The Yankees Core 4: The Last Great Yankee Era?

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    Updated: July 18, 2014
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    Well Yankees nation, it’s been a hell of a run we’ve had since 1996. The run I’m talking about is the one involving the core 4 Yankee legends of Mariano Rivera, Andy Petite, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter. That quartet of greatness has brought Yankees fans across the globe some of the greatest moments in our sporting lives, and we can never repay them for what they brought to Yankees nation. But with the core four almost completely off the playing field with Derek Jeter retiring after this 2014 MLB season, how will we cope and prosper?

     

    The Core 4 And Why Yankees Nation Is Scared…

     

    As much as the world loves to make a bid deal about the supposed abhorrent amount of money that late great Yankees owner George Steinbrenner spent on players over the years, detractors always fail to mention that the cornerstones of the franchise for the last 20 years were homegrown Yankees. Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Andy Petite and Mariano Rivera are all true Yankees to the core and came up with the organization from the outset. With Jeter at shortstop, Petite on the mound, Posada directing traffic, and Rivera shutting the door on batters for years, the core 4 brought the Yankees 5 championships. With those 4 players on the Yankees roster, the Yankees always stood a chance to go deep in the playoffs and bring championships to the Bronx.

    If there was ever a need for a clutch hit, who was better on an 0-2 count in the playoffs than El Capitan himself Jeter? No one, and all his clutch hits and plays over his career have proved it. Whenever the Yankees needed an Ace to come to the mound and give Jeter and the boys a chance to win, Joe Torre always called on Andy Petite to go deep into the pitch count and make sure he kept rival bats quiet. And crouching behind the batters throwing guys out and quarterbacking the offense was the always-reliable Jorge Posada; who was there for a timely hit when the Yankees needed him. And last but definitely not least is the Hammer of God himself Mariano Rivera. Any man who comes out to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” is a Legend for that alone. But once Mariano touched the mound, opposing batters knew their number was up.

    In baseball there are 5 tool players meaning an athlete who excels at hitting for average, hitting for powerbaserunning skills and speed, throwing ability, and fielding abilities. Those are the ideal position players. And then there are pitchers that have multiple pitches they can beat you with. Mariano is the greatest closer of all-time and he did it with one pitch his entire career, the fastball. They say the true sign of madness is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

    Batters facing Mariano knew what was coming, were ready for it, swung thinking there would be a different result from their prior encounter with Mariano, only to find themselves walking to the dugout with a broken bat and shattered dreams. Of course George spent money to build a powerhouse team on the foundation that was the Core 4, but it all started with them. But now, there’s only one left standing, and Jeter’s run has come to its end. It looks like there may be dark times ahead for the Yankees and there isn’t another Core 4 waiting in the wings to build on.

    The Yankees have Yangervis Solarte who is still relatively young at 27 years old and is a really good 3rd basemen but he’s only hitting .255 with 6 homeruns and 31RBI’s and it’s the middle of July. And they also have their newest ace in Masahiro Tanaka who has taken Major League Baseball by storm and is just 25 years old. Tanaka is still too early in his major league career for us to know if what he’s been doing in the Majors is sustainable.

    But if what we’ve seen so far is the real deal, then the Yankees have their future ace for years to come. But barring those two and maybe a few guys in the minors, the Yankees future doesn’t seem like an envious one right now. The Yankees are an older team who are injury prone and just fighting to stay alive in their own division. The Yankees are playing .500 baseball so far this season, and are 5 back in the division behind the Baltimore Orioles. With players like Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova and Carlos Beltran on the Disabled List, the Yankees are short on arms and some hitting. Maybe the Yankees will get all those players back at the right time in August, and start making a run for October. But once the season is over, the Yankees organization as a whole has to really take a look at everything from top to bottom and figure out how this team will get back to winning trophies regularly like the fans were used to under the Core 4. 

    We will all miss what Jeter, Posada, Petite, and Rivera brought our lives since the mid-90’s. Hopefully the Steinbrenner’s have something players brewing in the minors that’ll propel the organization back into the forefront after some grooming. If not, Yankees Nation should enjoy what we have left of Captain Jeter, and what the other three Core 4 members gave us and be thankful, and happy we were part of it. I know I am.

    Follow @LSN_Frantz on Twitter

     

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