(SP) – The New York Yankees are in first place in the American League East with the second-best record in baseball and long-time general manager Brian Cashman says the success of the 2017 team is the culmination of 20 years and $4 billion of research into how to build a good baseball team.

“I appreciate the Yankees being patient with my research. All important studies cost time and money,” he said. “And this study certainly has. But I think I have hit on something revolutionary: the best way to build a good baseball team that can win over the long-run is to invest in the farm system and then fill holes on the major league roster with solid veteran players signed to contracts that don’t mortgage the team’s future. Ta-da!”

Cashman took over as the Yankees general manager in 1998 after the franchise had been built into a dynasty by his predecessors Gene Michael and Bob Watson. He then proceeded to try to keep winning World Series by signing every baseball player he ever heard mentioned on ESPN to massive, long-term contracts.

“It turned out that didn’t work in the long run and we became and old and bloated team that was stuck trotting out a roster of players who were way past their prime,” said Cashman. “It was then that I decided to try another approach and the Yankees were thankfully okay with that, even though I had spent more than $200 million a year on my original failed hypothesis.”

Now that he has figured out how to build a good team, Cashman said he is excited to share his finding with the baseball world. But not everyone is so impressed by what Cashman has done.

“Yeah, I already figured all that out a while ago,” said Cubs GM Theo Epstein. “In fact, most teams did. But I’m glad Brian is happy with his research.”