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As Red Sox celebrate, Cashman eyes crown

MLB.com @MikeLupica

The first Duck Boats made the turn off Ipswich Street, away from Fenway Park and onto Boylston a few minutes after 11 o'clock. They don't have a Canyon of Heroes in Boston the way they do in lower Manhattan in New York City. Only now, the Yankees haven't used the Canyon of Heroes for a World Series parade in nine years. The Red Sox? They get their fourth parade in 15 seasons.

"I hate losing," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said a couple of weeks ago at his season-ending news conference, after the Red Sox beat the Yanks in the American League Division Series, after having also beaten them in the AL East. "Hate losing to those guys."

The first Duck Boats made the turn off Ipswich Street, away from Fenway Park and onto Boylston a few minutes after 11 o'clock. They don't have a Canyon of Heroes in Boston the way they do in lower Manhattan in New York City. Only now, the Yankees haven't used the Canyon of Heroes for a World Series parade in nine years. The Red Sox? They get their fourth parade in 15 seasons.

"I hate losing," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said a couple of weeks ago at his season-ending news conference, after the Red Sox beat the Yanks in the American League Division Series, after having also beaten them in the AL East. "Hate losing to those guys."

Then Cashman said: "We're a playoff team that won 100 games, but people forget that over time."

Cashman will remember that the Red Sox got another parade and his team did not. Cashman will soon begin to chase those slow-moving Duck Boats, and hard.

Video: Boone, Cashman reflect on the Yankees' 2018 season

Before the Yankees won their most recent World Series in 2009, the previous one for them was in '00. At that point, manager Joe Torre's Yanks had won four Series in five years. It meant that the end of the century was like what a lot of the baseball century had been in the Bronx. Only now, the Red Sox have become the dominant organization of this century. Of course their four World Series -- in which the Red Sox have a won-loss record of 16-3 -- began with four straight wins after they were down 0-3 to the Yankees in the 2004 AL Championship Series.

All this time later, after the Yankees let the genie out of the bottle in Boston, the questions are these for Cashman: Who does he add to his team? How much does he spend?

After the Yankees lost Game 7 of last year's ALCS to the Astros, a series they'd led three games to two, Cashman ultimately added a whole lot: A new manager, Aaron Boone; two former National League MVP Award winners, Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen; a starter, J.A. Happ, and an elite closer, Zach Britton, both of whom had finished in the top six in the 2016 AL Cy Young Award voting.

But in the end, the Red Sox were better, and by a lot. After the Red Sox lost in the ALDS a year ago, their baseball boss Dave Dombrowski ultimately added the following to his team: manager Alex Cora, outfielder J.D. Martinez, starter Nathan Eovaldi (as much the pitching star of the postseason as David Price was) and, oh by the way, World Series MVP Steve Pearce.

Everybody knows that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the glamour free agents of this baseball offseason. Once it was thought inevitable that the Yankees would go after Harper, who is still just 26 years old and must look at the short right-field wall at Yankee Stadium the way kids look at ice cream. But would Cashman now be willing to add an insane contract for Harper to his payroll after having just added Stanton's, to whom the Yanks owe around $250 million over the next -- wait for it -- nine years? (Assuming Stanton doesn't opt out.) And if Cashman does choose to add Harper, how in the world do the Yankees stay under the new $206 million tax threshold?

Or, in light of the fact that Didi Gregorius will miss at least a portion of the 2019 season because of Tommy John surgery, does Cashman go after Machado, even though Machado raised enough red flags about his attitude in October to become a red state all by himself?

Video: The possibility of Manny wearing Yankees pinstripes

More than more offense, though, more than more stars and headlines, Cashman needs starting pitching. Somehow, the Yankees never have great starting pitching. Truly the last time the Yanks had the kind of power pitcher in the playoffs that the Red Sox had this year with Price and Eovaldi was in 2009, with CC Sabathia.

Before the season began, Cashman compared the Red Sox to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. In Boston, they thought he was just blowing smoke about a Red Sox team that had lost in the ALDS of 2016 and '17, first to the Indians, then the Astros. But it turned out Cashman was right. It is the Red Sox, not the Astros or anybody else, who looked like the Warriors of baseball this year.

Now, it is Cashman's job to do something about that. While the regular season was still going on, he said that the Yankees were a team that could "do damage" to the Red Sox. He gets his own chance between now and Opening Day. Cashman knows as well as anyone: In any baseball century, they don't sell 100-win seasons and the playoffs in the Bronx. They sell the World Series.

Everybody loves to win the way the Red Sox just did. Everybody hates to lose. But nobody hates losing to the Red Sox more than the Yankees do. The old line is about everybody loving a parade. Not when it's somebody else's.

Mike Lupica, one of the most prominent sports writers in America, is a columnist for MLB.com and the New York Daily News and is a best-selling author.

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