The Yankees are at a crucial point in their historic franchise. They've come to a fork in the road and depending if they go left or right can change the franchise and have lasting implications.

Long gone are the ties to the Championship runs, with only a few pieces still holding roster spots on this team: Jeter, Posada, Pettite and Rivera.

Any logical Yankee fan knows that the key to the Yankees magical runs where built around home grown talent the likes of: Bernie Williams, Andy Pettite, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera. Then there were the role players who fit in perfectly on these teams: David Cone, David Justice, Paul O'Neill, Cecil Fielder, Darryl Strawberry, Mariano Duncan, Joe Girardi, Scott Brosius, Chili Davis and many many others.

Then came 2001 and suddenly the Yankees front office and George Steinbrenner decided to upgrade and go from bringing in role players to bringing in Super Stars and that brought us Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Kevin Brown, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Denny Neagle, Javy Vazquez, Raul Mondesi and others. That didn't work but for some reason the Yankees front office continued to try and fit the square peg into round holes.

Now it's 2008 and the Yankees are for the most part on the wrong side of 30. Bobby Abreu (35 next season), Andy Pettitte (37), Jason Giambi (38), Alex Rodriguez will be 33. Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui will all be (35). Mariano Rivera will be (39), and as great as he has been this season, all things must come to an end and don't forget and Mike Mussina (39).

Here is where the crossroads enters. Brian Cashman's first priority for next season is try and bring in CC Sabathia at whatever the cost. I honestly wouldn't care if CC gets a bigger deal than Johan Santana and I'd still be fairly okay with a Jake Peavy type of deal. That would give the Yankees a REAL Ace with Wang slotted in the better suited No. 2 spot. Now here is where I feel Cashman and the Yankees have to end this coddling of Joba Chamberlain and slot him No. 3 going into 2009. Enough with the innings cap and then yo-yoing of Rotation and bullpen. Then the 4 and 5 Slots could be filled by Spring Training Competition.

As for Mike Mussina and Andy Pettite, I maybe inclined to see Mike Mussina return with a ONE year deal. Andy Pettite, unfortunately should not be brought back. He hasn't done much this season to warrant his return and especially at his salary.

To the Yankee Prospects Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, I want see them start the season in SWB. Only if either pitches absolutely lights out should they even be considered to make the team out of Spring Training. They need seasoning and Nardi Contreras watchful eye.

If you haven't noticed by now...the Yankees need to start getting Younger and yesterday! Especially if they want to compete at top level and make another run of 14 Consecutive playoff appearances.

The changes the Yankees need to make for next season regarding Positional players.
1B: Jason Giambi experiment ends and a new era at 1B should begin. If Juan Miranda isn't the answer then the Yanks should take a serious look at Mark Texiera. Only after a CC Sabathia signing.

2B: Robi Cano. He's here to stay for some time. Yes we've experienced growing pains and he's trying to live up to his new deal. But I have to give him credit, he's batting almost .270 and there were many times this season when I thought he would give up on the year and he hasn't. He earned brownie points with me this season.

SS: Derek Jeter. NY and the Media love you...I just like you. IMO, Jeter should have moved to CF years ago but his ego and pride wouldn't let him move. If it was upto me, I'd think Jeter's days @ SS would be numbered. That doesn't mean he's moving next season but it's seriously time to start thinking about the next Yankee SS. As hard as that would be for some Yankee fans, it's reality.

3B: Alex Rodriguez. He's becoming the new face of the Yankees and he's going to be here until my future kids start Jr High.

OF: The OF is extremely crowded and will only get more crowded when, and if, Melky Cabrera return and Austin Jackson gets the shot to own CF. Bobby Abreu's had a fine season and he should be brought back for a 2 yr deal. The Yanks don't have much choice here because they don't have another RF coming up the pike. Johnny Damon's had a fine season himself and I don't see a problem with his in LF, not CF. I'd like to see Brett Gardner get a shot to hold the CF position and see him work on his bunting. A man with that kind of speed needs to know how to bunt...think Scott Posednik. Hideki Matsui has been valuable when in the lineup but as I've said the OF situation is too crowded and he does have some value. I'd look to see if someone is willing to take him off my hands for a good B, B+ pitching prospect.

Catcher: Jorge Posada/Jose Molina/Pudge Rodriguez. Jorge Posada is a Yankee institution and the Heart and Soul of this team and for Political reasons he had to be given his new deal. But Posada's days behind the plate maybe numbered and rightfully so. His main value always came from his bat and we won't know what he's got left until well into the next season. Jose Molina is a very good defensive catcher but the guy just couldn't hit himself out of a wet paperbag. He's a backup catcher for sure. He should not be starting as regularly as he is. Pudge Rodriguez is definately an upgrade offensively and possibly defensively and he should be brought back on a one year deal since we're not sure what's going to happen with Posada next season. In the wings the Yankees have Francisco Cervelli who is a good contact hitting, OBP machine and can hold his own defensively and throwing out runners. Jesus Montero is considered by may the Heir to Jorge Posada, but there are talks that by the time it's all said and done Montero maybe a 1B sort of like Carlos Delgado.

The Bullpen. IMO has been very good for the most part and has definitely impressed and been better than what we all thought it would be. Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras have become mainstays and have developed into a pretty good One Two punch. David Robertson has developed nicely and the experience he obtained this season will do wonders for him in 2009. Dan Giese has also impressed and should be allowed to return to the bullpen next season. Mark Melancon and JB Cox are coming along.

Finally, I know these are the Yankees and the media and fans won't allow the losing to continue for long but they must see the BIG picture and allow Cashman to rebuild this team...or face the same fate as the Orioles of the late 90s which failed to get younger....and when they finally noticed it was too late.