Business of HockeyOffseason

Don’t compare the Rangers re-build to the Yankees

Photo Credit:Cesar Diaz/

Yesterday afternoon, the Yankees won on Opening Day for the first time in the last seven years.  In honor of this momentous occasion, I am here to deliver a PSA: do not compare the Rangers’ re-build to what the Yankees did.  Ever since the Rangers announced their intentions to recognize and re-build a flawed roster, some fans have been comparing the Rangers’ sell-off to what the Yankees were able to accomplish in 2016.  This is really not a fair comparison.  For those non-baseball fans amongst us, the Yankees, after several years of mediocrity (sound familiar?) made the difficult decision to buck New York sports tradition and have a deadline sell-off when it was clear they were not going to be able to contend.  They held three of the best relief pitchers in the game as trade chips for the stretch run. 

They found a market perfect storm in two franchises with massive World Series droughts (the Cubs and Indians), who were both in great positions to contend.  The returns on their trades far exceeded normal market value because of this and were able to go from a bottom 10 farm system to a top three system seemingly overnight.  Combine that with a young major league core and the Yankees are back to Evil Empire status just over a season later.  This is obviously what Rangers fans are hoping for when it comes to the turnaround on this re-build.

Here in the problem, though.  These trades coincided with the MLB ready-ness of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, Jordan Montgomery and Chad Green.  For those of you unfamiliar with these players, Judge hit 52 home runs in 2017, unanimously won Rookie of the Year, was MVP Runner up and is now the cover athlete for the MLB video game.  Sanchez is now a top-5 MLB catcher, having hit 53 home runs in his first 674 at-bats.  Luis Severino finished third in the Cy Young voting in 2017 and is considered a budding ace.   Greg Bird, while injury prone, is an incredibly productive first baseman when healthy.  Jordan Montgomery finished with the top rookie WAR for pitchers in 155 innings in 2017.  Chad Green was a revelation in the bullpen and regularly worked as a multi-inning fireman for a team that came one game from the World Series.

So, what is my point? My point is, that after selling off at the deadline, all the Yankees have to show for it is about 60 relief innings (from Adam Warren and Ben Heller) and 142 plate appearances (from Clint Frazier) from their deadline haul, so far.  The rest of the insane production the Yankees have used to turn the franchise around has come from players who were already in the organization.  Because of this production, they were able to dip into their prospect depth to make a couple trades (David Robertson, Sonny Gray, Giancarlo Stanton) that turned them into the powerhouse that most baseball pundits see in 2018.

The development of those players was 99th percentile stuff.  The sell-off coincided with three superstar players developing pretty much at the exact same time.  Combined with high-level, cost controlled depth, the Yankees were able to acquire additional futures that should help either this season or next (Gleyber Torres, Justice Sheffield) and are poised for a huge deadline, flush with cash and a cache of prospects.  This is not the Rangers.

The Rangers did not have a coalescence of perfect market conditions during their tear down this season.  They got more or less representative value for their trade chips, and while they have some nice young pieces in their pipeline (Shestyorkin, Chytil, Andersson, Day, etc), these guys are not turning into overnight superstars next season.  Several of the key pieces of the recent trades a couple years off (Rykov, Lindgren, Hajek, Howden) and a significant amount of value is tied up in draft picks.  Now, draft picks tend to arrive in the Show faster in hockey than baseball, but this isn’t a magic fix, especially drafting (probably) outside the top five.

The Yankees also had a very competent coaching staff.  The problem was the overpaid veterans no longer producing.  There was no issue with the on-field strategy.  Obviously, if the Rangers move on from their current coaching staff, that is a step in the right direction, but this is also going to require a wholesale system change.  Plus, you have significant roster turnover that still needs to happen in order to maximize the team’s current and future talent level.

I guess, my point is that it is too easy to associate and compare the similar strategies of two franchises in this market, because coinciding tear-downs are so rare in New York (unless you are the Knicks. Sorry).  The problem is, these franchises found themselves in vastly different places at the time they decided to hit the re-set button.  The Yankees did very well in their replenishment of farm system depth and were supplemented by three homegrown superstars during the process.  For the Rangers, on the other hand, there are no shortcuts or quick fixes.  This is a fundamental re-build that is going to take time and careful execution.  As the season winds down, we can only hope the front office pushes the right buttons and allows the team the opportunity to make good on its promise to fans.  Just don’t expect the 2017 Yankees.

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  • Acting like it’s going to be some long fundamental rebuild is a lame thought. JG made it pretty clear how he thought this team could compete but for the future it’s better to reup and contend next year and so on. If this was going to be a long process than Hank would have waved his NTC. Hank being on board s

    I expect moves to be made so the team can start to contend as early as 2019. This is why people like Bob Mackenzie can talk about how some major moves are still in play for the NYR brass. I guess people won’t see it coming just like Stepan and JT trades. I see someone like Kreider as a possible trade chip and there have been three times where his name has come up in this past season.

    Kreider + Zucc + Vesey and whatever else for Johnny hockey. Word is that he wants to live close to home and I’m sure NYR would be his first destination to play for. We need talent like that anyways….

    • Flames are not trading their franchise player for pieces.

      Also, I see the Rangers hanging onto Zibanejad and Kreider for a few years. They seem to be capable of shouldering top line duties while the rest of our group grows into themselves.

    • A point a game player (for 4 years now) at 24 years old. Johnny hockey is the type of player you build around, not trade as he comes into his prime. You would have to offer an incredible package to pry someone like that loose — and chances are the Flames would have to be in a rebuild mode where they would be looking for a real large package of 1st round picks plus some (a) can’t miss or near can’t miss prospects included.

  • It’s really silly to compare the Yankees with the Rangers. The Rangers have to work with a hard cap, while the Yankees could circumvent that issue by paying a fine. I believe that the NHL should do what MLB did, if you exceed the cap, your fined, but you still can field a team.

    This upcoming draft will be very interesting, and I suspect that Bob Mc Kenzie is right, we will be active in order to get a sniper, and or better position in the draft. This team will not be out of the PO’s more than a year, possibly two at the most.

    To all the Christians on this site, have a wonderful Easter. To our Jewish friends, enjoy your Passover!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • “the Yankees could circumvent that issue by paying a fine”

      But they didn’t. They were very careful to stay below the luxury tax level because the “fine” would be 50% of anything spent over that level. Yeah, the NHL’s silly hard cap is a lot lower than MLB’s equally silly “soft” cap but the Yankees did not turn around quickly because they chose to ignore it. Just the opposite. They’re paying Judge, Severino and Sanchez just north of the MLB minimum (~ $500K) and shed big salaries like Headley ($13 million) and Castro ($10 million) before acquiring Stanton (and getting a $30 million commitment from the Marlins if he doesn’t opt out after 3 years).

      • Exactly. The Yankees are built on young cheap stars and are 7th in payroll this year (and under the luxury tax). The whole point of Justin’s post is the Yankees built their team through the farm system, but we’re/are in a better spot than the Rangers trying to do the same thing. Baseball for all intents and purposes is operating with a salary cap now.

  • And there is one more huge point missed: the Yankee ownership expects to win. EVERY year. Dolan plays guitar.

  • Kreider and the low two picks for the #1 slot

    It’s Dahlin or bust.

    If you notice our depth chart we are now heavy on quality forwards and light on quality dmen.

    Dahlin is the exact kind of defenseman we want. And we can still be in on the Karlsson Thing some picks and maybe Hayes , would do the deal, we have the assets and it wouldn’t cripple the rebuild.

    Note the Swedish link. Both dmen are Swedes. And Anderson , fast, hank, zbad

    We actually have the assets to get both. How bad ass would Karlsson , Dahlin , shattenkirk, skjei, Pionk , insert one of many dmen we have, maybe Sean day?

    With speedy forwards and puck moving dmen. We could take the league by storm as early as next season.

    This is all contingent on chytil and Anderson both panning out as 2 and 3 c.

    If Gorto can swing those deals. I would be extremely impressed.

    • You’re dreaming. If any GM trades the 1st overall pick this year they should immediately be fired. I love Karlsson but just like mcdonagh, i have no interest in the next contract he’s going to get.

  • Interesting that Mint thinks Hank is in on some grand plan to turn this around ASAP. I doubt that is the case. What are we going to sign Kovy, and Nash while we are at it how about signing Jagr and maybe Bobby Orrs knee feels better now. I would have made it clear to Hank we are playing the kids if he doesn’t want to give up the NMC than expect no more than 20 starts a year as a backup while we develop young talent. The rangers need to stop this no move crap, I say no move than no sign. We are 1 for 78 I’m sure if we did away with giving no move contracts in the future we will be no worse off than 1 cup in 78 years.

  • Did anyone expect the Yankees to have the season they had in ’17? No. Was Judge considered a lock as the starting RF last spring? No. Surprises happen. Depending on who gets moved, NYR might have arguably a better core of known players next season than the Yanks had heading into last year. Much remains to be seen.

      • ” I am an adamant Rangers fan, whereas I would be hard pressed to care less about the NY Yankees. ”

        Well, Hatrick Swayze you should respond to Justin, who wrote this blog titled “Don’t compare the Rangers re-build to the Yankees”.

        • I was responding to your comment: “Don’t mention the Rangers and the NY Yankees in the same sentence.”

          No qualms with the article.

          • Well, Hatrick Swayze, The NY Yankees won 27 world series in last 100 years and your beloved NY Rangers won exactly 1 Stanley Cup in last 85 years…it’s not about MLB or NHL, it’s about WINNING. Talk about WINNING, NYY is the most successful franchise in ALL sports world, and the NY Rangers don’t belong in the same sentence with the NY Yankees.

  • So therein lies the rub…You can’t rebuild this thing overnight without LOT of luck but you can’t take years and years to rebuild because then it’s not really a rebuild, just a lot of sucky, young teams over a period of years. Just look at the Oilers. And, like the Oilers, if you take too long, you create other problems. You only have so many roster spaces and so much cap room.

    To me, this team needs another tank season at minimum.

  • I am an avid hockey fan AND an avid Yankee fan. First baseball season I can remember is ’61 when Mantle and Maris chased Ruth. My dad even took me to see a corny movie called “Safe At Home” that featured M & M, despite his being a Dodger fan. 🙂

    There is little to dislike about this Yankee team and much to like. It is filled with young talented players and several make near the major league minimum.

    The Rangers’ rebuild situation is quite different than that of the Yanks because, as others have pointed out, the Yanks had several superstar prospects in the farm system ready to come up. That is not to say that the Rangers don’t have some good kids in the wings that are close to ready, Pionk, Chytil and Andersson all look just about ready, but none are Aaron Judge. Also, the MLB cap is not a hard cap, and that makes a ton of difference.

  • How can one compare baseball and hockey rebuilds? They both have over 30 teams ( MLB/ NHL), but talent dilution is much greater in hockey because while baseball has at least 60 million participants, hockey has less than 1 tenth that. So stocking a baseball team with prospects is easier than in hockey. The richer MLB teams spend more on scouting and that pays off in talent. In the NHL, draft positioning is more important.

  • Yes with the way contracts have ballooned you need your core and surrounding players

    Very few would be signed long term…so the draft is vital

    You must manage cap space or it will haunt you…look at us…

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