The New York Yankees were just swept by the Houston Astros in the ALCS, marking yet another season of disappointment for the team and their fans.
With a current 13-year World Series drought, a tough division to get through in 2023, and likely AL MVP Aaron Judge about to hit free agency, there are quite a few reasons for frustration in the Bronx.
But if fans are looking for even more reasons to be upset, they can revisit comments from 2018 made by General Manager and Senior Vice President Brian Cashman.
During the winter meetings in December after the end of the 2018 season, Cashman memorably declared that the Yankees were a “fully operational Death Star.”
Since he made those comments, the Yankees haven’t won a single pennant.
While they have won the division twice since, they’ve also missed out on several major free agents and watched their division rival Rays advance to the World Series in 2020.
Yankees Compared to Small Market Rays
The disappointing results are even more obvious when making a direct comparison to the Rays, who have actually won more playoff games over the same time period while spending $535 million less in payroll.
While money can clearly buy some level of postseason success, it’s nearly impossible for it to guarantee a title.
But postseason success can be random and not representative of a team’s true talent level.
Except there’s been very little benefit in the regular season as well.
Since the start of 2019, the Yankees have won 327 regular season games, while the Rays have won 322.
$535 million more in payroll, all to win an average of 1.25 games per year more than Tampa.
It seems unlikely that’s what Cashman would describe as a “fully operational Death Star,” although maybe it’s fitting considering that in the Star Wars franchise, all the Death Stars that were built got blown up.