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Organizational Rankings: #3

As we reach the top three, you’ve probably noticed that they’re all coming from the AL East. It really is remarkable how strong that division is. One of the three best teams in baseball isn’t going to make the playoffs this year, and probably for the next few years. These teams are all set up for long term success, and over the next few years, we could see the strongest division in the history of baseball.

Rankings So Far

#30: Washington Nationals
#29: Florida Marlins
#28: Houston Astros
#27: Kansas City Royals
#26: Pittsburgh Pirates
#25: San Diego Padres
#24: Cincinnati Reds
#23: Colorado Rockies
#22: Detroit Tigers
#21: St. Louis Cardinals
#20: Toronto Blue Jays
#19: San Francisco Giants
#18: Minnesota Twins
#17: Chicago White Sox
#16: Baltimore Orioles
#15: Seattle Mariners
#14: Philadelphia Phillies
#13: Los Angeles Dodgers
#12: Texas Rangers
#11: Oakland Athletics
#10: Los Angeles Angels
#9: Arizona Diamondbacks
#8: Atlanta Braves
#7: Chicago Cubs
#6: Milwaukee Brewers
#5: New York Mets
#4: Cleveland Indians

#3: New York Yankees

Ownership: A+

Say what you will about the Steinbrenner’s, but the Yankees enjoy a monstrous financial advantage over the rest of baseball due in large part to the way they have expanded the Yankee brand. The creation of YES Network gave them a significant revenue stream that other teams simply couldn’t match, and while they had an inherent advantage thanks to the history of the franchise, they have capitalized on that legacy more than any other team. The Yankees can literally spend any dollar figure they want on the team and still be profitable. Money just isn’t an issue in the Bronx, and that gives them a sustainable advantage that essentially ensures their competitiveness on a yearly basis.

Front Office: B+

Brian Cashman doesn’t get enough credit for the things he’s done right in New York. Yes, the payroll gives their baseball operations department room to make mistakes that no other franchise could live with, but he’s continually targeted the highest quality of players. He’s also redirected significant cash back into the farm system to develop home grown talent, and he’s shown that he’s an adept trader when he needs to add a piece to the puzzle. The money obviously helps, but Cashman is a good GM, and the Yankees are run well.

Major League Talent: A

With expenditures on major league talent approaching $250 million (including luxury tax payments), it shouldn’t be a surprise that they have a lot of good players. I don’t even have to name them all – we all know who the players on their roster are. The offense is terrific, the rotation is excellent and deep, and the bullpen still has Mariano Rivera. The team lacks depth on the infield and has too many outfielders, but that should be a relatively easy problem to fix. The core of the team isn’t young, but the team always has enough salary obligations opening up to be a premier spending in free agency, so that’s less of an issue than it would be for other organizations.

Minor League Talent: C+

Again, thanks to the financial advantage the Yankees have, the fact that they don’t have a great minor league system isn’t that big of a deal. Jesus Montero has a great bat, but he’s not a catcher in any way, shape, or form. Austin Jackson is a solid prospect who looks like a good bet to be an average to slightly above center fielder. Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman have high ceilings and come with lots of risk. Besides Montero and maybe Jackson, most of the position players in the system are trade bait, as they probably aren’t good enough to start for the Yankees, so they’ll be shipped off for a major league player who is. It’s just the nature of the Bronx Beast.

Overall: A

When you outspend everyone else by close to $100 million, it’s hard not to win. The Yankees have done a fantastic job of creating a revenue model that works better than any other franchise in any sport, and they’re reaping the rewards of that advantage. Unless MLB intervenes and adds a third franchise into New York, it’s hard to see them ever going through a sustained down period. They are the Wal-Mart of baseball, and the machine is basically unstoppable. Love them or hate them, they aren’t going anywhere.