Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yankees finally reshaping organizational roles in farm system

As the Kansas City Royals are set to host Game 1 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday night, the New York Yankees are knee-deep in organizational changes surrounding their farm system.

The Yankees, long scrutinized by farm system experts, have named former hitting coach and scout Gary Denbo their next senior VP of baseball operations replacing Mark Newman, according the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand. The Yanks also removed Pat Roessler who was the team’s director of player development since 1995. Newman was in his role for 15 years.

The Yankees have stated since last season that they would be taking a different approach where it concerned the farm system and this seems to be the first step in that direction. It is also believed that the Yankees will split the responsibilities into four distinct areas; pro scouting, amateur scouting, international scouting and player development as described by New York Post columnist George A. King III.

Splitting the responsibilities makes absolute sense. The fact that this was not the case is telling, considering the Yankees inability to create stars through their system, whether to place on their own roster or use as trade chips. It’s possible the team’s failure to structure the department Denbo is taking over caused overlap which reflected in poor decision making. Nothing is assured in scouting players but placing emphasis on a single aspect for one or two executives could help the Yankees gain some ground in each sector.

The Yankees have done well on the international front and signed multiple players from Latin America this summer, many of whom project to be above average major league players. The Yanks blew past the international spending limits on the assumption that the rules would change soon and basically stretched their wallets while they could. Now the club must work with these young players to elevate their game and turn them into valuable commodities.

If the division of responsibility is true, there will be at least three others heading a section besides Roessler’s replacement. It remains to be seen if those individuals are already working for the Yankees or if the club will go outside the organization for new blood.

In my view, there needs to be some influx of new personnel, but with a balance of people that general manager Brian Cashman and ownership is comfortable dealing with. The more people involved in discussions about various system decisions lends Cashman and the Steinbrenner’s a healthy selection of options for choosing the next direction of the entirety of the farm system.

For now, it’s just good to see that they are making an effort to rebuild the farm system and not simply spouting off about it verbally. We’ve heard for years how the Yanks were working to change, but for the first time, they’ve shifted the landscape. It comes at a time when the Yankees desperately need to re-establish how they handle the minor leagues in order to balance their ability to spend in the free agent market. The best of both worlds is the key to the future.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In.