The Detroit Tigers have several veteran players who are still very productive, including Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and pitcher Justin Verlander.
The New York Yankees have Masahiro Tanaka, a young veteran pitcher, and young catcher, Gary Sanchez, who in August and September 2016 hit like Johnny Bench on a hot streak. The Yankees have little else.
Both the Tigers and Yankees were being put into basically the same category during a discussion on MLB Network. Brian Kenny then showed recently recorded comments on this made by Bill James.
"You want to know yourself whether you're in or out... If you're in and out, you're out."
It was so simple and elegant. And it captured the predicament of these two venerable teams. The Yankees, especially, have been a .500 team for a few years that bounces between wanting to compete and the disgrace of quitting with two months remaining in the 2016 season. Yankee field manager Joe Girardi has consistently gotten a few more wins than run expectancy warranted. This fooled ownership and fans into thinking that the Yankees were better than they were.
So for teams that vacillate between trying to compete and trying to rebuild and pretending that they are successfully doing both, you're not. You're trying to be both in and out, which means you're out whether you want to admit it or not.