The case against Lackey came two years ago


Following the 2007 season, the Yankees needed pitching. They’d just been eliminated from the playoffs because their ace, Chien-Ming Wang, failed twice to hold down the Cleveland Indians. While Wang was still one of the league’s better pitcher, the Yankees needed more. Not only was Wang questionable as an ace, but the pitchers behind him were all questionable as well.

Mike Mussina had been removed from the rotation at the beginning of September because he’d pitched so horribly. Roger Clemens was a goner after his body couldn’t handle the rigors of a half season. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, though impressive at times in 2007, were still risky rookies. Joba Chamberlain, because of innings concerns, would likely start the year in the bullpen. The only constant behind Wang was Andy Pettitte, and even then it wasn’t clear until later in November that he’d return.

The Yankees could have used a free agent pitcher that off-season, even a No. 2 starter type. Yet none existed. The top starting pitchers on the market were Pettitte, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux, Carlos Silva, and Kyle Lohse. The Yanks would get the best of those, but what remained wouldn’t help much. The Yanks were better off seeing what they could get from their rookies. It was a pretty clear call to pass on this free agency class.

Yet there was still one option. The Minnesota Twins dangled Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the league at the time. It would cost the Yankees at least one of their young starters, Hughes, but that would replace uncertainty with something a bit more reliable. With Santana atop the rotation, the Yankees would have a formidable 1-2 punch. This is why the pro-Johan crowd was so disappointed in the 2008 Yankees. With an ace they might have weathered the competition and made the playoffs.

The Yankees didn’t jump on Santana for a few reasons. First was the allocation of resources. The Yankees would have to use their player resources to trade for Santana, and then use their financial resources to sign him to a long-term deal. That’s quite a commitment, even for a pitcher like Santana. The second reason was that the Yankees looked ahead to the next free agent class and saw that if they held back on Santana, they could reap the rewards a year later.

We all know the story from there. The Yankees used only their financial resources (and, technically, potential player resources by surrendering draft picks) to sign CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Pretty smart, eh? The Yankees exercised foresight in the winter of 2007-2008, and it paid off in time for the 2009 season. They face a similar situation this winter. John Lackey is the top available free agent starter, and he’d slot in well as the No. 3 man in the Yanks rotation.

I think it’s time again for the Yankees to exercise foresight. Lackey is a nice pitcher, sure, known to most fans as a workhorse. Despite the reputation, he’s missed a decent amount of time in the last two seasons, including the beginning of the 2009 campaign with elbow issues. He wouldn’t be a terrible signing, but he’d be another long-term, high-money contract added to the books after the Yankees added three in 2008 and renewed three in 2007.

If the Yankees hold back on Lackey this off-season, they could again reap the benefits of a deep free agent pitching class in 2010-2011. Highlighting the potential free agents are Josh Beckett, Matt Cain (late edit: damn team options), Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Brandon Webb. There’s no guarantee that any of them reach free agency, but there are five names there compared to the one this off-season. Not to mention, I’d rather have three of them than Lackey, and the other two are still strong alternatives at worst (though there is the issue of Webb’s shoulder).

Adding John Lackey to an already strong starting rotation would certainly help the Yankees chances in 2010. With Pettitte and then one of Chamberlain and Hughes at the back end of the rotation, they’d almost surely have the best in the game. That’s enticing, but I think waiting is the best option here. The Yankees have a slew of back-end starter candidates, including a number of young players who they’d probably like to evaluate. That way, when they get to the 2010-2011 off-season, they’ll have a better idea of whether they’d really like to pursue a free agent starter, or if they’re comfortable where they are.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Sam says:

    Matt Cain has a 2011 club option for 6.25MM that San Francisco is obviously going to exercise.

  2. jsbrendog says:

    the fact that the sabathia/santana conundrum led to a world series title only lends more validity to this theory. If they did it then and it worked why the hell wouldn’t they do it now? ESPECIALLY since most of the options coming in next years free agency are BETTER than Lackey.

    • Chris says:

      The Sabathia/Santana conundrum also led to the Yankees missing the playoffs in 2008 (or contributed to it). It was still the right move then because the Yankees weren’t 1 starting pitcher away from winning the World Series, but the team now is very different than the team was 2 years ago.

      • It was still the right move then because the Yankees weren’t 1 starting pitcher away from winning the World Series, but the team now is very different than the team was 2 years ago.

        You’re absolutely correct.

        This team is much, much better than the team two years ago. So much better, that we don’t need to add one single starting pticher. CC-AJ-Andy-Joba-Hughes-IPK-Gaudin-Mitre-Nova-McAllister is plenty.

        • Chris says:

          I tend to agree with you that we don’t need another starting pitcher beyond Pettitte, but I won’t completely rule out Lackey. I don’t see a deal being reached that works for both sides, but if the Yankees could get him for 3 years then it’s worth jumping at. My concern with Lackey isn’t 2010 or 2011, but the end of the deal when he’s likely to be declining significantly.

  3. baba o'riley says:

    i agree. too many pitchers hovering around the 5 rotation spots to go out and sign a free agent to a long-term contract. the team needs another year to see what Hughes, Joba, Wang, Gaudin, Mitre, Aceves, even Nova and McAllister can provide long-term.

    even if none of these guys prove to be a solid starter for 2010, we won’t see a repeat of 2008. the team is too strong at this point, and we got through 2009 with questions in #4 and #5 slots. 2010 may not be 103 wins, but really, all you need is a spot in the postseason. however, you’ve then had the chance to evaluate all these potential starters, before you go out and spend on a free agent. win-win-win.

  4. crawdaddie says:

    I know this is a gamble, but the Yankees need to be able to develop a ML starting pitcher beyond Wang. I want to see Hughes and Joba in the rotation and if they failed then have Kennedy, Aceves, Gaudin, Mitre or whomever available to take up the slack.

  5. If the Yankees hold back on Lackey this off-season, they could again reap the benefits of a deep free agent pitching class in 2010-2011. Highlighting the potential free agents are Josh Beckett, Matt Cain, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Brandon Webb.

    Nitpick: I still would like someone to clarify for me once and for all the nature of the vesting parameters of Matt Cain’s Giants contract 2011 option year.

    Cot’s says the Giants have a club option for 2011 Emphasis is mine.

    Matt Cain
    4 years/$9M (2007-10), plus 2011 club option
    - signed extension with San Francisco 3/07
    - $1M signing bonus
    - 07:$0.4M, 08:$0.7M, 09:$2.65M, 10:$4.25M, 11:$6.25M club option
    - 2011 option may:
    . . . + vest based on IP, GS & finish in Cy Young vote
    . . . + increase by $1.9M based on IP, GS
    - 2011 option does not vest if Cain finishes 2010 season on disabled list with a right arm injury, unless he wins 2010 Cy Young award or has 60 GS or 400 IP 2009-2010

    The way I read that, Cain’s option does NOT vest IF AND ONLY IF he finishes this coming 2010 season on the disabled list with and arm injury AND he did NOT win the Cy Young AND he did not start 60 total games between ’09 and ’10 AND he did not have 400 total IP between ’09 and ’10.

    (And, Cain is well on pace to meet both those games started and innings pitched totals to cause the contract option to vest automatically.)

    In all other scenarios, his option vests. But, setting that aside for a moment, even if that particular scenario does unfold and his option does not automatically vest, if it’s a club option, wouldn’t the Giants be able to just exercise it anyway?

    I doubt that Cain ends up in the 2010-2011 free agent class. Unless I’m misreading something.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Club option for 2011? Wow. SF has got all the chips.

      SF isn’t a middling market. There’s significant cash reserves being stored by mgmt. Extending Cain now would be a good splurge.

      • vin says:

        Ahh, the beauty of buying out arbitration years.

        The guy is 25 (24 at season’s end) years old and has already had 4 years where he started at least 31 games (at least 190 IP, also).

    • Zack says:

      It looks like it’s missing some information to me. Like it takes certain GS, IP, CY (all unlisted) to vest it, but if he’s on the DL then those other GS, IP, CY need to be hit for it to vest.

      Maybe it’s just how I’m looking at it. But even if it doesnt vest, the team has the right to exercise it.

  6. Slu says:

    Plus Lackey is huge jerk. To me that is reason enough to stay away.

    Him showing up the players on defense behind him would get old in a hurry.

  7. John says:

    Joe – good, thoughtful post. makes a lot of sense, but let me play devil’s advocate for a moment. First, as Sam rightly points out, Cain’s option is likely to vest so the chances of his being a FA are slim at best. Second, it’s hard for me to envision Beckett or Lee actually being available next year, leaving Halladay and Webb (eh) so that greatly whittles down the potential 2011 FA class. Third, what if Andy P retires this year or next? Without a “Lackey-type” that leaves the rotation in 2010/2011 quite thin – CC, AJ, Joba, Phil, ??, ??. and that is assuming everyone stays healthy and that Joba and Phil can cut it as full-time starters, something we don’t yet know. If Lackey can be had for 4 years or less, I think he’s worth a long-hard look. Guys who can pitch with his level of success in the AL, don’t come around that often, especially considering he’ll only cost $, not players + $.

    • A.D. says:

      Agreed on the actual FAs available, Halladay is the only certain in that list of names in terms of being a FA & being healthy, and while better than Lackey, will also command a heftier contract.

      • radnom says:

        What makes you think that Halladay is certain to be a free agent?

        I would wager there is a decent shot at him being traded at some point during the next season, and depending on the club that would probably coincide with an extension.

    • whozat says:

      why would he be available for 4 years or less? And, why would a 32 year old who’s missed a month or so with arm injuries in both of the last seasons be a guy you want to commit even 4 years to?

      Signing pitchers over 30 to long deals is a bad strategy. They already did it once with AJ, and the first year worked out really well. There are still 4 more seasons. Would you really be psyched to be paying 40 mil to 36 year old Burnett and Lackey to hold down the 2013 rotation? That’s not a situation I want to be in. So, no thanks.

      • John says:

        please re-read my comment. I did not say he WILL be available for 4 years. what I said was IF, he could be had for 4 years or less, that he is worth a long, hard look.

        also, he is 31. so you’d be paying him for his age 31, 32, 33 and 34 seasons.

        • whozat says:

          Please re-read my comment. I asked WHY he’d be available for 4 seasons or less. If AJ Burnett was getting 5 year offers while the economy was in the tank, why would Lackey get 4 or less?

          I concede that we’d be paying 40 mil to 36 year old AJ and 34 year old Lackey. Still a bad idea.

    • Guys who can pitch with his level of success in the AL, don’t come around that often, especially considering he’ll only cost $, not players + $.

      Which is the exact reason we should sign Roy Halladay. Because he’s all those things you listed for Lackey, but much, much, much better.

      • John says:

        of course. there is no debating that, but Halladay is not available right now. and if and when he does become available next year the competition and price for him will be very steep. and that’s assuming A) he doesn’t get traded and/or B) even if he does, that the acquiring team doesn’t work out n extension.

        again, I don’t necessarily disagree with Joe P. My point is that Lackey is very good pitcher who has had a lot of success in the AL, who is relatively young (turned 31 in Oct) is available today, could provide nice depth for the Yanks for the next 3-4 years and who MAYBE could be had on the relative cheap this offseason if, for instance, the Mets make Holliday and Wolf their priorities and the Angles make Figgins theirs. just something for the org to strongly consider. if it’s gonna take 5+ years, then, yeah, “no thanks”.

      • scoopemup says:

        Montero and parts(IPK,Hughes,etc.)for the King and Gueteriz.

  8. Reggie C. says:

    Of all those guys I think Webb and Halladay are the likeliest to hit free agency. Philly is gonna desperately try to re-sign Cliff Lee; necessary with Cole Hamels’s regression.

    If Webb is healthy , he’ll once more feast on the NL and be a top 3 Cy Young candidate. Again, assuming good health, Webb is an ideal Yankee pick-up target with Pettitte likely gone after 2010.

  9. vin says:

    Although I agree with the author’s opinion, I can understand the other side of the argument.

    Many of the key veterans on the team are on the wrong side of 34. This could very well be the beginning of another dynasty. But the window isn’t terribly big.

    This franchise had their rebuilding year in ’08. I do think Cashman will add another starter for ’10 simply because this team is potentially in the middle of something very special.

    Unlike the ’07 Santana situation, waiting for King Felix or Halladay or Mauer in 2010 is a risk that I don’t see Cashman taking. Especially if they bring back Damon and/or Matsui.

  10. Adam says:

    I would still like to see them add depth. Brad Penny type signings (no way do i want penny, just making that clear) that we can get at the minor league level. I would like to see Joba and Hughes as starters

  11. Kiersten says:

    If you told me every other year we’d miss the playoffs and every other year we’d win the World Series, I’d take it every time.

    Also, the main reason we can’t sign Lackey is cause I can’t stand to look at that guy’s face 30+ times a year.

  12. JGS says:

    of those five, I think only Lee and Webb will hit free agency. Beckett might, but I can’t see him leaving Boston

    • vin says:

      I’m curious to see how the Halladay situation plays out.

      The Jays HAVE to trade him, because what they get back for him will be more valuable than the draft picks.

      The question is will Roy’s new team be able to extend him. If he’s adamant about wanting to hit FA, then he could really put the screws to the Jays. Why trade much for Doc when he’s going to be a FA in 3 months?

      • JGS says:

        given the Braves’ experience with Teixeira (Andrus, Feliz, Harrison, Saltalamacchia, and Beau Jones for halves of two seasons with Tex???), no team is going to give up what Toronto is looking for unless they are confident that they can extend Halladay

      • A.D. says:

        They will trade him, if they get something more valuable than 2 draft picks. Figure the Indians were able to get LaPorta + for CC, Jays should get something similar for Halladay if it comes down to the deadline

    • larryf says:

      they re-signed Wakefield for 2 years. I like that…

  13. mike says:

    I tend to disagree with the author because i feel the Yankee offense will take a step backwards next year, and but for some against-all-odds comebacks this season would have ended very differently.

    Locking Lackey will not only devistate the Halos, but really drive up the price next year for other teams to keep their pitching as well…while the Yanks can take their time to develop their young pitchers.

    But without Lackey….Pettitte missing some starts….Joba /Phil growing pains and stress on pen…les offense…this might be problematic.

    Also, people tend to forget CC has an opt-out in two years, and while economics may make him stay, there is no certainty in this, and having Lackey along with AJ would be a nice, stable bridge between the AJ/Pettitte and Joba/Hughes/Wang/Nova etc. as the rotation matures.

    • whozat says:

      It doesn’t make sense to commit to a 31 year old guy NOW because CC is going to opt out after 2011.

      It makes sense to let him opt out and play him and King Felix off each other in 2011. And establishing Joba and/or Hughes helps with that too.

      • Tom Zig says:

        Don’t forget that Verlander is a FA at the same time as Felix

        • pete says:

          and, in this scenario, CC. Three aces available via free agency means lower prices. 2011 is going to be freakin sweet. (My Prediction: sign felix first, then sign CC, then win world series).

  14. Will77 says:

    My perfect scenario (and therefor not gonna happen): Resign Pettite for 1 year, Matsui for 1 year, Damon for 1 year + option year.

    Rotation is CC-AJ-Andy-Hughes-Joba. Aceves/Kennedy/Nova/ZMac/Gaudin/Wang back up injuries. Playing out the season gives a good idea on what to do with Hughes/Joba. If one of them flames out as a starter, or Andy doesn’t come back, go after Holladay/Webb/Lee next offseason. (Hell, go after them either way. Keep in mind, CC could be gone after the following season)

    Matsui plays the year as DH again. In the offseason, Hal sends 100 Brinks trucks to Mauers house and dumps millions on his frontlawn. Mauer catches in 2011, Posada is the every day DH, catching once/twice a week on Mauers off/DH days.

    Mariano is resigned for a few more years and suddenly the waterfountains in the clubhouse start spewing wine

    • Planning for Joe Mauer to be an FA isn’t wise. I do not expect him to play anywhere but Minnesota for his entire career.

      • mike says:

        the same logic applies to Beckett, and the overpaying logic applies to Beckett ( again) and Doc due to age/milage/injury history.

        I still do not know if Lackey will want to play in NY, but it gives the Yanks a killer rotation in 2010,hedges the injury possibilities, and allows the Yanks to keep bullpen depth as they develop the younger guys.

        No brainer

      • vin says:

        I agree. It would also be best for baseball if he stays. I’d much rather just beat him and the Twinkies in the ALDS for the next ten years.

      • Will77 says:

        Well, hence why I said dream scenario. However, would you not have said the same about Santana? Maybe the Twins will feel they won’t have the money for him (though then they’ll trade him like they did Santana of course to get at least something for him). Maybe Mauer says “wow playing the AL and losing to the Yanks/Sox/Angels every year in the playoffs sucks, maybe I should not sign with Min and jump ship to them.” If I was the by far best player at my position and I had the option of free agency and knowledge that the richest teams in baseball would write me a blank check, I’d be looking for a house on the east coast tomorrow.

  15. Slade says:

    What’s the deal with Josh Johnson’s contract? That dude is awesome when he is on.

  16. themgmt says:

    I think passing on Lackey is the right move. I’d still ink Wang though. I also don’t know what to expect from Pettitte. Elbow issues in 2007, shoulder issues in 2009. Most innings since 2005 (not by much) and the latest he’s pitched into the year. Oh yeah, he’ll be 38. I’d definitely keep Wang and get another rehab pitcher too. Same names everyone throws around

  17. vin says:

    The Angels have to re-sign Lackey, no? In the playoffs, they held back their next best starter so that he could pitch at home. Is that the guy they want fronting their rotation? Saunders and Santana have nice arms, but don’t match up with other teams’ 2nd and 3rd starters in a playoff series. Kazmir is a mystery.

    If Lackey signs elsewhere, then there will be a ton of pressure on Kazmir.

    Removing Adenhart and Lackey from the rotation in the same year will really hurt their status as a WS contender.

  18. Esteban says:

    I with you guys mostly, though I think a lot of you are overestimating the depth the Yankees have. I’m not saying that the Yankees should go sign John Lackey to a huge long term deal. It’s never a bad thing to have too much pitching depth, and I don’t think IPK, Mitre, and Nova are enough backup. Pitching injuries happen all the time, and it’s not likely that the Yankees will be able to go the entire season with CC, Burnett, Pettitte, Joba, and Hughes as the 5 starters. Especially because Hughes will likely not have a high innings limit, and we really don’t know how Joba is gonna be as a starter for a full season (I’m not a B-Jobber in any way). Pettitte might start to show more age, and Burnett still has that injury history, although his last two seasons give hope that he’s past getting injured. I think there’s enough question marks that adding another pitcher is definitely something to explore.

    • Absolutely.

      All we’re saying is, Lackey shouldn’t be that pitcher. The pitcher we do add should be a pitcher we can stash in the bullpen or in Scranton. The kind of pitchers we’re interested in aren’t aces or near aces like Lackey, Harden, Sheets, Bedard, Wolf, Pinero, etc., because those are guys who will only come here to get a guaranteed rotation spot, and that means bumping Joba or Phil from the rotation, and that’s not a wise move.

      The pitchers we should be interested in are the guys like J-Douche or Noah Lowry or the like, guys who can throw in the pen or in AAA awaiting a callup.

      • Thomas says:

        I agree with you strategy.

        However, you keep saying they should try and add Duchscherer (an idea I like). I am just wondering why you think Duchscherer would want to join the Yankees, where he is not ensured a starting spot, which he has said he wants ( Obviously, the Yankees could offer him a ton of money (unlikely), but I’d think he’d be more likely to join another team where he is more likely to start, like the Mets.

        Just wondering.

        • That’s a fair point.

          I think J-Douche will have a slightly harder time finding a starting spot than guys like Lackey/Bedard/Sheets/Wolf/etc. will. There are a lot of other guys in front of him in the SP market; maybe he falls through the cracks.

          But yeah, if someone else falls in love with him and starts offering him a 2/14 to be their 4th starter, then by all means, you let him go. I’m not getting into a bidding war for the guy.

          He’s just the best option available amongst the tertiary tier of starters that we should be focusing on. Frankly, our top 8 is quality enough that we should be really looking for some Smoltzesque rehab guys who will have their priced severely deflated because they won’t be ready during April (when we wouldn’t really need them or have room for them anyway) but will be ready at midseason to fill whatever holes will undoubtedly arise.

          Besides Wang, the obvious choice, this would also include injury bounceback candidates like, say, Kelvin Escobar or Mark Prior.

      • Mike HC says:

        Why is bumping either Joba or Hughes a bad move if the rotation includes CC, AJ, Lackey, Pettitte, and Joba/Hughes, with the possibility of Wang around mid season?

        Depth is a good thing, and I want to see Joba and Hughes develop as soon as possible, but with a rotation like that, we can take our time and have a dominant bullpen for another season. I don’t see how that is a bad thing.

        • whozat says:

          Because instead of building a new young core of a rotation, you’re wasting another cost-controlled year of a starter, delaying his development, and committing to having a rotation fronted by two guys with injury concerns in their mid-30s four years down the line.

          • jsbrendog says:

            curse you.

          • A.D. says:

            you’re wasting another cost-controlled year of a starter

            Well if they’re not accumulating ML service time, then it isn’t a waste

          • Mike HC says:

            It is really not about building a young core. We are not the D Rays. It is about having the best players every year in order to win. If we sign Lackey, we still have Hughes and Joba for the future. We don’t lose them. But Lackey is far better than both of them. I’m not saying the Yanks should have a 220 million dollar payroll. But if they are planning on spending for another SP in the next year or two, Lackey is a good one to choose. If management has other ideas on how to allocate the money, I am with them too.

            • jsbrendog says:

              It is really not about building a young core.

              yes, yes it is. becauise that is how you win consistently year in and year out. The good thing about the yankees is they have the payroll and money to be able to sustain somewhat competitive teams even while building this core, but the dynasty years do not happen without berni, posada, jeter, mo, pettitte, and to a much lesser degree ledee, spencer, rivera, nick johnson, andy fox, etc.

              you build a young core and surround it with smart personnel moves. that is how you build a sustainable champion.

              • Mike HC says:

                If you took that sentence in context of the rest of my post, you would have realized that I agree with you. Those World Series teams had over 30 year old free agent starting pitchers year after year after year on the championship clubs. By signing Lackey, you don’t lose any of those young players, they just add depth, and can continue to develop. Pettitte may be done after next year, so then another rotation spot opens up. You don’t have to force your young players into action when there may be better alternatives out there. Maybe Lackey is not the answer and the team has other ideas in mind, and I am all for it. I’m just saying Lackey is a good option and I would like him on the Yanks if he fits.

                • By signing Lackey, you don’t lose any of those young players, they just add depth, and can continue to develop.

                  but what you DO do is stunt their development by consigning them to another season not in the rotation, spots that they have both earned through their quality play up to this point. And furthermore, you fill that 5th non-CC/AJ/Joba/Hughes spot with a 5 year deal rather than a 1 year deal, meaning…

                  Pettitte may be done after next year, so then another rotation spot opens up.

                  And you’ve already plugged it with Lackey, when you could have just waited to plug it with the vastly superior Halladay, Lee, Beckett, or Webb. Or, for that matter, possibly Wang who could be back by then, or Nova or McAllister or, who knows, Aroldis Chapman.

                  The fact that Lackey MAY (and I stress, MAY) present a marginal upgrade over Joba or Hughes or Pettitte for 2010 does not mean we should sign him. The fact that A) we probably don’t need him and B) there are better people to give his spot to next year means that his acquisition, looked at in totality, is unwise.

                • Mike HC says:

                  I think what it comes down to is that I like Lackey more than most of you guys do, as I laid out not so eloquently below. I think he is just as good as those free agents next year, with the exception of Halladay.

        • jsbrendog says:

          take your time with joba and hughes? dude, they’re getting older and the time is now. the longer you wait the less you get from them while theyre cheap and the cost/benefit shifts out of your favor.

          ::waits for all the BUT TEHYRE TEHH YANKEES!!!11!! comments::

      • mike says:

        Along those lines, wouldnt it make more sense to have Hughes or Joba go to AAA for a full season and start, bringing up their innings, and having a quality starter (ie Lackey) in place to occupy that rotation spot?

        As the starters fall ( Andj/AJ to injury, Miter/Gaudin/Aceves act like Chacon etc)these guys get on the shuttle an are plugged in.

        The logic of signing a AAAA pitcher who likely will be called upon to make important starts because of some young starters with serious questions as starters at ML level might be also called upon to make key starts doesnt make much sense, especially when there is 1 spot available this year in the rotation (#5) and certainly will be 2 next year as well (bye bye Andy eventually) for this lot of arms to be sorted out….

    • whozat says:

      No one is saying that Cashman should refuse to think about adding pitching at the right price.

      Obviously, if John Lackey can be had for 2-3 years, the Yankees will be in on that. If Javy Vasquez is available for Juan Miranda, the Yankees will be in on that. But, that’s unrealistic…I do think that getting Andy back, and then Wang back on the right terms, plus a guy like Duch or something _in case_ Hughes or Joba flames out AND an injury hits…that seems like a more reasonable plan to me.

  19. Tubby says:

    Unless Cashman can pull off another obscene, ninja-like Betemit for Swisher hijacking (say Melky for Edwin), resigning Pettitte should be the only pitching move we make this off-season. We have all the arms we need for 2010. And, depending on how Joba and PHIL do, we may not even need to look at the 2010/2011 free agent class. It’s highly probable that our 1-4 starters for the next half-decade are already on our roster.

    Our focus should be on bringing back Matsui and figuring out what we’re doing with the outfield.

  20. Mike HC says:

    It is obviously all about the money. I would love Lackey on this team. CC, AJ, Pettitte, even Joba, all got through the year unscathed this past year. I hope it happens it again, but you can’t count on it. Hughes surely can’t be considered a done deal spot in the rotation. There is at least a chance he struggles mightily again, or gets hurt again. Maybe there is another pitching option out there in a trade or something, which would alleviate these concerns without having to spend big on Lackey.

    On the FA of 2010-11 list, I would only want Halladay over Lackey. I doubt Boston lets Beckett get away to NY and Webb is a career NL pitcher who has had injury problems recently. Lee would be an excellent alternative, but he is not that much better than Lackey, or younger.

    I would think Lackey is an excellent signing, as long as it does no prevent the Yanks from filling their LF, CF and DH holes. You gotta see how the money ends up playing out before deciding on any one player definitively.

    • Hughes surely can’t be considered a done deal spot in the rotation.

      Yes he can.

      • Mike HC says:

        Why are you so sure he can be counted on when his past ML starts have not exactly been that great. Plus, he has had a problem with injuries. I guess I just have less trust than you do in guys that have never done it before.

    • whozat says:

      You can’t ignore the years you’re committing. It’s not just the money they’d spend this year. It’s that in 2013, you’re still paying 34 year old John Lackey 19 million.

      And his current team doesn’t want him. You gotta ask yourself why the team with the best knowledge of the medicals on a guy who’s missed time the last two seasons doesn’t want him back.

    • JMK aka The Overshare says:

      I think it’s more about the length of the money than it is the pure dollar totals. I can’t see how having three pitchers eating up $55-60 million in their mid-30s is a good idea.

      • Mike HC says:

        If they all continue to pitch like they did last year, how is that a bad thing? Halladay and Lee are about the same age. So how are waiting for those guys any different?

        I don’t think some of you guys realize how much money the Yanks have to spend. There is no cap. With Pettitte year to year, and Hughes and Joba on the cheap, the Yanks can afford to pay three big time starters. That is the price of good starting pitching these days.

        • JMK aka The Overshare says:

          Halladay and Lee are better pitchers with fewer injury concerns. I’m not thrilled about signing any pitcher over the age of 34 and committing big money and years, but to sign a guy like Lackey for that many years is a huge risk, and that risk is compounded greatly by AJ’s deal and his historic lack of durability. CC is durable, but again, to reiterate, three starting pitchers making HUGE MONEY in their mid-30s. A lot can go wrong.

          Who cares if there’s no cap? I make $48,000 a year. I don’t spend all of my salary because I have it. That’s a terrible allocation of resources. Horrendous fiscal planning.

          Big-time starting pitchers are not the only option out there.

          • Mike HC says:

            fair enough. I understand staying away from Lackey. I guess I just like Lackey more than most of you guys and trust he will stay healthy. I think he is an excellent pitcher and is a guy will take the ball every fifth day. While he was injured the past couple of years for the beginning of the season, he still made over 20 starts each year and was around when it really counted, down the stretch and during the playoffs. I’m just more of a fan of his than you.

  21. mryankee says:

    Hi boys I wanted to let you guys know there is good news for the one year delas contingent. Griffey just signed with the Mariniers for a one year deal. So Hideki wont be walkng through that door in seattle. The more I think about Lackey and look ahead to the FA class of pitchers. Maybe signing him to a long term deal would not be wise. The key though is for all these guys to get to free agencey and that is the gamble you take. BTW possible deal Jackson for Sherrill. That does not sound like a lot for LA to be giving up.

  22. JMK aka The Overshare says:

    A good amount of us are against the signings of Lackey/Holliday/Bay etc. for all the right reasons. And yet, if you were to read about the Yankees host stove rumors on MLBTR and ESPN, you’d think that almost all Yankee fans are clamoring for us to make those moves.

    Is it that the average fan of all teams on those sites lacks the understanding of need/resources/future projections, or is it that we here at RAB are among the extreme minority?

    • jsbrendog says:

      Is it that the average fan of all teams on those sites lacks the understanding of need/resources/future projections

      yes, oh god yes. therein lies the reason i hate yankee fans and wanted to stab them on the train on the way to the parade.

      or is it that we here at RAB are among the extreme minority?

      when it comes to yankee fans for sure. most people want to sign everyone, trade for everyone and buy baseball like that onion article. it is so goddamned frustrating

      • Tubby says:

        To be fair though, there’s a growing number of fans who act like the Yankees can’t afford anyone other than cheap rehab projects. Our biggest advantage is that we have a lot more money than anyone else. That doesn’t mean we should spend unwisely, but we should certainly jump at the chance to flex those financial muscles for the right players.

        Now that we’ve won #27, nobody seems to be against the Tex, CC, and AJ signings, the A-Rod, Jorge, Mo, and Pettitte re-signings/extensions, and the Marte, Nady, Swisher, Molina, Hinske, Hairston trades.

        • jsbrendog says:

          for the record i am still against the arod contract. the results are awesome, but the contract is still wrong, bad, and dumb. Also, I still feel that Marte was given one year too many.

          • JMK aka The Overshare says:

            I agree with all of this. I don’t see any reason to give a guy that long a contract, even if he is great. Way too many things can go wrong in a decade; to pay top, top dollar for any player at ages 40-42 just seems crazy to me.

            • Bo says:

              So who do you want to pay? The biggest advantage they have is the fact that they can give that extra yr. They can give out that extra mill.

              Who cares that A-Rod got what he got. Has that in anyway affected what they do and how they operate?

  23. Bo says:

    Heres the big point that you’re missing. How would signing Lackey preclude them from making a run at any of those pitchers???

    These arent the Milwaukee Brewers here.

    Embrace the fact that the Yankees have the highest revenues and can afford to stockpile talent.

    This lackey thing may be pointless anyway because I wouldnt be shocked if they traded for Halladay.

  24. Tank Foster says:

    Lackey would be great on a 3 year deal, which I don’t think is happening.

    Someone like Duscherererererererer would be great, because he would be relatively cheap by Yankee standards and should add lots of depth.

    I think Halladay is the main prize, and I’d agree he’s worth waiting a year to get.

    But it will be interesting to see where Lackey lands and for how much. Economics are changing in baseball.

  25. Rob in CT says:

    I’m not big on getting Lackey. To me, the Yankees should monitor the situation and if for some odd reason the market for Lackey is sluggish, make a lowish offer.

    CC-AJ-AP-JC-PH isn’t bad or anything, but there are two problems:

    1) Things NEVER go exactly to plan. This year was supposed to be CC-CMW-AJ-AP-JC/PH. Yeah. It’s not likely that one of the starting five will implode like Wang did this year, but it is likely that somebody will be hurt and/or ineffective to some degree, and somebody else will have to pick up some innings. Right now, that’s a somebody like Gaudin, Aceves, IPK or (gulp) Mitre.

    2) Hughes will probably be capped around 150 innings next season. I think that’s short of a full workload, even for a 5th starter, no? Not way short, but short. Plus, the team may want him available to them for the playoffs so they may only get ~130 innings out of him as a starter and then send him back to the bullpen (no comment on whether or not that’s smart). So you already have to look at the 5th spot as Hughes plus some starts by other guys like Guadin (not hating on Gaudin – I liked that pickup, but there’s always room for improvement).

    I’m in favor of trying to bring in a Harden type, but you never know what may happen. It could be that lots of other teams are thinking what we’re thinking about Lackey and he somehow ends up actually undervalued in the market. If and only if that happens, Cashman might want to ponder swooping in.

  26. [...] writing about John Lackey last week, Joe mentioned how Halladay is a desired piece potentially available next winter. That, of course, is where the Yanks found themselves with Santana, but Johan never hit free [...]

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