Mar
30

Brian Cashman’s pretty awesome off-season

By

Admiration for Brian Cashman‘s body of work is not universal in Yankeeland. He’s made a number of questionable and even downright bad moves in the past, and a number of fans have let those moves define him. While Ben, Mike, and I generally support Cashman, we also appreciate the dissenters out there. Sometimes the glasses get a bit too rosy and we need to step back for a moment. Regarding this winter, however, it’s tough to say anything negative about Cashman’s performance.

Exiting a sub-par (for them) 2008 season, the Yankees needed two things: a front-line starting pitcher and a bat. Pitching was an obvious need. The team trotted out Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner for far too many starts in 2008. No one wanted to see that happen again. The team didn’t hit too well in 2008 either, and with the productive bats of Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi headed elsewhere there was certainly a need for another middle of the lineup bat.

The bat came quickly. In mid-November Cashman acquired Nick Swisher and reliever Kanekoa Texeira from the White Sox for Wilson Betemit, Jhonny Nunez, and Jeff Marquez. There’s almost nothing bad to say about this trade in itself. Swisher is a classic buy low case, and the Yanks weren’t going to get much use out of the parts they traded. However, losing both Giambi and Abreu while adding just Swisher didn’t seem like enough. Many fans thought that the team needed another impact bat, though Brian Cashman insistent that Swisher was good enough to handle first base every day.

Fast forward to the Winter Meetings. The Yanks had offered CC Sabathia six years and $140 million at the outset of free agency, and the Winter Meetings would certainly be a time when they tried to get that signed and sealed. This is where Cashman excelled. He laid out exactly how much the Yankees wanted CC. He not only gave the typical Yanks pitch, but went so much further for Sabathia. I mean, the man flew — commercial — from Las Vegas to San Francisco so he could pitch CC’s wife. That’s dedication. Before Cashman headed back to Vegas he had told CC everything he needed to hear and had an agreement in place.

A few days later the Yanks outbid the Atlanta Braves for A.J. Burnett. So shortly after Cashman makes an almost-universally heralded move in signing CC, he made a highly questionable move in inking Burnett to a five-year deal. He’s a guy with a long injury history and who has pitched over 200 innings only in his two contract seasons. A number of fans panned Cashman for the move, and it’s tough to argue with them. Yeah, Burnett might have lived and learned, but he’s still a considerable health risk. Yet his upside is unquestionable. If healthy he could be a second ace on the Yanks staff.

The final blow came just days before Christmas, when the Yankees moved in on Mark Teixeira. All indications were that he was headed to Boston — one Boston blog even said they had an agreement in principle. After a morning of constantly refreshing Jon Heyman’s blog, I finally saw the news: the Yanks had signed Teixeira. As we later learned, not only did the dollars entice the first baseman, but so did the Yankees tactics. They laid low, surveyed the scene, kept in contact with the client, and when the critical moment came to pass they swooped in and got him.

While Burnett and Swisher were nice pickups, they’re not on the level of CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. That’s not only in terms of baseball skills, but in terms of the effort put forth by the Yanks to acquire them. They played both situations perfectly. With Sabathia they made their intentions known early and sat back while the pitcher pondered his situation. Other than a few benign quips from Yanks brass about CC’s offer not being on the table forever, the Yanks stayed quiet about the hefty lefty until they met with him at the Winter Meetings. Once there they alleviated his concerns about coming east and got the deal done. Ditto Teixeira. While Boston negotiated through the media, whether intentionally or not, the Yankees stayed back and pounced at the exact right moment. In the end, they were rewarded with the bat and the arm they needed heading into the winter.

Is that too rosy a depiction of the winter? I don’t think so. It’s just praise where praise is due. The Yankees front office, led by Brian Cashman, achieved their goals this off-season. Yes, money played a big part in it, but money was going to be an issue with both Teixeira and Sabathia anyway. We’ve seen teams turn down the money for a better situation (though Greg Maddux situations aren’t common), and the Yanks employed an effective strategy to ensure that their high bids would win them the prize. That is certainly praise-worthy.

Categories : Front Office

175 Comments»

  1. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Excellent write-up Joe.

    When in Rome.

  2. Great writeup.

    Although, you left out the part about how Cashman shrewdly ignored all the mediot pressure to trade away valuable prospects and regulars for Jake Peavy.

    Just as important as his smart signings of CC and Burnett was his smart refusal to do anything but underpay for Peavy. Adding two frontline starters without losing Cano, Hughes, AJax, Joba, etc. is the unmentioned coup of the winter.

    • Chris C. says:

      “Adding two frontline starters without losing Cano, Hughes, AJax, Joba, etc. is the unmentioned coup of the winter.”

      Don’t you think we’re jumping the gun a bit here? The season hasn’t even started yet.
      Remember what a great offseason the Yankees thought they had when they added Pavano and Wright without dealing any prospects?

      And how the Randy Johnson deal made them so ridiculously good, it was a wonder opposing teams even showed up?

      • andrew says:

        CC and AJ >>>>>>> Wright and Pavano

      • Do you even read the shit other people write before you start typing? Seriously, WTF, dude?

        I said the coup of the winter was that we got two frontline starting pitchers (CC and Burnett) WITHOUT giving up any of our prospects.

        You respond by saying that it’s too soon to tell that yet, the season hasn’t started. For proof of that, you offer the 2005 offseason, where we traded for Johnson AND signed Pavano and Wright, which makes NO FUCKING SENSE IN THE WORLD as an analogy, since we did BOTH OF THOSE THINGS (signing two free agent starters AND trading prospects for an elite starter under contract) during the same offseason. Moreover, the two pitchers we signed, Pavano and Wright, were clearly and obviously inferior pitchers to Sabathia and Burnett, thus necessitating the Johnson trade. The ’04-’05 offseason is so radically different than the ’08-’09 offseason it’s not worth mentioning here.

        Seriously, Chris, what the hell are you babbling about?

        • Chris C. says:

          You missed the fucking point, dude! The point isn’t to compare Pavano to Sabathia, or any of the other bullshit you concocted from my post.

          It was to illustrate that you don’t know the value of the moves you make until the season plays itself out. And it doesn’t matter whether prospects are involved or not……if a guy signed long term and it doesn’t work out, it’s wasted money, and a wasted roster spot.
          Yankee fans LOVED the additions of Johnson, Pavano, and Wright…….then a year later, Cashman was a bum for getting them. That was not viewed as something on a small scale when it happened………people were planning their trip to the WS after that offseason.

          • jsbrendog says:

            thats because fans are stupid for saying cashmam was a bum for getting them based on how they performed! he cant help that, he makes decisions at the time based on the info he has, ie career stats, the rpevious yr, and team needs. and well, wright and pavano didntnwork out. but I didnt even think those were good mvoes AT THE TIME! because they weren’t. they were panic moves. the randy johnson trade was A GOOD MOVE at the time, and therefore a good trade (and i fyou want to look in hindsight it is still good because ohlendorf turned into nady/marte)

            at the time, right now, some people will agree that 7 yrs might be too many for cc. but no matter what happens during his deal it doesnt change the fact that it was a great signing because we needed him more than anything else.

            the same ppl who LOVED the additions of pavano and wright are the same dumbasses who lambasted cash for them when they didnt work. they were not savior signings by any means. but they rd the paper and because mik elupica said oh YAH! ppl went ws here we come

            • Chris C. says:

              “thats because fans are stupid for saying cashmam was a bum for getting them based on how they performed! he cant help that, he makes decisions at the time based on the info he has, ie career stats, the rpevious yr, and team needs.”

              AND…….the info he had on Pavano was a guy who was injury prone. AND the info he had on Wright was that he was injury prone, and was a resurected product of Leo Mazzone. So Cash hasn’t always shown the best or judgement. But people LOVED the pick-up of Pavano and Wright at the time, and it was hailed universally in Yankeeland as a tremendous success.

              There is good and bad to EVERY move right from the outset. It is the GM’s job to know which will result from the move. These things cannot be properly evaluated right away. It’s all guesswork.

  3. Rob in CT says:

    Targetting Teixiera & CC, and getting both signed – good. I’d say excellent, but both deals are really long and the Yanks did outbid everyone else.

    Targetting AJ Burnett – ok, signing him to that contract – bad.

    The Swisher trade – excellent. I really think trading is where Cashman is best.

    No trades for CF – I’m fine with it, but CF remains a weakness. I hope, of course, that said weakness resolves internally (Gardner holds his own for a while, then Austin Jackson takes over). I trust that Cash had a look at what was available and decided to roll with Brett Melkner.

    Backup catcher – Molina has his uses, and they picked up Chris Stewart again, and he’s better than some. Mostly it’s about praying Posada is healthy.

    Backup IF – Angel Berroa? Cody Ransom? I think Cash could’ve done more here. Maybe the bench is often weak b/c it’s hard to get borderline starters to sign with the Yankees, knowing they’re going to caddy for ARod & Jeter. But I’d have liked adding Grudz… I figure he’s better than Ransom, and he could’ve maybe played some games at 2B as well (or at least there would’ve been the threat of that for Cano to ponder).

    • I’d say excellent, but both deals are really long and the Yanks did outbid everyone else.

      That is not a bad thing, that is the reality of modern baseball. 99% of the free agents in baseball sign with a team because that team outbid everyone else. In order for us to sign the players we signed we have to outbid everyone else. Every team does.

      The Braves signed Vazquez because they outbid everyone else. The Dodgers signed Manny because they outbid everyone else. The Mets traded for and resigned Santana because they outbid everyone else. The Sox secured the negotiating rights to Matsuzaka because they outbid everyone else.

      This is a silly complaint.

      • Jack says:

        Didn’t Vazquez get traded to Atlanta?

      • radnom says:

        Yes Jack, Vasquez was traded, but you could still say they outbid everyone else in terms of talent.


        This is a silly complaint.

        I don’t really agree with this. It is perfectly valid to complain if you are outbidding a team which is overbidding in the first place. I don’t think this applies to anyone this offseason excepting Burnett perhaps, but I’m hoping to be proven wrong on him.

        • I think you can complain about overpaying for someone because you don’t think that player is worth that cost amount in dollars or prospects (like, for example, my complaint that Burnett wasn’t worth a 16M AAV contract because he’s not an ace and not worth more money than Lowe), but complaining simply that we “outbid” others is silly, IMO. It’s like saying that you’re not happy that we signed Burnett because our offer was bigger than the Braves offer, that signing Burnett would have only been good had we signed him to a LOWER offer than what the Braves put on the table. Well, had our offer been smaller than the Braves offer, we wouldn’t have signed him, they would have. Nobody signs anybody without “outbidding” their competition, ever.

          Complaining about outbidding is a silly complaint. Just complain that we should have or should not have pursued a player and leave it at that.

          • radnom says:


            Complaining about outbidding is a silly complaint. Just complain that we should have or should not have pursued a player and leave it at that.

            Wrong. It is not black and white like that. It is perfectly valid to say the Yankees should have pursued Burnett but should not have topped the Brave’s highest offer. No one is complaining that the Yankees didn’t sign everyone at a discount compared to other teams.

            • A.D. says:

              Its actually perfectly acceptable that they Yankees should have perused Burnett and not topped X dollar amount, its the dollar amount that you don’t want to top, which may or may not be forced by competition.

              Its not the outbidding that matters its that because of the natural bidding process did you pay more than you think the player is worth/could have been replaced with

            • Jay said:

              Targetting Teixiera & CC, and getting both signed – good. I’d say excellent, but both deals are really long and the Yanks did outbid everyone else.

              He’s not saying we should have pursued Burnett but shouldn’t have topped the Braves offer. He’s not even speaking about Burnett at all.

              He’s saying it’s good that we pursued and signed CC ant Tex, but somewhat less good that we outbid everyone else in doing so. That’s a pretty ridiculous hair to split. How in the world he expects us to target AND sign CC and Tex, THE TWO PREMIERE FREE AGENTS ON THE MARKET, without outbidding everyone else is nonsensical. If he didn’t want us to outbid everyone else, he didn’t want us to sign them, but rather to merely target them. And targeting but not intending to sign CC and Tex doesn’t make much sense at all.

              • radnom says:

                I wasn’t talking about what Jay said. I was referring to this comment:

                “Complaining about outbidding is a silly complaint. Just complain that we should have or should not have pursued a player and leave it at that.”

                • ceciguante says:

                  agreed with you entirely, radnom.

                  i like the yanks’ offseason, generally, but given what they spent, they need to get top production out of each of these guys (‘cept swish) to get a good return on investment. esp with burnett, he was paid so much and has such a spotty health history, i can’t yet say that signing is “good” (though i certainly hope it is). if burnett pitches to both his projections and injury history, then the yanks paid an awful lot for a pretty good, but not great pitcher. that contract seems to be a product of the team’s poor prospect development of recent years.

                  but, as was said, the team freed up tons of cash with a conservative ’08 offseason, and if these guys win rings, every dollar is justified.

                • I wasn’t talking about what Jay said. I was referring to this comment: “Complaining about outbidding is a silly complaint. Just complain that we should have or should not have pursued a player and leave it at that.”

                  Yes, but Radnom, I WAS talking about what Jay said.

                  I was saying that Jay’s complaint about outbidding was a silly complaint. It’s hard for you to take issue with what I said when you’re eliminating the context with which I am saying it.

                  I brought Burnett into the discussion because I was using it to illustrate a complaint that I think is valid (and a complaint you agree with – complaining that a certain player is not worth OVERbidding for). OVERbidding for Burnett is a complaint that has merit. OUTbidding others for CC and Tex doesn’t have merit.

                  If you, or Jay, want to say that we paid too much for CC or Tex, I’ll listen to that argument. If you want to say we shouldn’t have been willing to pay more than others were willing to pay, that’s dumb. Overbidding and outbidding are not equal concepts.

          • Chris C. says:

            “), but complaining simply that we “outbid” others is silly, IMO.”

            “Complaining” because you outbid someone is different than giving pros for outbidding someone. Just a hunch…….I think it’s a bit easier for a GM of the Yankees to outbid for a blue chip player than it is for any other GM, wouldn’t you say?

            • Chris, listen closely and carefully:

              I’m not giving Cashman “props” for outbidding everyone else for a blue chip player. I’m also not downgrading him for outbidding everyone else for a blue chip player.

              I’m saying that this whole notion of “outbidding” being how we should evaluate things is stupid. It’s a meaningless quasi-complaint that has no basis in reality. Players sign deals with teams that offer them the high bid. The fact that we had the high bid for CC and Tex does not mean Cashman is either a good or a bad GM. IT MEANS NOTHING. This entire debate means nothing because it’s based on a bullshit concept that has no meaning. Trying to lessen the final judgement of Brian Cashman’s offseason because we paid more than other teams were willing to pay for the players we acquired is patently ridiculous and idiotic. He should be judged only on the decision to acquire the players we acquired, not on whether or not we “outbid” others for those players.

              Clear?

              • Chris C. says:

                “I’m saying that this whole notion of “outbidding” being how we should evaluate things is stupid.”

                Evaluate the team, no….you’re right. A team either gets good and helpfull players, or they don’t. But the thread is about the GM, so how many points you wanna give Cashman for doling out more of the old man’s money than anyone else even possesses? If you like a player, and can afford to throw him the world, God bless you! But it’s very different than being a GM that has to build by crafting thrifty trades. I think that was the guy’s point. I don’t think he meant it as a complaint.

                “It’s a meaningless quasi-complaint that has no basis in reality.”

                Except if you’re the teams that keep getting outbid. Then it’s a real headache.

                “Players sign deals with teams that offer them the high bid. The fact that we had the high bid for CC and Tex does not mean Cashman is either a good or a bad GM”

                Agreed. But that was the guy’s point. But you took it as “splitting hairs”. Like he was insulting Cashman for operating this way. I don’t think he was doing that……I think he was saying “It doesn’t take a genius to get players that way.”

                “Trying to lessen the final judgement of Brian Cashman’s offseason because we paid more than other teams were willing to pay for the players we acquired is patently ridiculous and idiotic.”

                Frankly, I don’t even know how we can even pass a “final judgement” of the offseason before we’ve even had game 1 of 2009. That in itself is a mystery. If Burnett is on the DL, Sabathia’s getting lit, and Teixeira’s hitting .240 by the All Star break, wouldn’t that all factor in on the judgement we use regarding this offseason.

                Cashman’s been the GM for 10 years now. How many ofseasons do you think he’s felt he did a bad job in heading into the season? Probably none.

                “He should be judged only on the decision to acquire the players we acquired, not on whether or not we “outbid” others for those players.”

                Oh, okay. He should be judged on the decision to acquire Sabathia, Teixeira, and Burnett. Because nobody else in the business felt it would be good to acquire those players, so he really went out on a limb.

      • Dwnflfan says:

        Not only that they didn’t outbid everyone else for Tex, Washington had the highest bid.

        Great article but one of the biggest aspects of the offseason was the decision not to offer arbitration to their free agents. If Abreu accepted then there is no Tex and the Yankees end up with too many DH’s or horrible defense in RF.

        Time is the final judge. We’ll know in 5 years how great of an offseason we’ve had.

        • Not only that they didn’t outbid everyone else for Tex, Washington had the highest bid.

          Allegedly/possibly. Washington MAY have had a higher bid. Conflicting reports on how much or how little they were actually in on that.

          IIRC, Tex picked our offer over Boston’s. So, whatever the Nationals “offer” was, it was already in 3rd place.

          • Dwnflfan says:

            Allegedly/possibly. Washington MAY have had a higher bid. Conflicting reports on how much or how little they were actually in on that.

            IIRC, Tex picked our offer over Boston’s. So, whatever the Nationals “offer” was, it was already in 3rd place.

            Allegedly, according to Washington Post writer Tom Boswell and allegedly like the Yankees allegedly had the highest offer?

            Also, I don’t know why it matters if the Nats were in 3rd place, the comment was that the Yankees outbid everyone. There is considerable evidence to say they didn’t.

            • Chris C. says:

              “Also, I don’t know why it matters if the Nats were in 3rd place, the comment was that the Yankees outbid everyone. There is considerable evidence to say they didn’t.”

              To say they didn’t outbid everyone??
              What evidence?

        • steve (different one) says:

          unless we win the World Series this year, in which case we’ll know the answer in about 7 months…

        • andrew says:

          I disagree. If Abreu accepts arb, then the Yankees don’t get Swisher, but still make a run at Tex, with Nady assuming Swisher’s RF/LF/1B/DH role.

          I know many people have applauded Cash’s ability to read the market and not offer arb, but considering what Abreu’s contract demands were, I think it would’ve been a pretty good bet that he would have denied arb and we would’ve gotten the picks.

        • Chris C. says:

          “Not only that they didn’t outbid everyone else for Tex, Washington had the highest bid.”

          Boston did.

      • Steve in MN says:

        I’m fairly certain there was little to no bidding for Manny. He had no other options.

        • If the Dodgers have a formal offer for Manny and nobody else does, they are, by definition, “outbidding” everyone else.

          • Chris C. says:

            Actually, what they did was outbid themselves, because they had a lower offer on the table which they raised for no apparent reason at all.

            Kind of like the Steinbrenner/Sheffield meal of 2003.

            • A) Their initial offer of 2/45 was the same offer he accepted. They didn’t have a lower offer on the table, they had the same offer on the table.

              B) Even HAD they raised their offer, which they didn’t, even that isn’t indefensible or necessarily wrong. Sometimes that initial offer isn’t enough to make the player choose to play for you (they may choose to play for nobody, to wait out a better offer), so raising your offer even without an intervening offer from a competitor is still the right and smart thing to do.

              • Chris C. says:

                “Their initial offer of 2/45 was the same offer he accepted. They didn’t have a lower offer on the table, they had the same offer on the table.”

                Yes…..that was their first offer. But then they pulled it off the table, and later made a lower offer. In the end, they ended up back where they started.

                “Even HAD they raised their offer, which they didn’t, even that isn’t indefensible or necessarily wrong.”

                Who said they were wrong? It sometimes looks silly when teams do it, but you’re reasoning behind why they do it is pretty accurate.
                But Sheffield just toyed with Steinbrenner…..he wasn’t going anywhere else.

      • Chris C. says:

        “The Braves signed Vazquez because they outbid everyone else.”

        No…..the Braves signed Vazquez because they were outbid for all their other targets. It’s not like they “got their man”! They had to settle for Vazquez.

        “The Dodgers signed Manny because they outbid everyone else.”

        Everyone else = nobody else.

        “This is a silly complaint.”

        Oh, you’re right. The Yankee front office is filled with geniuses for outbidding everyone else for the three top free agents, when the old man hands them the resources to outbid everyone else.

        Nevermind the 60 mill difference and the nifty 3 year opt-out. The reason Sabathia came here is because Cashman flew commercial to California!!

        • Oh, you’re right. The Yankee front office is filled with geniuses for outbidding everyone else for the three top free agents, when the old man hands them the resources to outbid everyone else. Nevermind the 60 mill difference and the nifty 3 year opt-out. The reason Sabathia came here is because Cashman flew commercial to California!!

          Ugh, again with the histrionics and strawman arguments.

          Nobody is saying Cashman is a “genius” for outbidding everyone else for CC and Tex. Stop putting words in my mouth. What I said was that Cashman shouldn’t be downgraded for outbidding everyone else, because that’s exactly what he is supposed to do.

          Jay wanted to take Cashman down a peg for outbidding everyone else for premier talent. You are doing the same.

          You’re penalizing Cashman because he did exactly what he should have done, by ingorantly insinuating that there’s some other, secret, magical, fairydust fantasyland way of doing it even better. That’s foolish reasoning. Both of you are wrong.

          • Chris C. says:

            “Jay wanted to take Cashman down a peg for outbidding everyone else for premier talent. You are doing the same.”

            No……just implying that it wasn’t as amazing a feat as it’s being made out. I mean c’mon, if the Yankees have a plan of signing the consesus top 3 FA’s on the market, and they’re the NY YANKEES, is it really that difficult? ANY GM can draw up a plan like that…….they just can’t execute it.

            I don’t think it’s taking Cashman down a peg, as much as it’s really saying, “name one other GM in the league who even has a chance to have an offseason like this??”

            Cashman basically did what the front office told him to do. He wasn’t sitting in the lab all day mixing potions to come up with the magic formula.

          • Chris C. says:

            “You’re penalizing Cashman because he did exactly what he should have done, by ingorantly insinuating that there’s some other, secret, magical, fairydust fantasyland way of doing it even better.”

            I wasn’t doing this at all. I barely understand what the fuck you’re talking about here. What other way was I saying that Cashman should have landed CC Sabatia???

            • jsbrendog says:

              i love how you come in and answer all of these points but dont address the fact that you got torched in the vasquez debate. you’re all opinion and heresay. we throw facts and you shrivel.

              (pending response: vasquez does suck, i see it with my own eyes!1!1!!)

              • Chris C. says:

                Because that’s not even worth a response……he stunk with the Yankees, stunk with Arizona, and aside from one year, stunk with Chicago.
                And don’t hand me his career ERA either……I no longer give a shit about what he did with the Expos.

                The Braves are a young, cost-conscious ballclub, and are a few years from really competing for anything big. This guy is a 33 year old exensive 4th starter at best, and they traded a pretty strong 4-prospect package to get him.

                Sorry pal, but this deal is very very stupid and makes no sense whatsoever, and I had no intention of explaining why Javy Vazquez is pointless to you or that other clown who just basically argues until he wears out his critics.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  l-e-a-r-n t-o r-e-a-d

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-313405

                  he is better than MANY MANY pitchers. but obviously stats are for nerds because you see him stink with your own eyes.

                  i didnt once give a “career era” but a breakdown of the past 9 yrs. during which he has been an above average ml starter in the american league. once again, you are wrong. thank’s for playing

                • Chris C. says:

                  HE STINKS!!!!!!!!

                  One decent year with Chicago. That’s his American league success. He aint bringing the Braves anywhere…..they’re better off breaking in some of their rookies, rather than trading four prospect for a mediocre aging pitcher like Vazquez.

                  I could give two shits if you disagree with me. It will play itself out anyway as an insignificant waste of money to an organization that always cries poverty.

      • Chris C. says:

        I’d say excellent, but both deals are really long and the Yanks did outbid everyone else.

        That is not a bad thing, that is the reality of modern baseball.

        And it’s also a reality that most long term deals will drag a team down from the middle to the end of them…….except if you’re the Yankees.
        That’s why most teams can’t even get involved in the bidding, and the ones that do know full well that they’ll get outbid by the Yankees.

        Everytime there’s a big time free agent, the entire league gauges the Yankees interest before costing themselves time and money by getting involved. The ones that do get involved are just hoping the Yankees get sidetracked by another FA and decide not to bid.

      • Rob in CT says:

        My “complaint” (knocking it down from “excellent” to “good”) was mostly about the length of the contracts, and only a teensie little bit about the $$.

    • Chris C. says:

      Backup IF – Angel Berroa? Cody Ransom? I think Cash could’ve done more here.

      Uhh, yeah. There’s a ton of great players out there that will sign for peanuts to be a backup infielder. Who’d you want him to get, Chase Utley?
      He felt Ransom was a good enough backup. I can’t argue with that. Ransom showed he’s servicable.

      “But I’d have liked adding Grudz…….”

      The guy’s almost 40! If he’s such a great bargain, why is he still looking for work? For all you know, the guy may be telling everyone he demands to start, but will only be a backup if someone overpays him.

      • Rob in CT says:

        I know that there aren’t world-beaters available for the BU-IF spot. Believe me, I’m not asking for all-stars off the bench. Where did I say that? Way to set up a nifty strawman there with Chase Utley.

        Then, in the next breath (!!) you rip my example of a possible upgrade by saying he’s old (not much of an all-star, that!) and/or may be unreasonable. If he’s telling people he must start, ok, fine, that’s silly because we’re looking for a backup. The reason I brought him up is that I think that he, even at 40 yrs old, will out-perform Angel Berroa and Cody Ransom.

        • Chris C. says:

          The reason I brought him up is that I think that he, even at 40 yrs old, will out-perform Angel Berroa and Cody Ransom.

          Well, maybe the Yankees don’t. And FYI…….there are already people in the organization who have been listening to Berroa’s old manager Tony Pena regarding the old work ethic of Berroa, and have seen the improved results of Berroa this spring under the guidance of Pena.

          Berroa may work out, or he may stink………but I actually like the fact that the Yankees are now paying attention to the players in their own camp, instead of making snap judgement trades for replacements.

  4. Mike Pop says:

    Best offseason eva!!!!!

  5. steve (different one) says:

    it was a great offseason, b/c while the Yankees always spend a ton of money and have a very high payroll, the Yankees actually spent money on superstar talent under 30. that’s who you want to break the bank for when the opportunity arises.

    Burnett is going to be controversial until he comes out and proves it to people. i am ok with that. the Yankees took a chance on what they saw last year, and i think it has the chance to work out very well.

    if Swisher bounces back to pre-2008 form, that *could* be one of the best trades of the last decade. a “Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock for Tino Martinez” type trade. if he doesn’t bounce all the way back, the Yankees will still have a very versatile, though slightly overpriced, bench player.

    • if Swisher bounces back to pre-2008 form, that *could* be one of the best trades of the last decade. a “Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock for Tino Martinez” type trade.

      Shit, it may be an even better deal than that: Hitchcock and Davis were legit prospects. I’d rate both of them as better big leaguers than Betemit or Marquez (not including Nunez because he for Kanekoa is basically a wash.)

      I’d compare it more to a different Yankees-White Sox trade, when we swapped Blaise Kozeniewski for Tim Raines in the winter of ’95-’96. We gave up a non-prospect we didn’t really need for a quality major leaguer who would help us in tons of ways.

      Except Nick Swisher wasn’t 35 at the time. A+.

      • Although, full disclosure, the Tino trade was still the bomb:

        Davis and Hitchcock (two of our top 4 prospects at the time) for Tino AND Jeff Nelson AND Jim Mecir. We gave up a lot, but we got three dynamite players.

        • jsbrendog says:

          was that a bob watson move? he was da bomb yo

          • JohnnyC says:

            Actually, the Martinez trade had been discussed prior to Watson being hired on October 23rd. Gene Michael had done the scouting and recommendations for the deal. It was Joe Molloy…then married to George’s daughter Jessica…who finalized the discussions both with the Mariners and Tino himself (to see if Martinez wanted to play for the Yankees). In retrospect, Molloy was a better Yankee executive than the other son-in-law, Steve Swindal…who famously got Torre re-signed after 2003 — over the objections of his father-in-law.

    • Chris C. says:

      “if Swisher bounces back to pre-2008 form, that *could* be one of the best trades of the last decade. a “Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock for Tino Martinez” type trade.”

      WhoooooooooH! Slow down! The Tino trade was off the charts!
      You’re forgetting that the Yankees also received Jeff Nelson and Jim Mecir in that deal!
      The Swisher trade will never come close to comparing to the Tino trade. A very good deal though if Swisher shows someothing.

      “the Yankees took a chance on what they saw last year, and i think it has the chance to work out very well.”

      Well sheesh, they had 88 mill coming off the payroll, and are now in a new bond-borrowed stadium. Not much of a chance.
      Now, the Braves offering him that kind of scratch……THAT’S taking a chance!

      • But, again, Chris, Sterling Hitchcock was a 24 year old lefty with good stuff, and Russ Davis was a 25 year old 3B with great power who had been OPS’ing in the .900′s in the minors prior to the trade.

        Yes, the Tino/Nelson/Mecir trade was a huge haul for us, but Hitchcock and Davis were both much, much, much, much better prospects in 1995 than Betemit/Marquez. Betemit/Marquez for Swisher is an out an out steal; Swisher is a legit MLB starter and neither Betemit nor Marquez will likely amount to anything better than career backups. Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis both went on to have several quality seasons as starters.

        We got more in the Tino/Nelson/Mecir acquisition, but we also gave up more. Much more.

        • Chris C. says:

          “We got more in the Tino/Nelson/Mecir acquisition, but we also gave up more. Much more.”

          I was talking about how the deal turned out, not how it looked at the time…….then I was PREDICTING the end results of the Swisher deal would not come close to measuring up. Yes I know Davis and Hitchcock were nice young prospects……..but Russ Davis gave Seattle nothing, and Hitchcock was a journeyman starter.

          Isn’t that how you’re supposed to grade deals……in hindsight?

          • Jack says:

            Isn’t that how you’re supposed to grade deals……in hindsight?

            No, it’s not.

            • jsbrendog says:

              +1

            • Chris C. says:

              “Isn’t that how you’re supposed to grade deals……in hindsight?

              No, it’s not.”

              Yes, it is. That is exsactly how trades are ultimately graded. Nobody scoffed when the Padres dealt Ozzie Smith for Gary Templeton…….seemed pretty fair, since Templeton looked to have a great offensive future, and Smith was a defensive wiz……or when the Cubs dealt Lou Brock for Ernie Boglia.

              Did Yankee fans picket the front office when McGee was dealt for Sykes? Lots of them weren’t thrilled when Kelly went to Cincy for O’Neill.

              These trades all go down in history as lopsided, yet there were critics on both sides when they were made.

              Deals are always graded in hindsight. Only people who think they’re smart evaluate them when they are made. It is the GM’s job to speculate what the future will reveal.

              • jsbrendog says:

                holy. shit.

                “It is the GM’s job to speculate what the future will reveal.”

                GET THE OUIJA BOARD AND THE CRYSTAL BALL!!

                you just proved your owon point wrong. this is specifically the reason why trades are graded when the happen. because no one, short of maybe the amazing kreskin and sean spencer, can see what the future holds. its called luck. dumb, completely random, luck. and i dont judge things based on luck.

                • Chris C. says:

                  GET THE OUIJA BOARD AND THE CRYSTAL BALL!!

                  That’s right, pal!!! They’re supposed to be able to predict the future better than others……or higher people under them who can.

                  That’s why they have that job! Because they’re more qualified to predict the future regarding baseball production that most others.

                  How many times have you seen a GM of any sport get lambasted for a player move, only to look brilliant down the road when the underrated guy he brought in becomes a building block to his team’s success? This happens quite often, and alot to the same GM. Does that mean he was just lucky, because the REAL grade on his deal was given the day it was made?????
                  According to you and the other moron, that would be yes.

      • steve (different one) says:

        WhoooooooooH! Slow down! The Tino trade was off the charts!
        You’re forgetting that the Yankees also received Jeff Nelson and Jim Mecir in that deal!
        The Swisher trade will never come close to comparing to the Tino trade. A very good deal though if Swisher shows someothing.

        yes, which was why i said “*could*”…

        meaning, if Swisher bounces back, the Yankees will have gotten a 125 OPS+ above average fielding RFer for next to nothing. which is better than Tino was for the Yankees.

        your point about Nelson and Mecir is valid.

  6. Reggie C. says:

    Is anybody else planning to follow the successes and failures of Derek Lowe? It really came down to him or AJ, and my memory holds that Cash was negotiating with both simultaneously. Lowe could be the second best pitcher in the NL East.

    • radnom says:

      Not really.

      I’ll take Burnett from age 32-37 over Lowe from 35-39 any day. The only reason to even consider Lowe over Burnett was injury risk.

      • I’ll take Burnett from age 32-37 over Lowe from 35-39 any day.

        A.J. Burnett, career ERA+: 111
        Derek Lowe, career ERA+: 122

        You may end up regretting that choice.

        The only reason to even consider Lowe over Burnett was injury risk.

        That, and the fact that he’s actually been a better pitcher. Oh, and the fact that since Lowe signed a 4/60 and Burnett signed a 5/82.5, you’re exposing yourself to much more risk with the Burnett choice.

        • radnom says:

          I am aware of all these numbers. The age range more than makes up for the one extra year that Burnett is signed for. I’m not concerned about career averages as much as I am about what they are going to do during the length of their contract, and I still like the seasons we are getting from Burnett over the ones the Braves will receive from Lowe.

          Lowe hasn’t had a season above with an ERA+ in the AL East since 2002, and hes only had 2 season above that mark total since that year. He definitely put some things together when he went out West, but I’m sure he will continue to decline and I don’t want him until his age 39 season. Over the next 4 years, I’ll take AJ.

      • Chris C. says:

        “The only reason to even consider Lowe over Burnett was injury risk.”

        Yeah, and the quality of their production as well. But hey, who looks at that stuff?

        • radnom says:

          You missed the part where I talked about their ages.

          Why would you assume their production the next 4 years is going to be the same as the last 4?

    • A.D. says:

      Lowe could be the second best pitcher in the NL East.

      Johan Santana and Cole Hamels say hello.

      • andrew says:

        Ricky Nolasco may not have the pedigree yet, but for 2009 i think he is also comparable to Lowe, not to mention 10+ years younger.

        • A.D. says:

          Yeah the Marlins have a ton of talent in that rotation with Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Volstad, Sanchez, and Miller. Could be real scary if they can all stay healthy.

          By the end of his contract Lowe could be the 3-4th best pitcher on his team, though at 39 Braves fans prob hope so, behind Hansen, Jurrjens, and Vasquez

          • andrew says:

            They way they run that organization would never fly in NY, but i love how they are constantly reloading until they have enough to make a run.

      • radnom says:

        Not to mention Lincecum..and like 6 other guys..

      • Johan Santana and Cole Hamels say hello.

        Well, technically, only one of them should be saying hello, since Reggie said that Lowe could be the second best pitcher in the NL East. Presumably, he was already ceding the “best” label to Johan, which would mean only Cole Hamels would be saying hello to that claim of being second best.

        And, yeah, Lowe can possibly be better than Hamels.

        2008 ERA+:
        Hamels – 145
        Lowe – 131

        That’s not an open and shut case. Do I think that Cole Hamels will be a better pitcher than Derek Lowe this season? Yes. If Derek Lowe had a better season than Cole Hamels (who has already been visiting with specialists regarding his barking left elbow), would I be shocked and appalled? No, I would not.

  7. Ace says:

    I still contend that it was unnecessary to out-bid the Brewers by $60 million dollars (although if he opts-out after 3 years I guess that’s a moot point). I think CC could have been had for much less money regardless of the rumors that he “preferred the west coast”

    • steve (different one) says:

      so, do you think $110M/5 for Sabathia gets it done?

      do you think no one else jumps in at that pricepoint? someone like the Angels?

      not saying you are wrong, since we have no idea, but i am fairly skeptical that the Yankees could have gotten Sabathia for an offer close to what Milwaukee offered.

      i think they could have possibly landed him without the 7th year, but i don’t think they could have gotten him for 5 years.

      and what if you put $120M/6 in front of CC?

      he is now comparing $100M/5 and $120M/6, both with 3 year opt-outs. isn’t it possible that he might not choose the Yankees in that case?

      i don’t know. i do know that Cashman would have beem utterly SAVAGED by the fanbase (not wrongfully) if he had let Sabathia get away. yet, we still question the methods that we know 100% for a fact got it done.

      hard to win in that position. if he tries to be too “cute” with Sabathia and blows it, he failed. if he goes in and takes no chances and gets it done, he still gets criticized.

      • Ace says:

        How about 6 for 135 or 140 as an initial offer? Why go directly to 160? If no one is going to match 160 why not try to save 20-30 million first?

        • Chris says:

          The Yankees started at 6/140, and went to 7/161 to close the deal.

        • A.D. says:

          While I agree, I think the thinking is the Yankees wanted to go and outbid everyone, they didn’t want any other team getting into the bidding race, because they really wanted CC, and they were going to do everything they could to get him. If they go lower it might pan out, but they may let a team like the Giants or Angels into the picture and then won’t be able to make up for it for piling money on.

          Not saying this is right, but basically the Yankees wanted & essentially needed CC more than any other team, and getting him signed so that everyone could breathe a sigh of relief was worth overpaying, essentially the baseball version of overnight delivery, they wanted the player, and they wanted him now.

          • Chris C. says:

            “Not saying this is right, but basically the Yankees wanted & essentially needed CC more than any other team”

            That’s kind of a strange statement. Why would the Yankees “need” him more than anyone else?

        • steve (different one) says:

          How about 6 for 135 or 140 as an initial offer?

          $140M was the initial offer. CC sat on it for over a month, remember?

        • Because we wanted to sign CC quickly so that we would still be in position to pursue Tex, Burnett, or possibly Manny.

          He was the first domino that had to fall. The longer he stayed on the market, the less chance we had to sign him plus Tex plus Burnett. If we play softball and let the negotiations drag on, we risk Tex taking the Red Sox or Angels offers and interrupting our plans.

  8. pete says:

    Why was signing burnett to a longer-term deal a bad idea? CC has an opt-out after 3 years, pettitte’s going after this year, wang may need to be traded…having burnett there will be a welcome sight in the future. Plus as he gets older he could be a good mentor for the plethora of up-and-coming power pitchers in the yankees system. Plus, given his injury history, wouldn’t you rather try to bank on 2-4 good years out of 5 rather than 1-2 (or maybe even 0) out of 3?

    • andrew says:

      There’s always a possibility he injures his arm and never recovers, so long term deals are never ideal for pitchers.

    • Chris C. says:

      “Why was signing burnett to a longer-term deal a bad idea?”

      Perhaps because Burnett has never shown the ability to do ANYTHING long term. Whether it be win ballgames, harness a controlled ERA, stay healthy, etc.

      “CC has an opt-out after 3 years”

      That’s not really a good thing for the Yankees, but they needed it there to bring him in. The only way Sabathia doesn’t opt out at that time, is if he’s crappy and not worth his contract.

      “having burnett there will be a welcome sight in the future
      Plus as he gets older he could be a good mentor for the plethora of up-and-coming power pitchers in the yankees system.”

      You could say that about any veteran pitcher.

      “Plus, given his injury history, wouldn’t you rather try to bank on 2-4 good years out of 5 rather than 1-2 (or maybe even 0) out of 3?”

      I don;’t understand this statement. What does “rather try to bank on” mean?
      I’d “rather try to bank on” becoming a billionaire before I’m 40. But reality prevents me from doing this.

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        The only way Sabathia doesn’t opt out at that time, is if he’s crappy and not worth his contract.

        Or if the the financial landscape is such that he can’t get anything near the $92M ($23M annually) he has remaining on his Yankees contract.

  9. Marc says:

    You missed the signing of Andy Pettite. That was a Cashman-Smart move.

    Where is Darrel Rasner nowadays? Did we trade him, release him, or is he destined to go back to minor league life??

    • steve (different one) says:

      we sold him to Japan for a cool million bucks.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

        Actually it was for a million dollars worth of sushi grade tuna, that the Steinbrenners plan on using for a fermented fish drink.

    • MattG says:

      Pettitte was one of the better plays by Cashman this off-season. Very well done.

    • Joe R says:

      He signed for like 1.1mil for a Japan team.

    • Chris C. says:

      “You missed the signing of Andy Pettite. That was a Cashman-Smart move.”

      How do you know? I’ve seen Pettitte pitch a few times this spring, and he certainly doesn’t look like a guy the Yankees had to have back. And if he runs the same shit back out to the mound that he gave in the second half of last season, then it’s not a very good move.

      Plus, it came at the expense of Hughes throwing his bast baseball in about two years this spring. This may be the real time Hughes should get his chance, and now he’s blocked by Pettitte.

      Time will tell if it’s a good move.

      • steve (different one) says:

        has Pettitte even given up a run this spring?

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        And if he runs the same shit back out to the mound that he gave in the second half of last season, then it’s not a very good move.

        For the bazillionth time, you cannot judge a move by its outcome. It must be evaluated with the information available at the time the deal was consummated. And at the time Cashman signed Pettitte, it was indeed a good signing, i.e., a pitcher who projects to give you 200 innings at about league average ERA.

        Whether or not Pettitte does that does not define the deal, although a majority of fans, and even sportswriters, think so.

        • Chris C. says:

          “For the bazillionth time, you cannot judge a move by its outcome.”

          LMAO. How do you suppose team owners judge the moves of their GM’s?

          If a player is signed, then he flops, we’re supposed to give the GM a pass because the fans threw him a party when the player was signed?

          • Sometimes good process leads to poor results. Sometimes poor process leads to good results. On the whole, those things will even out, and good process will bring more good results, and bad process will bring more bad results.

            Judging a move by how it plays out on the field is a fool’s game. It’s the easiest way to do it, of course, but it’s still a fool’s game. A move is either the right move or the wrong move at the time it is consummated. It doesn’t change after the fact.

            • Chris C. says:

              “Sometimes good process leads to poor results.”

              I agree. Nobody’s perfect. It’s the GM’s job to make sure his processes lead to more good results than poor ones. Because if they don’t, he will be out of a job, and might have to change his methods should he get another opportunity.

              “A move is either the right move or the wrong move at the time it is consummated.

              What a load of crap! If I showed you a trade in which one guy was dealt for a package of 4 prospects, there’s NO WAY you can possibly know if that was the right or wrong move immidiately.
              You know for sure if Sabathia or Burnett will live up to their contracts? No.
              Heck, one of Brian Cashman favorite statements is “Time will tell if it was the right move or not! HE says this just about every time someone asks him about a transaction…….and he’s absolutely right!”

              • No, you don’t know for sure. That’s the entire point. No one knows for sure if any move will work out. That’s why it must be judged at the time it is consummated, based on knowledge available at the time. That’s the process. That’s how you grade moves.

                As I said, and as you agreed, if your process is good over time you’ll see more positive results than negative. Yet even the best process, set in the random world of baseball, will not yield positive results even 90 percent of the time. 80 percent might even be a stretch. That’s because information is constantly changing and evolving. If a move’s results don’t work out you can revisit the process and determine if there is a component of it which led to the poor result. If so, then the process (and thereby the GM who executes the process) is at fault. If the result is not a result of poor process then it’s the result of the ridiculous level of randomness we see in arenas like baseball. It happens more often than we think.

                I’ve linked to this guy at least once a month this off-season, since he can explain it a ton better than me:

                http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/

          • jsbrendog says:

            you judge a move by what it gives you at the time.

            the nady and marte deal was good deal because it plugged two holes the yankees had THEN. did it work out with the playoffs? no.

            but there are idiots who in 5 yrs if tabate is an allstar and the yankees need a rf will go WHAT ATERRIBLE TRADE THAT WAS ETCETCETC because they are uninformed and that is what the media will tell them. LMAO hahaha teehee lol

          • Sweet Dick Willie says:

            How do you suppose team owners judge the moves of their GM’s?

            The smart owners evaluate their GM’s based on the processes they use, because, as Joe pointed out, that will yield the best results over time, although not every time.

            A good process can yield either a good result (expected) or a bad result. Sometimes you make a good decision and you get fucked (see Javy Vasquez).

            That was a trade, with the info available at the time it was made, you make every time. But it didn’t turn out good. Is that Cashman’s fault? If you’re the owner, do you penalize him for making that trade? If I’m the owner, I penalize him if that trade is on the table and he doesn’t make it.

            According to your (faulty) logic, Cashman could trade A-Jax even up for Pujols, but if Pujols breaks his leg in his 1st season and never returns to the player he was, and A-Jax becomes an All_Star, then Cashman made a bad trade.

            Sorry to inform you that it doesn’t work like that.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Good point. Solid signing.

  10. usty says:

    I guess I’m in the minority in liking the Burnett deal. The money doesn’t really matter to me. The Yankees sign players like an 18 year-old with Dad’s credit card. Only unlike that credit card, the bill never comes due. If Burnett is Carl Pavano take 2, it’s not going to preclude the Yankees from going out and signing a player they perceive will fill a need on the club.

    Pavano’s millions to be in rehab and injured didn’t hamstring the finances of the Yankees in one bit. Yes it sucked because the team got no value from him, but other than that, it never caused any problems. Burnett would be the same way. The Yankees do operate at a different level than any other team. A 12 million dollar per year pitcher not pitching would kill a small market teams budget. The Yankees went about their business as usual and I suspect they would do that again.

    • Chris C. says:

      “I guess I’m in the minority in liking the Burnett deal. The money doesn’t really matter to me. The Yankees sign players like an 18 year-old with Dad’s credit card.”

      I’ve used the phrase, “Cashman is like a kid in a candy store” before. This one is pretty close.
      My instinct on Burnett is that he’ll help the Yankees, but we’ll see some downtime in the next few years as well.

  11. Ben says:

    No one has mentioned it yet but Cashman’s decision to give Marte a 3/12 contract made little sense to me at the time and still doesnt. Why sign an aging reliever to a three year deal when you could just pick up his option for one year or let him walk and (maybe) get some draft pics out of it (Marte was type A if I recall). I understand Marte is a solid pitcher, but a three year deal doesn’t look too good to me given Marte’s age and the emergence of Coke as another lefty reliever.

    • steve (different one) says:

      i think they overpaid by a year, but i had no problem in bringing Marte back for 2 years.

      i don’t consider Coke’s emergence a good reason to not sign Marte. that’s a LOT of faith you are putting on a handful of innings.

      having 2 effective lefties is not really a “problem”, and if committing one extra year at $4M to a solid reliever is Cashman’s biggest mistake this offseason, that means he did a pretty great job.

      • Ace says:

        I think trading Tabata for Marte and Nady was a nonsensical move. We really do not need either of those players and we gave away one of our better prospects to get them.

        • ceciguante says:

          good points all around. i didn’t mind this trade b/c marte and nady both have pretty solid records and therefore add value, so even if tabata pans out, the yanks shouldn’t be left with nothing to show for it. plus, the yanks pursued a need with nady, given the abreu contract situation at the time.

          but ben makes a good point too that they’re investing a few years in marte. that guy still has something to prove after bringing his very good pittsburgh #s to the bronx and not living up to them yet (we’ve seen that too many times before). nonetheless, i don’t mind reupping him, b/c it’s important to stock the ‘pen with high ceiling guys. there’s a lot of potential in that pen, but after mo there are really no established track records. for the same reason, i’m pissed the red sox got saito this offseason.

          • MattG says:

            When compared with what they gave up for Swisher, this trade loses some luster. I was all for it at the time.

            • ceciguante says:

              i hear ya, but of course that is judging the tabata trade in hindsight. the beauty is that they still have the walk year value of nady, and they can flip him if they prefer swisher, or take a compensation pick after this year. it’s also nice to know they’ll have a capable bat on the bench for what seems the first time in a while (even though the IF bench options are still disappointing).

        • Chris says:

          Tabata had basically given up on the Yankees. Yes, he’s been successful with the Pirates (when his wife’s not kidnapping babies), but I don’t think there’s any indication he would have done the same had he stayed.

        • Tampa Yankee says:

          Tabata was struggling and had lost points with the Yankees brass. Take away Marte’s first bad outings and he was lights out down the stretch. Also, with Melky struggling and Matsui hurt then regulated to DH when he came back, they needed another solid OF. To me this trade was what needed to be done.

        • steve (different one) says:

          I think trading Tabata for Marte and Nady was a nonsensical move. We really do not need either of those players and we gave away one of our better prospects to get them.

          you make it sound like the move was made this winter.

          yes, there are arguments that the Yankees don’t “need” Nady *NOW*, but they certainly needed a RHed bat at the trade deadline last year.

          they were getting killed by LHP with Damon, Abreu, Giambi, Cano in the lineup. no Posada, no Matsui (who hits lefties well), and Jeter having a bad year…they needed that bat if they were going to make the playoffs.

          NOW…knowing that they didn’t make the playoffs anyway, would they have done things differently? probably. i think so.

          but they were surging at the deadline and had made the playoffs for 13 seasons in a row.

          the problem was that about 4 days after the trade, Joba went down. and with that, they were basically sunk.

          trades are so easy to judge with hindsight, but at the time, it was justifiable.

      • andrew says:

        hindsight is 20/20… and after seeing how the RP market played out, I think signing Marte for that long was a mistake. Not a mistake that will come back to hurt us, but we could’ve saved a few million dollars by going after Juan Cruz, Joe Biemel, or if you want a lefty, Will Ohman is still unsigned. Then again, nobody knew that RP would be begging for deals 2 weeks before Opening Day

        • steve (different one) says:

          i’d rather have Marte than Beimel, even for more money.

          not sure how Beimel’s lack of K’s will play in the AL East.

          same with Cruz’s walks, though there is certainly an argument there.

          • andrew says:

            They all have their own strengths and weakness, I guess my main idea was that with all the bullpen arms we have up and coming, having a guy with similar (although possibly worse) than Marte, on a shorter deal for slightly less money, may not have been so bad. Splitting hairs though, Marte vs Beimel vs Cruz will not make or break anything.

      • Chris C. says:

        “I don’t consider Coke’s emergence a good reason to not sign Marte.”

        I actually thought it was the ideal reason not to sign Marte. What other reason would there be for not re-signing a guy other than you’ve found his replacement?

        “having 2 effective lefties is not really a “problem”, and if committing one extra year at $4M to a solid reliever is Cashman’s biggest mistake this offseason….”

        Well, who really cares, because the Yankees shit money. But it’s real silly when you think about it. 4 mill in one season makes Marte the “Donald Trump” of lefty specialists…..and they don’t even need the freakin guy.
        Edwar Ramirez is also more effective against left-handed hitters than he is against rightees, so the Yankees were in decent shape in this area even without Marte.

        • jsbrendog says:

          marte is not a lefty specialist. you are in fact COMPLETELY WRONG

          “Damaso Marte will immediately become the Yankees’ lefty specialist, even though his splits have been better this year against righties than lefties (.255 batting average against for lefties, .200 for righties).”

          from the day of the trade.

          im looking for historical data

          career batting avg against:

          rh: .238

          the obp is higher but that could be somewhat attributed to the 22 extra ibb he has issued to righties as opposed to lefties as well as the 330 more at bats against righties.

          meaning in his career he has faced 330 mroe righties than lefties and held them to a .238 avg. i feel these 330 more at bats can somewhat justify the 40 mroe walks and 23 more hr he has given up to righties as opposed to lefties.

          so, there you go, facts. youre wrong. thanks for playing

          • jsbrendog says:

            ps, you are also wrong about edwar.

            career edwar ramirez:

            against lefties – .256 baa

            in ONLY 180 PLATE APPEARANCES.

            small sample size says helllllloooooooooo

    • Expired Milk says:

      Because lefty relievers that can get out both righty and leftys are worth the money. Add in that hes been very consistent in his career then you see why he was given that contract.

  12. MattG says:

    The Swisher deal was insane. For those three guys? What was KWilliams thinking?

    But after the Rodriguez injury, it dawned on me that a guy like Betemit is hard to replace. Now, not having him doesn’t lose you much over say, Angel Berroa, but still, he’s hard to replace. I guess Williams just values that differently.

    Did the Yankees give Nady an inning at 3B this spring? I mean, it’s exhibition season. Couldn’t they’ve asked him to give it a try and see what he’s got?

    • Did the Yankees give Nady an inning at 3B this spring? I mean, it’s exhibition season. Couldn’t they’ve asked him to give it a try and see what he’s got?

      No.

    • KW says:

      Well, they didnt have room for Swish, and he’s signed for a significant amount of dollars for the next few years. Also, he had a terrible year last year and has been trending downwards for the last two. The fact that they got nothing for him doesn’t mean it was a bad trade, it looks like a salary dump on their end, which may or may not pan out for the Yanks.

    • Chris C. says:

      “The Swisher deal was insane. For those three guys? What was KWilliams thinking?”

      He was thinking, “this Swisher guy just hit about .210, and doesn’t get along with my manager. I think he’s gotta go”

      I’m not knocking Williams……he’s made some pretty sweet deals over the past few years for his ballclub. I think he had to get rid of Swisher…..it just wasn’t working out for him in Chicago.
      I’ll wait for him to do something for the Yankees before proclaiming the deal to be “insane”.

  13. ceciguante says:

    two general questions:

    anyone have a read on how good gardner’s arm is in CF? it seemed decent to me last season, but someone told me it rates poorly.

    did you alls see the latest writeup of an anonymous scout plugging ramiro pena’s prowess at SS and less-anemic-than-before bat skillz? his offensive #s still look limited at a glance, but i’m curious if this kid’s a legit contender as a MLB SS one day.

  14. mikef says:

    hopefully Girardi will bring a long-guy North. My biggest issue with him last year is not having a long guy and pressing Ollie into the role after the injuries when he was trained as a short-guy in spring……likely the biggest reason why he went from trusted short-guy in late 2007 in pressure-spots to a mediocre long guy to a Pirate

    • steve (different one) says:

      likely the biggest reason why he went from trusted short-guy in late 2007 in pressure-spots to a mediocre long guy to a Pirate

      i think the biggest reason is probably that he just isn’t that good, but that’s just my opinion.

      • A.D. says:

        yeah he was “trusted” in ’07 more out of necessity, or process of elimination more than actually being good.

        That said what they did last year didn’t help, having him prepare to be a one inning guy, and then never giving him that shot wasn’t the best plan.

    • I’m with you, but the problem is:

      A) the two longmen on the 40 man, Aceves and Giese, both have looked pretty uninspiring this spring
      B) the longman who looks good, Tomko, isn’t on the 40 man and would require a DFA to go north, and he’s probably not worth DFA’ing anyone over in the long run
      C) None of the top 7 non-longman relievers (Mo, Marte, Bruney, Edwar, Veras, Coke, Albaladejo) have struggled enough that you can really justify leaving them behind in Tampa just to head north with an inferior Aceves/Giese/Tomko

      I agree with you on the value of the longman, but in this case I’m arguing against my position of a few weeks ago and endorsing Albie for the 7th spot in the pen.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      How many games last year did they need a reliever to throw 4 or more innings? To or three times? Long relievers are a throw back to a four man rotation. Texas will need one, but I don’t think that the Yankees will have a pressing need.

      • steve (different one) says:

        well, last year, i think they needed one a bunch of times b/c Hughes and Kennedy basically shit the bed almost every time out. also, there were a bunch of rain delays that could have used a longman.

        but last year is not this year, and the rotation should be a LOT more reliable.

        i’m with TSJC. i was arguing for a longman a few weeks ago, but now that i see the roster implications, i think they should roll the dice to start the season and if it’s a problem, THEN make the roster move.

        Tomko seems willing to go to AAA, so i think you take him up on that.

    • A.D. says:

      I really think the longman isn’t the issue it was last year. Longmen are needed:

      If your starters aren’t going to go deep regularly, which shouldn’t be an issue this year.

      Or if you’re looking to carry less relievers, and thus need to get more innings out of them. It seems that the Yanks are going with 7 relievers, thus they don’t need a long man as much, if they were going with 6 relievers (or if one or more relievers were pure LOOGYs) then you need more innings so you have the longman. Given the Yanks have a bunch of guys that are going to give you an inning or more everytime out its less of an issue.

      On top of this the longmen option come into play, Aceves probably needs more mionr league work, Tomko has had a great spring, but historically isn’t that good, and Giese has had a bad spring, and while I love what he did last year, realistically is a career minor leaguer in his 30s.

  15. Rob S. says:

    Are you kidding? Nick Swisher is not “a bat”, the guy hit .219 last year. He was aquired as an insurance policy at first and that’s why he’s riding the pine after Tex came on board. This notion that Swisher who hit .219 last season should be playing over Nady who hit over .300 is a joke.

    • Jack says:

      No, the joke is using BA and only BA for your argument.

    • andrew says:

      One season does not make a career. Also, the 81 point difference in batting average covers up the fact that Nady only got on base 20 points better than Swisher last year. If Swisher rebounds and Nady plays as well as he did last year, Swisher is likely the more effective hitter.

    • jsbrendog says:

      OPS + compared since 2005:

      Player A: 104, 102, 107, 128

      Player B: 101, 125, 127, 92

      HR since 2005:

      Player A: 13, 17, 20, 25

      Player B: 21, 35, 22, 24

      RBI since 2005:

      Player A: 43, 63, 72, 97

      Player B: 74, 95, 78, 69

      Which player do you want?

  16. Lanny says:

    I cant give Cashman props because he signs players. His farm system is average. His trades are average.

  17. Phil McCracken says:

    I’m not a big Cashman supporter, and I’ve always been critical of his talent evaluation skills as well as his inner circle of experts whispering in his ear.

    This off season wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Yankees have a ton of money, and they spent it on the best available players.

    Negotiating strategies on Teixeira and Sabathia were well done, but in my opinion that doesn’t make someone a good or bad GM. Its just common sense. Being a good GM is someone who understands the value of their players, almost like the stock market and knows when to buy or sell. They also know how to prepare for the future, keeping players that will be needed and shipping off those that aren’t.

    This is where Cashman has huge problems. He never prepared properly for the end of the Michael’s pitching rotation which has been detrimental to this team for the past 8 years. He’s rushed prospects, never constructed a powerful bench or bullpen.

    Cashman didn’t do a great job this offseason. Any other GM would have spent 400 million the exact same way.

  18. JP says:

    Like many things, the skill of managers and general managers can be over-stated. There are real limits to what a general manager can and cannot do.

    Some years, the players just aren’t available. Or someone else blows you out of the water (doesn’t happen often with the Yankees, but it did with Dice-K, and not with Contreras).

    And past performance is no guarantee of future results, so almost any player you pick up is a bit of a dice roll.

    But people overlook the obvious: He got A-Rod, he held onto Posada and Rivera. He certainly paid for a few pitchers who flopped, but some of his other pitching moves, while criticized, were in fact decent moves (Randy Johnson performed very well…certainly as well or better than the aggregate of Contreras and the other pitcher they let go to get him…)

    Everyone is on the Theo Epstein bandwagon these days, but let’s see how the Boston minor league system looks after the Red Sox have 10 or 15 straight years of high level MLB success, and compensating lower quality draft picks. Not saying they will have trouble, but the system is self-correcting, and some of the blame for the Yankees’ aging and thin farm system in the 2000-2005 time frame can be blamed on the 1990s success and its effect on the draft.

  19. [...] knew that Brian Cashman had a pretty damn good off-season, and that was before today’s Kat O’Brien article. The Yankees played the situation [...]

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