sign Cano, but only at a reasonable price. More than 5 years and $20 mil per and you're overpaying for a guy who has hustle issues, is not a leader in the clubhouse, and turns 31 next year.
    Re-sign Kuroda.

  • Tanned Tom

    For 2014 they should commit to the kids, keeping Jeter for 1B, Kuroda, Robertson, Nova, Gardner.
    I know that most of these guys will not prove satisfactory, but this is the rebuilding process. You keep the ones that can play and you move the ones that can't. By trading Hughes, Soriano, Wells, Suzuki, Sabathia, Teixeira you free the club from payroll issues of any kind and add some younger players.
    The rule of thumb needs to be, except for Jeter and Kuroda, they should only have players on the 25 and 40 man rosters who have a chance to be around in 5 years.

  • Mike Hickey

    We need Gene Michael again he was the hero of creating the farm system that built our dynasty years and rarely gets credit for it. There is a problem with our entire system, approach, process, people, accountability sure is needed but even more is a talented leader to fix the entire system. I am not sure Brian is the answer but can he hire someone who is?

  • Michael R

    I agree with most of TT's suggestions except Suzuki whom I feel can be very productive for 2-3 more years. He doesn't look, play, or act like he's completely over-the-hill. I just love his way of playing the game. Maybe that skews my judgment.
    Joba is a head case. The Yankees screwed him up early on and that's a shame, because he should be a big contributor and in contention for Mo's job. Unfortunately, has'nt and won't happen. He's toast, should have been traded several years ago.

  • Michael R

    I would agree that scientology is weird, however I don't agree that he's too old to produce. He can still run, has a good arm, and can play defense. Maybe not an everyday player but certainly a contributor as he is now.

  • Booey15

    I agree whole heartedly that this is a welcome, but perhaps, late meeting. In 2004 I had real hope we were going to recommit to the draft. Unfortunately, we look back and see real dudes this leadership has produced. Cito Culver was supposed to replace Jeter as SS, right? He will be lucky to get past AA. Yes, the draft is a crap shoot, but help me understand how St Louis can win and still produce the type of players, position AND pitching.
    The CBA has made this leaderships style obsolete, and they do not seem to have the ability to adapt. Interesting side observation; no latin names in the meeting attendees. Perhaps another indication of the lapse in leadership style? Whats the percent of players that come from latin countries, 25%?
    We need to clean house.

  • BillyBalls

    I believe Rob is being a little overzealous with his Yankee Prospect Busts. I mean can we say that Slade Heathcott is a bust? Any if you can say he is why arent we able to say Ivan Nova has been a success in that he is up with the big club and is pitching like an ace at this point? Why not say we traded Mark Melancon to the Astros and also Tyler Clippard to the Nats? Are they busts right now. Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy had pretty solid years (last 2). We have had some crappy first round picks but lets be fair, there are only a handful of teams like St Louis, Tampa, the mets have some young stud pitchers (2 from trades), Dodgers and Giants developed few nice studs, Boston has developed a few young players, but than look around the league, not many teams have core players being homegrown.

    Rob, you should consider doing a study ranking top players in the game and what team they were drafted and developed by and what team they are on now. Start from 2000 draft and go forward and than rank the Yankees!

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