The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox go together like water and fish oil, peanut butter and mayonnaise, popcorn and ketchup…okay, you get the point. The Yankees and Red Sox fans don’t get along–at all. Some don’t like to see the Yankees and the Red Sox in the same sentence. So this might make Yankees fans cringe when I post this question: With the way the Yankees season ended, could the Yankees take a page from the Red Sox book on how to comeback even stronger than they were the previous year?
The Red Sox were in the same position as the Yankees last season, except they had it much worse. The Red Sox were in last place in 2012, they were the laughingstock of the American League East. However, a few changes here and there and the next season the Red Sox were World Series bound. Here are a few pages from the Red Sox book on how to bounce back after a lackluster season:
1) Offense, Offense, Offense–especially at catcher: The Yankees relied heavily on defensive catchers ever since Jorge Posada retired, not really caring much about the offensive part of the job (note: Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli). The Red Sox did what the Yankees failed to do: have an offensive catcher. Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the last two years has shown more power and is putting up career numbers in 2013. Sure, Saltalamacchia is hitting free agency, but it didn’t hurt the Red Sox in the past since Saltalamacchia’s bat saved a few games here and there. It also wouldn’t have hurt for the Yankees to hold onto Russell Martin last offseason–just saying.
2) Have a backup plan: Let’s face it, things are going to happen that will change the initial plan for a team. That’s why it’s important to have an effective backup plan. Going into the offseason, the Yankees have a lot of holes to fill, especially in the bullpen. Mariano Rivera retired so the Yankees technically don’t have a closer. Sure, David Robertson should be considered for the role, especially since he was the 8th inning man, but what if he can’t perform in the closer role? Again, let’s look at the similar situation the Red Sox had. The Red Sox signed Andrew Bailey to be their closer, but injuries prevented him from competing. The Red Sox had to find someone that was dominant, and they did: Koji Uehara. Now the Red Sox have a reliable closer that has been almost unhittable this season.
3) Patience: I know it’s extremely hard since there are only so many games in a season, but the Yankees have to remember that some players require a certain amount of patience, even your highest prospects. It could be easy for the Yankees to go and get a Major League ready outfielder or pitcher with the money they have but the reality is, everyone goes through growing pains. Some of the Yankees top prospects that are now Major League players (Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Ivan Nova) all needed some patience before they became the players they were today. The Red Sox know about this all too well with Will Middlebrooks. They could have traded him during his growing pains this season, but they didn’t. They stuck with him and he bounced back, proving to be a vital part to the Red Sox team.
I know it’s pretty hard to fathom the idea of the Yankees taking advice from the Red Sox but–it worked for them and now they’re in the World Series, right? Might as well give it a try.