Yankees could be a 'legitimate threat' in 2017, says Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski
In a recent Q&A with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski offered high praise for Brian Cashman, the general manager of his chief AL East rival, after the Yankees pulled off a series of moves in 2016 to put their farm system in the upper echelon of MLB.
"I sure do look at them as a legitimate threat," Dombrowski said. "Brian [Cashman] wants you to think that they're not a legitimate threat. But they are a legitimate threat and they want to sneak up on you."
While spring training results mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, the Yankees have certainly exceeded initial expectations with an MLB-leading 15 spring wins entering play Friday, due in large part to the contributions from many of the team's top-rated prospects.
"Brian Cashman is a very good general manager, an outstanding general manager," Dombrowski continued. "He's done it for a long time; he's built world championship clubs and I thought they really did a nice job this wintertime in collecting some young players over the winter and at the Trade Deadline last year."
By most analyses, the Yankees boast one of the top-two farm systems in the Major Leagues entering the 2017 season, with such marquee names as Gleyber Torres (No. 3 prospect in MLB), Clint Frazier (No. 24), Blake Rutherford (No. 37) and many others littering New York's minor league affiliates.
Considering Dombrowski's win-now addition of lefty ace Chris Sale, many around baseball feel the AL East title is Boston's to lose, with the Yankees following closely behind with their formidable young core of talent. But New York's own acquisitions of veterans like Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday suggests the Yankees are closer to legitimate playoff contention than it might seem.
"[The Yankees] wouldn't make some of the moves that they did unless they felt they had a chance to win, because they've added some people, too," Dombrowski pointed out. "I think they're in a spot that they have a good club right now, they're going to get better with some of the young players and I don't think anybody should take them for granted."
For now, the Yankees' game plan heading into 2017 is to continue developing and improving their top-flight prospects while battling for an outside shot at a playoff spot. But even in their transitional period, folks around the league are taking note of the rapid strides Cashman and his club have taken to ultimately rebuild the Yankees into a powerhouse.