As much as Yankees fans may try to convince themselves that they are okay with GM Brian Cashman doing nothing, parts of us are just not ready to fully accept that nothing will actually happen. I’m okay with it, but I still can’t believe that it’s going to be this way. All I’ve ever known in my lifetime were the Yankees that went out there and made moves, whether via free agency or trades. I haven’t liked every move my franchise has made in my lifetime, but overall I’d say they’ve done a pretty respectable job, considering in my 18 years they have won 5 World Series Championships, and I only remember them not making the playoffs once, back in 2008.
And it’s hard to believe that they’ll do nothing. I’ll never forget the day the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira on December 23, 2008. I went on the Yankees website during my last period in school only to find this article titled, “Hal: No Yanks offers to Tex…” and I left school thinking that my Christmas would be ruined. 6:30 later that night, an article was posted saying that they had signed Teixeira. It’s impossible for me to forget these kinds of things. How can one really take the Yankees organization seriously?
Sure, there are no free agents that appeal to the needs of the Yankees right now. Starting pitching, as Cashman has tirelessly noted, is the number one priority of this team. As each player – Wilson, Darvish, Buehrle, Danks, Gonzalez – found a new home that wasn’t New York, the frustrations of some fans boiled over, and rightfully so. We have to wonder what they’re up to if they let all of these players go by.
Sometimes I wondered if Brian Cashman was even conscious. Where has he been this offseason?
Although not incredibly exciting whatsoever, Cashman has made some moves for the Yankees – small, miniscule things that don’t change much – but at least he has proven to me that he is indeed alive, and may actually be working.
The two relatively recent signings were that of former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima and returning right handed bench player Andruw Jones.
The Hideki Okajima signing doesn’t do much for me. He had three great years in Boston and then became less and less effective. At 36 years old, the lefty was awarded with a Minor League deal from the Yankees and will compete for the otehr lefty-specialist spot in the bullpen. Boone Logan has managed to hold his own with that job for the Yankees, so even if the Yankees aren’t satisfied with their second-lefty options, I don’t really think it’s the end of the world.
I expected the Yankees to bring back Andruw Jones, so I’m not especially excited about this move, but I am very pleased. Andruw Jones exceeded my expectations last season, hitting .247 with 13 HR and 33 RBI, but really picking it up after the All-Star break, where he hit .291 and earned more playing time. I thought he would go off to another team and try to be an everyday player, but I’m glad he’s still with the Yankees. He has 15 years of experience, but he’s still just 34 and still has a baby-face and charming smile. And for just $2 million with additional incentives, I’d say Jones is a steal.
As I noted earlier, neither of these signings will satisfy the hungry Yankees fans. They aren’t spectacular, but they are practical, wise investments that are low-risk and high-reward. You really can’t go wrong with either Andruw Jones or Hideki Okajima.
Speaking of low-risk and high-reward and not going wrong, and keeping mind the number one priority of the Yankees this offseason, I’m wondering why the Yankees aren’t going after Roy Oswalt. Like Jones, Oswalt is a 34 year old veteran with over 10 years of experience in the Bigs. All he wants is a 1-year contract anyways, so even if he sucks, after the one year, he’ll be gone. With a career ERA of 3.21, it’s highly unlikely that he will completely flop. The Yankees are concerned with his back issues, but really? A one year contract, you won’t even do that? They signed Bartolo Colon last season, who had more than his fair share of injuries, and he was fantastic for them.
Oswalt is definitely someone for the Yankees to think about, but they better hurry. If they think for too long, he might be gone like the rest of them…
I’m not going to get my hopes up, because I don’t want to be disappointed. But this will remain in the back of my mind until I hear otherwise.
42 days until pitchers and catchers report!
I can’t wait to see my YANKEES.
A year ago at this time, I was just beginning to accept that the Yankees didn’t get Cliff Lee. That pained me for a long time, but I slowly convinced myself that it was okay, and that I had other things to look forward to in the season. I later said that I wouldn’t care how well the Yankees did – I just wanted to see some of the young guys come up and play and make an impact. I waited and waited, and finally, Jesus Montero debuted on September 1. To the surprise of many, the 21 year old got hot quickly, without letting the pressure of being the best prospect on the best team in the best city get to him. Although the season was cut short as the Yankees lost to the Tigers in the ALDS and the ultimate goal of bringing home #28 was not accomplished, I can look back on 2011 and smile. The rookie brought me hope.
I’ve been extremely busy finishing up my first semester in college, and I knew I wouldn’t have been able to follow the events of the offseason the way I would have liked to, but I made sure to check up on things every once in awhile to see if my Yanks did anything. CC Sabathia received a contract extension and Freddy Garcia was signed – moves which were either expected or not all that exciting. No major changes have been made to the Yankees yet, despite Cashman’s claims that the starting pitching is in need of improvement.
Awhile back, I did a debate saying Yu Darvish should go to the Yankees. At first I didn’t really think so, but when formulating my argument supporting that claim, I wound up convincing myself. I though Yu Darvish made a ton of sense for the Yankees. CJ Wilson didn’t appeal to me because I am not fond of giving up draft picks, and when CJ Wilson is the best pitcher on the market, there’s a problem. I didn’t want the Yankees to overpay for him.
Now I know Darvish isn’t going to be cheap, but I still think he made sense for the Yankees. The posting fee wouldn’t have counted towards the luxury tax threshold that the Yankees are trying to get under – it’s just disposable money, and the Yankees have a fair amount of that. Besides, since they didn’t do anything else this offseason, they could have put in a better bid than one that was described as just “modest.” I don’t know what Darvish’s actual contract would be, but what I do know is that many are wary of giving a rather large deal to a guy who is unproven in America. Still, there’s risk with every player. Who knows if CJ Wilson would have been able to succeed in New York? And the rookies, as much as I want to see them, they’re unproven as well. Granted, they don’t have the same kind of price tag…
I know Yu Darvish is a risk, but I wish the Yankees pursued him more actively. They’ve been scouting him for years now. I know so many people who say just that because he’s from Japan, they don’t want him. And yes, I know teams have been burned by international signings before – I remember Igawa. But Darvish is supposed to be ten times better than all the other international signings combined. To me, if you can pitch, you can pitch no matter where you are on the globe. Darvish is extremely, incredibly dominant in Japan. Maybe in the United States, he’d be just regular-dominant – perfect for a number-two starter.
Yu Darvish was all I wanted for Christmas this year from Cashman, much like Cliff Lee was all I wanted last year. The free agent market for starting pitching is pretty dry this year, and Darvish to me was the best free-agent option. And if nothing else, it would have been exciting to have him on the Yankees. Darvish is headed to Texas, and the better free agents are no longer available, but the Yankees are still in need of pitching. What’s going to happen?
They could either sign low-risk and high-reward guys like they did with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia last year, or they can trade for someone more suitable for the top of the rotation. Neither of these ideas is too appealing to me.
Or, the Yankees can do nothing.
To my surprise, I support the latter option.
Yu Darvish was kind of like a checkpoint for me: if they signed him, great, I’m beyond satisfied. I would have known that their earlier inactivity was because they were focused on him. To me, he was the deal of the offseason. Since he’s not coming to the Yankees and there’s no one else to sign, I don’t want anyone. I don’t want to trade just to trade. The rookies gave me hope last year, and the more time passes, the more the prospects are getting more ready to play in the Bigs. I want them to do so as Yankees. I don’t want them to be traded away. And like I said before: sure, trading is perhaps less risky than signing Darvish, because you’d be trading for someone who had success in this league. But success in the Majors does not by any means guarantee success on the New York Yankees. I’ve seen countless good players come to New York and underperform beyond belief. In this case, I don’t think trading for a guy is any better than letting the rookies pitch. They have the same upside – but the cost is way different.
Trading for a starting pitcher wouldn’t guarantee a championship anyways, and trading away the prospects that I’ve been dying to see wouldn’t make me any more excited. Since Darvish is out of the picture now, I want the Yankees to try out their prospects. Keep Jesus Montero, and Manny Banuelos, and let’s finally see what these guys, and other guys of their caliber who we’ve heard so much about, can actually do. Sure, they definitely don’t guarantee a championship. But watching them would create a heck of a lot more excitement than any trade can do for me.
Cashman, since you’ve decided to do nothing so far, is it a lot to ask from you to do nothing for the remainder of the offseason?
Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make that help you out the most…