'Placeholders?' What has become of the Yankees?

Hal Steinbrenner - Mike Stobe

The Yankees are different now, for better or worse.

One upon a time The Boss ruled the New York Yankees' kingdom. He decreed that an All-Star should fill every possible position on the field.

The Boss also decreed that every big-name player available should be pursued by his empire, whether there was a place at the table for them or not. When his team lost, The Boss simply demanded more big-name stars, spending whatever it took to acquire them.

Alas, The Boss is no more. Now we have his heir, Prince Hal, at the throne and we get things like the lowly paupers who call themselves the Pittsburgh Pirates stealing a Yankee stalwart for a mere $17 million.

To add to the indignity, we get a general manager who responds and says this:

"It's possible that our catchers are right here on this roster, right now," Cashman said. "That is very well possible and more likely than not, to be honest. We'll see. Patience is a virtue, and good things come to those who wait.

"At the end of the day, we have holes to fill," Cashman said. "In the catching area, we do have placeholders there. We have people that can handle and run the game. The offense is an area that, currently, what the rest of our roster provides will be a downgrade from what we're used to."

Placeholders? Downgrade? What has become of the New York Yankees we used to know?

How will placeholders sell all of those luxury boxes behind home plate? You know, the ones that are already mostly empty during the regular season and were embarrassingly bereft of backsides during the playoffs. How will placeholders sell luxury suites? Or bring money to the YES Network? Or sell Yankee merchandise? Or. if we talk aboutwhat fans really care about, win a World Series?

Doing business on a budget, and having the bottom line be dollars rather than winning, has never been the Yankee way. It is in many ways admirable that Prince Hal and his bean counters want to get costs under control.

It makes you wonder, though, what price are the Yankees -- and their fans -- utlimately going to pay for all that bidget-cutting?

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