Setting the record straight

No issues for Joba, Feliciano during bullpen sessions
Open Thread: The rotation begins to take shape

One of the more exciting aspects to the offseason has been the emergence of Manny Banuelos as one of the game’s premier pitching prospects. Last week he debuted nationally, giving everyone but fans in the tri-state area the opportunity to get a good look at him. Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein put together a significant writeup of Banuelos. Ultimately he concluded that Banuelos’ stuff was MLB-ready, but that Banuelos wasn’t ready from an innings and durability standpoint to handle the major leagues. He then concluded his article with a rather odd dig at the approach of Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ front office to the offseason:

In the end, the question of Banuelos’ readiness is less about the prospect and more about the failures of the Yankees to shore up their rotation in the offseason by putting all their eggs in the baskets of Cliff Lee and the anticipated return of Andy Pettitte. “If A.J. Burnett is their number five starter, everyone is happy in Yankees land,” said the National League executive. “If they signed Lee; if Pettitte came back, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Just because the Yankees [screwed] up this off-season doesn’t mean they should sacrifice this kid in the process.”

This is a criticism of Cashman has been bandied about frequently since Pettitte retired. Yet the question remains: what exactly would these critics have liked Cashman to do differently? Did the Yankees really screw up this off-season? It’s true that there were plenty of pitchers available in the free agent and trade markets this winter. So did Cashman err by not landing them? Let’s review, keeping in mind that Lee signed with the Phillies on December 15, 2010.

Ted Lilly: A perpetually underrated fly-ball lefty, Lilly signed a big extension with the Dodgers on 10/16/10. The Yankees never had a chance.

Hiroki Kuroda: Another personal favorite, Kuroda never actually hit the free agent market either. He resigned with the Dodgers on 11/15/10 during the Dodgers’ exclusive negotiating window prior to free agency. When he signed, he said he didn’t need to listen to any other offers once the Dodgers told him they wanted him back.

Jorge De La Rosa: Signed with the Rockies for 2 years and $21.5M with a player option for $11M on 12/3/10. His strikeout rates have always been intriguing, but one could justifiably be concerned about how his career 4.5 BB/9 would play in the AL East. Like Lilly and Kuroda, De La Rosa signed before Lee chose the Phillies.

Shaun Marcum: The Blue Jays traded Marcum to the Brewers on 12/5/10 in exchange for infielder Brett Lawrie. Marcum is currently shut down with shoulder tightness and has never thrown more than 159 innings in a single year.

Aaron Harang: Coming off several poor years, Harang signed a low-money contract with the Padres on 12/6/10.

These are the pitchers whom the Yankees missed out on by waiting on Cliff Lee. Of these, only Marcum could have possibly been a decent upgrade for the Yankee rotation (since Lilly and Kuroda never actually hit the free agent market). However, there are justifiable concerns about his injury history and durability, not to mention the fact that it hardly made sense for Cashman to acquire a starter by trade while he was waiting on Lee and Pettitte to decide.

After Lee signed with Philadelphia, spurning New York for a younger team (ahem),  there were really only two pitchers Cashman could have acquired: Zack Greinke and Carl Pavano. Cashman pursued Pavano, going as far as to make him a significant offer for one year. Pavano rejected it. As for Greinke, Cashman met with him and even listened to Greinke make an appeal for Cashman to acquire him, but he ultimately decided against it. Of all the options, is really the only decision with which one could quarrel. Yet this is why you pay your GM the big bucks. He’s responsible for weighing the performance risk of the potential target (which he judged to be high) against the cost of acquiring the target (which we know to be high).

Ultimately it made sense for Cashman to wait on Lee and  Pettitte despite the risk that neither of them would be donning the Yankee pinstripes this season. He really had no other choice to go all-in on these two pitchers. Was he supposed to fill his starting pitcher slot with the Kevin Correias and Jorge De La Rosas of the league while Lee and Pettitte were still out there? What happens if Lee and Pettitte both want to join the club? The risk of wasting a roster slot with a subpar pitcher was not worth forgoing the potential payoff of a rotation of Sabathia, Lee, Hughes, Pettitte and Burnett.

The alleged “screw-up” of the Yankee front office this season is more a function of things out of Cashman’s control: the timing of the trades, the timing of Lee and Pettitte’s decisions, and the relatively bare starting pitching market. One is certainly entitled to second-guess the front office, but aside from disagreeing with Cashman on whether Greinke would be a good fit in New York the criticism seems unfounded. As unenthusiastic as fans are about the prospect of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia in the Yankees rotation to start the year, there wasn’t a whole lot Cashman could do otherwise to prevent it. Sometimes things just don’t go your way.

No issues for Joba, Feliciano during bullpen sessions
Open Thread: The rotation begins to take shape
  • Charles

    Lilly Signed with the Dodgers before any negotiations could go through, Kuroda is probably going to be a reliever this year, De La Rosa wouldn’t be able to handle the AL East, Marcum would have cost too much because we all know how Anthopolus(SP) loves trading in the division, and Harang is garbage.

    I am actually fairly happy the way Cashman handled it, I was expecting within a few weeks of Lee signing w/ the Phillies for Cash to trade the farm for Carpenter/etc.

    But I wouldn’t be surprised to see a B+/A- name starter to be traded for in June/July if Garcia/Colon are inconsistent/injured. Buerlehe/Carpenter seem the most likely imo.

  •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

    This is a criticism of Cashman has been bandied about frequently since Pettitte retired. Yet the question remains: what exactly would these critics have liked Cashman to do differently?

    At least let Joba have ONE good try as a starter. Too late now but maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation if he had a shot. With hindsight he couldn’t have been worse than Vazquez but as I said too late about that.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      Yeah…believe me I’m with you on that.

    • Daveinmd

      Joba’s shoulder is still injured. The Yankees have the medicals. We don’t. So while, I’ve always been a Joba should start guy, it’s hard to make the case when Cashman says his shoulder isn’t healthy enough to start.

      • YankeeJosh

        The Yankees started Joba the year after his shoulder injury. He was a starer until the end of the year in 2009 and was at least in a competition until 2010. If the Yankees let him start in 2009, I don’t believe he’s too injured to start.

        Cashman has said with the injury his stuff plays better as a reliever. That may be true, but his value is still higher (even with lesser stuff) as a starter. I still wish the Yankees would give him another try.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          I wish they would give him another try as well but we all know the won’t. I guess he’s banking on him turning back the clock to 2007.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        “Joba’s shoulder is still injured.”

        Joba shot that thought down.

      •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

        Then was he was able to audition for the 5th spot? If they thought he was done for good why fuck it up more by telling him he has a chance to start?

        I’m even if it’s for 5 starts I want him to be given a shot.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          Yea that doesn’t make sense. He can’t hold up as a starter yet they risked getting him injured by preparing and competing for the 5th spot.

  • bexarama

    Good article. Really, the only pitchers I would have thought about going after are Kuroda – who is not young, and who is injury-prone – and Marcum, who might’ve cost a lot in-division and isn’t a sure thing. I remember the rumors that the Yankees were looking at Jorge de la Rosa early on in the offseason and I am veeerrrrryyyy glad he re-signed with the Rockies. Would’ve been interested in Greinke too, but for what the Brewers were reportedly asking for, it’s hard to kill Cashman for not making that trade.

    It’s possible the Yankees could’ve signed Crawford and then traded one of the other OFs for a pitcher. But a. we don’t know what was available for Swisher, Gardner, or Granderson + prospects, possibly; b. looking at what Boston got Crawford for, that’s a big commitment and probably not worth it, considering the prospects that are coming up.

    • bexarama

      I didn’t even think about the Joba thing above. That’s legit but had nothing to do with waiting around for Lee and Andy.

      •!/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

        Well if we didn’t want to go in the situation of Lee and Pettitte or die then if Joba had a chance this might not happen.

        It’s only a hypothetical of course.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          It wouldn’t have put them in a desperate situation. Not saying Joba would have been an ace or number 2 but at least it wouldn’t have been do or die.

  • YankeeJosh

    A fair critisim of Cashman is that he lost a lot of the Yankees starting pitching depth, so that there are no Minor Leaguers ready right now.

    1. Moved Joba to the bullpen. We’ve gone over this again and again, but it’s hard to see how Joba’s not a better option than Colon or Garcia. With Soriano, Robertson and Feliciano, the bullpen is strong without Joba.

    2. Traded Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson for Granderson. Yanks could really use an IPK type right now. Starting pitching is so hard to come by, and Kennedy may never be true ace material but he was MLB ready. Yanks gave him and a solid player Jackson up for Granderson. I like Curtis, but he’s a very flawed player. Hopefully, Long’s fixes stick this year.

    I know I’d feel a lot better if the Yankees rotation battle for 2 spots was between Joba, IPK, Nova, with Colon or Garcia as long shots for #5.

    In the end, it’s not that huge of a deal, but I do think there are some legitimate criticisms of Cashman regarding the pitching.

    • steve (different one)

      Can’t really argue point number 1.

      But I’m not sure I agree with #2. Agree that it would be nice to have Kennedy as depth, but sometimes you have to give to get. Curtis Granderson is an excellent player, showing flashes of superstar potential. If Granderson is “flawed”, what is Ajax? Very flawed? Extremely flawed?

      If Cashman took the path of least resistance and just brought Damon back, the criticism would be that Cashman let his team get too old. He made a difficult choice to try to make his team younger.

      I know the next response will be that AJax is younger than Granderson, but I don’t think you can fill 2/3 of your OF with no power. JMO.

      • YankeeJosh

        I know point #2 is debateable. Granderson’s ineptitude against lefties is what bothers me, but if Long helps him improve and he has a year like his last two months, I can’t complain. I never loved the Granderson deal and thought that Cashman gave up too much. I would have re-signed Damon, put Ajax/Gardner in CF last year and been glad to have Kennedy.

        In the long haul, losing Kennedy won’t be a big deal. Yanks can sign free agents and still have Banuelos, Betances and Brackman. But for this year, it’d be nice to have Kennedy.

        Perhaps the larger point is that Cashman didn’t do a great job developing MLB ready pitching talent for 2011.

        I also thought of adding wooing Lee more as point 3. Perhaps he could have upped the Average Annual Value of the offer, or sold him more on the city or the young prospects the team had, for their future. I decided this wasn’t a fair critisicm though, since we really don’t know how much of this he did.

        • steve (different one)

          Perhaps the larger point is that Cashman didn’t do a great job developing MLB ready pitching talent for 2011.

          I half agree. I think this sentence would be more accurate if it said “for the first half of 2011”.

          I think the Cashman and the Yankees have done an incredible job building up the pitching depth in the minors. It’s just that it’s not *quite* ready.

          I’m not sure there are too many organizations with a more impressive collection of pitching in their system.

        • nsalem

          Your criticism is quite unwarranted
          1)You are not privy to the medical information that was used to decide Joba’s placement in the bullpen.
          2) The data is not available yet to evaluate the Granderson trade and won’t be for at least several years. If IPK remains on the same level in Arizona for the next several we may never know, because it would be impossible to translate that into how he would have performed in New York.
          If Gardner maintains his pace will you miss AJax no matter what he does.

          If Granderson helps us to some titles does it really matter what IPK turns into.
          3) Cashman is responsible for bringing Nova along and he very well may be MLB ready in 2011. I don’t know where your get off judging his Cashman’s performance before the season has started.

    • MikeD

      IPK and Austin Jackson are also flawed players, which is why the Yankees were willing to trade them.

      IPK’s BABIP last year was a totally unsustainable .256. He was about as lucky as a starting pitcher could be. His FIP was 4.33, and that’s pitching in the N.L. West. Yikes, those numbers translate to the AL East as worse than what Javy Vazquez did last season. Easily 5.25+ range. Are you really sorry you missed that? That’s not only easily replaceable, it’s quite likely a Garcia or a Colon will do better. They’re all fungible.

      Jackson’s BABIP as a hitter was equally off the charts as Kennedy’s was as a pitcher, coming in at .396. There are some hitters based on their style who can maintain higher BABIP. Derek Jeter is one, but it’s a rarity at that level (we’re talking a HOF-class player in Jeter, who is an outlier), and there is no hitter who can consistenly maintain what Jackson did last year, so even if he were to maintain a higher-than-normal BABIP in the .360 range (which, btw, there is some evidence based on his minor league numbers that Jackson can produce higher BABIP numbers), his overall batting average would collapse into the .250s. He has no power, yet led the league in strikeouts with a staggering 170, yet only hit four HRs. Four. That’s the same number he hit the year prior in AAA. No player in the history of MLB has struck out that many times while hitting so few HRs. His four HRs is one less than our slap-hitting Brett Gardner, whose OBP was 40 points higher and is a substantially better defensive OFer than Jackson. I’m sure the Yankees would have really enjoyed the combined nine HRs coming from two-thirds of their OF if they had Gardner in CF and Jackson in LF.

      The point of having a strong farm system is keeping the right players, and then using the other home-grown talent as tade bait for things the team needs more, such as a left-handed hitting OFer with power, like Granderson.

      The Yankees are a better team with Granderson playing the OF than Jackson in the OF and IPK in the rotation. In fact, IPK would make the team worse.

      • CMP

        Grnaderson isn’t a “flawed player” too? The guy is completely useless against lefty handed pitching. Keith Law has repeatedly states he feels Grandy should be platooned because his splits are so bad.

        • bexarama

          Wasn’t AJax worse against lefties than Granderson last year?

          • bexarama


            Granderson vs. LHP 2010: .234/.292/.354. Obviously not very good.

            AJax vs. LHP 2010: .226/.295/.305. Even worse.

            No one’s saying Granderson isn’t flawed. I mean, every player is flawed. It’s up to you if you think the flaws are worth the trade-off.

  • jim p

    Clearly, Cashman did not kidnap and brainwash Lee and Pettitte. Nor did he hire psychics, or the right psychics, to reach into their minds. So you can’t say he really tried, can you?

    Other than that, he’s been fine this off-season.

    The only thing I might disagree with is his dislike of making the deal with Soriano. If the starters can’t be shored up, then you’ve just got to make your pen as strong and as deep as possible. Plus a backup for Mariano, should he test our faith by withdrawing from pitching for awhile, becomes all the more important.

    • steve (different one)

      I don’t think Cashman would disagree that adding Soriano, for all of those reasons you listed, was a good idea.

      Cashman doesn’t dislike Soriano the baseball player. He dislikes his overpriced contract and forfeiting his first round pick.

  • steve (different one)

    Good article. I think in hindsight, the one whiff was Haren. Even then, all we know is the asking price was Joba, Nova and “two prospects”. Don’t know who those prospects were. Brackman and Nunez? Pope and Mesa? Could mean anything, but that one feels like the one genuine missed opportunity.

    I would guess that Cashman passed b/c he assumed he’d get Lee. He was wrong. Sh*t happens, but I think that’s the one guy I wish he was more aggressive on.

    Even Greinke, if Sherman is to be believed, was going to cost 3-4 of our top 10 prospects. I can understand passing for a guy you’re not 100% sold on.

    • MikeD

      Haren is the one I think about, too. Who did the Angels surrender for him?

      • The Big City of Dreams

        Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and Tyler Skaggs,

    • Stephen Rhoads

      I agree on Haren. That one still drives me nuts.

  • parmesan

    Aside from getting Greinke, which I think was the right move to make but as was stated in this piece is debatable, I think the main argument is the complete lack of foresight. For a team with as many resources as the Yankees have it just doesn’t make sense that they were in this position in the first place. It was always a possibility that Lee would go elsewhere and Pettittte would retire. This should have been anticipated for longer than this offseason. Passing on Dan Haren is a prime example of playing your cards wrong because the thought of Lee and Pettitte held Cash back. The rotation should have been front and center for far longer than the 2010 offseason when the Yankees backs were already against the wall.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Excellent post. Cashman doesn’t get blamed for the decisions that Andy and Lee made but he has to take the blame for going into the off season in a desperate situation. The Yankees were not in a position of power when it came to the market.

  • steve (different one)

    One more point: Goldstein’s last sentence implies that Cashman is GOING TO sacrifice Banuelos to make up for his “errors”.

    Of course, we all know he has no intention of doing that.

    Soooo….while the criticism for not filling the rotation has some validity, it has absolutely nothing to do with Banuelos.

  • OldYanksFan

    When it comes to getting talent, the Yankees don’t have an even playing field. We have seen time and again, that in trades, teams always ask for much more from the Yankees then other teams, and it does seem that other teams are in no hurry to help the Yanks improve.

    On the FA market, players EXPECT the Yankees to pay more… and not just by a little. My guess is guys like Teix, who ultimately want to play in NY will settle for a matching offer, but others seem insulted if the Yankees don’t go way over the highest bid for their services.

    I believe Cashman is trying to equalize this a bit. George set a bad president, and I believe Cashman is trying hard not to throw money at players, except in extreme circumstances, like CC. Remember, both AJ and Teix got similar offers to what Cashman paid.

    Aquisitions are almost always a crapshoot. These days, it seems like Cashman would rather err with what we have, rather then err with yet another overinflated contract.

    And I’m with him on that.

    • Januz

      I agree 100% with you. Not everyone has the mental makeup to play for the Yankees, so these kind of guys need to blown away to come here. Look at Felix Hernandez. He took less money to sign with Seattle as an amateur, and he has the Yankees on his no trade list. Greg Maddox wanted no part of The Bronx. Randy Johnson and Javier Vazquez are other examples of guys who for whatever reason could not perform here. It is what it is.

      • Mike HC

        I also get the feeling that the whole “special kind of person to play for the Yanks” thing is starting to go a little bit too far. There is no doubt added pressure when the target is always on your back and everybody is waiting for you to fail and pile on, sometimes even your own fans. But it seems now that the “can’t handle New York” tag is bandied about far too much, and probably most of the time, not true. Unlucky, untimely injuries and the higher level of competition are just two things that can cause poor performance, yet all of it seems to just get lumped in with, “can’t handle NY.” The Yanks may end up missing out on some talented players because they are brainwashed/conditioned to nix guys with any perceived red flags.

    • Mike HC

      Good point. Cashman has stated this off season that he was mandated to get the payroll down and keep it down. We still pay more than every other team in baseball, but you get the feeling the extreme competivness of George Steinbrenner is gone. I definitely see what you are getting at.

  • RobC

    If Banuelos’s stuff is MLB ready he might as well throw this years’s innings in the majors than the minors.
    While successful MLB pitchers his age are the exception (Feller, W Johnson, Gooden etc) they do happen.
    What we cannot know is if his head is MLB ready.

    ? Pitch in the rotation every 5th day and spend the other 4 with Mo.

  • CMP

    Here’s what Cashman did wrong.
    1. When he had the chance to land Dan Haren for an extremely reasonable price (without including any of the B’s or Montero) last summer he didn’t make the deal and allowed the Angels to get him for a pittance. I’ve still never heard a reasonable explanation why that deal never happened other than Cashman though that he had Cliff Lee in the bag, either via trade last summer or as a FA.
    2. Cashman should been prepared to move on Crawford after he was rejected by Lee. True Crawford signed first but sources I’ve read said the Yankees never showed Crawford much interest so there was no reason for him to wait on the Yanks. This move would have not only strengthened the Yankees offensively and defensively but it would have weakened the Red Sox. In an interview with NESN last week, Theo said he felt fortunate the Yanks didn’t jump back in on Crawford. This move would have also made Granderson available as a valuable trade chip for a starter either now or later in the season.
    3. According to many reports, had Cashman been willing to include Nunez in the deal to Seattle, the Yankees would have had Cliff Lee last summer and we very well could have won #28. There would’ve been an excellent chance Lee would have stayed In NY after after getting a close up look at NY and what it is like to be a Yankee. After all, who is the last free agent of their own that the Yankees wanted to keep and lost??

    Cashman was well aware long in advance of this offseason that the time on Pettite was coming to an end, that Javy wasn’t a long term option and that the premium arms on the farm wouldn’t be ready this year. He also should have been well aware of the lack of potential quality starter on the market in 2011 and 2012 for that matter. The author here makes it seem like Cashman was a victum of circumstance and some bad luck. Cashman put all his eggs in the “sign Cliff Lee as a free agent” basket and as a result were relegated to Garcia and Colon and praying AJ can be a real #2 and that Hughes takes a big step forward. To me, since the Yanks beat the Philles in the WS, Cashman has done a very mediocre job.
    Next time one of you Cashman apologists screws up at your job, try telling your boss “Sometimes things just don’t go your way” and see if that excuse is acceptable.

    • steve (different one)

      When he had the chance to land Dan Haren for an extremely reasonable price (without including any of the B’s or Montero)

      We have no idea what the price was. Even though I agree that Haren seems like the one big miss, we still don’t know the price. Find me a link and I’ll concede, but you won’t find one. “Nova, Joba plus 2 prospects” is all you will find. I agree that Montero would not be included, we can’t say if any of the “B’s” were included or not.

      Cashman should been prepared to move on Crawford after he was rejected by Lee

      Um, no. Absolutely not.

      There are some legit reasons to criticize Cashman, but when #2 on your list is kindof insane, maybe you need to revisit your position.

      • Gonzo

        I agree on Haren. It shocks me how many people either forget or don’t care for Tyler Skaggs. One could make a reasonable argument that they valued Skaggs over Brackman and Betances.

      • CMP

        I haven’t read one article stating they think Crawford was overpaid or was a bad signing by the Red Sox. Why would he have not fit in with the Yanks, who could have easily moved Gardner back to CF and traded Granderson in a package for pitching??

        As for Haren, if they could have kept Montero and Banuelos out of the package which shouldn’t have been a problen considering the Yankees other chips and what the D’backs ended up with , I would have gladly given up anyone else for a premium pitcher who’s only 30 years old on a extremely reasonable contract.
        I think you’re the insane one.

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for

          7/14x was widely criticized as being too many dollars and too many years. Perhaps you need to look a bit harder…

          • I am not the droids you’re looking for

            Oh..and perhaps Cashman already had enough of a read on what Granderson’s and/or Gardner’s trade value was, you know, by exploring trade options, to know that what you propose was not an especially good idea.

            You assume much. Too much.

          • CMP

            Take a look at the deals Cashman gave out to CC, Burnett, Tex and Jeter and then tell me if 7/$140 is too much for Crawford. His contract is a better value than all of them.
            If you conclude otherwise, you have no clue.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      1. I agree on Haren.
      2. Crawford has little to do with this – the Yankees have plenty of pieces to acquire a starter this summer without having to trade Granderson.
      3. That’s a real giant hypothetical, and I’m not comfortable with it.

      To your conclusion, though, I’m not a Cashman apologist. Calm down.

      • CMP

        Sure the Yankees have other chips but why use them when all it would have cost them to sign Crawford was a 2nd round draft pick.
        Grandy, a power hitting solid defensive CFer coming off a hot finish on a good contract (2 years/$18 million plus a team option ) would have been a very trade chip.
        Replacing Grandy in the Yankees lineup with Crawford would have been a HUGE upgrade as well (12.6 WAR the last 2 years vs. 6.6 WAR)

    • MikeD

      What exactly did the Yankees lose by not moving on Crawford? It implies they would have then traded one of their existing OFers for a quality starting pitcher. Yet we know there are no quality starting pitchers available, since if they were, the Yankees would have moved on them already. They certainly have enough up-and-coming talent to make a deal, but the lack of a deal is based on the lack of availability. Signing Crawford certainly would not change that situation.

      • CMP

        You better hope a quality starter will become available sometime this season.
        With all the premium arms on the farm about a year away, if everything doesn’t break as planned with Hughes and AJ, the Yankees are gonna be screwed if they can’t get someone decent.

    • nsalem

      1) You like everybody else here have no idea what it would have taken to land Haren.
      2) If Cashman had agreed to give up Nunez, Zduriencik would have asked for more. He had already decided he wanted Smoat more than Montero and thiw was his way of getting out of the deal.
      3) Some of the best trades are the ones you don’t make. If and when we reap the rewards of the young pitchers we held onto I hope you praise our GM with the same fervor that you are using to criticize him now. Nobody is apologizing for Cashman. There are many out there who believe he has put together a team that could win in 2011 while simultaneously maintaining a top flight farm system which he promised us several years ago.

      • CMP

        How do you know Zduriencik would have asked for more? Reports I read said the trade would have gone through if Cash would have given up Nunez.
        Everyone is so high on Montero but it seems the yankees are the only ones who thinks he can actually catch in the bigs.

    • bexarama

      Cashman should been prepared to move on Crawford after he was rejected by Lee. True Crawford signed first

      Okay just stop there.

      As for 3, yes there is a chance that happens. There’s also a chance Lee just loved Philly more and goes back, in which case there’s no Montero or Nunez (who’s useful as a utility guy and trade bait even if you don’t think he’s going to be the next Yankee SS) or whoever else they gave up, and no Lee. That was a pretty risky trade and if Lee had signed with Philly after being traded to NY – well, even though Montero’s not a sure bet to reach his ceiling, I sure wouldn’t be happy, and I’m the last thing from a prospect hugger.

      Lee wasn’t a guarantee to get us #28 either. He didn’t help Texas win that WS very much.

      • CMP

        As for Crawford, you stop. He would have been a major upgrade and his 12.5 WAR over the last 2 years is 2 more than the closest Yankee and considering what Teixeira and Arod are getting paid, $20 million per year would have been a bargain.

        Lee wouldn’t haver guaranteed #28 but he would gotten them to the series for sure and he would have sure given them a great shot to win it all.
        As for Lee leaving, who was the last Yankee who left to go to another team in free agency who the yankees wanted to keep? I can’t name one in the last 20 years.

        • bexarama

          I didn’t mean you stop because of the logic. Well, I kinda did, I guess, because seriously, re-read this:

          Cashman should been prepared to move on Crawford after he was rejected by Lee. True Crawford signed first

          As for Lee leaving, who was the last Yankee who left to go to another team in free agency who the yankees wanted to keep? I can’t name one in the last 20 years.
          Andy Pettitte count? Yankees offered him more money than the Astros too. And just because it hasn’t particularly happened doesn’t mean it wouldn’t. I mean, people had the ink all but dried on Lee’s contract to the Yankees the second the WS ended because free agents supposedly don’t just pass up Yankee money. When’s the last time someone who was in prime FA years tried to leave the Yankees?

          • CMP

            The Yankees didn’t want Andy Pettite and they were right since he blew out his elbow while with the Astros. Check your facts. It’s common knowledge they never made a real offer to him, just like they did with Joe Torre.

            • bexarama

              Kinda funny that you tell me to check my facts when you don’t spell the guy’s name right.

              They could’ve more passionately gone after him, I suppose. But they did offer him a real deal that was more money than the Astros’. Torre’s deal was real too; it’s not the Yankees’ fault he got butthurt over being the potentially highest-paid manager in baseball.

              • CMP

                Listen, the offers the Yankees made to Pettitte before he went to the Astros and to Torre before he went to the Dodgers were half hearted attempts to save face. Neither offer was made with the intention of bringing them back.
                The Yankees feared Pettitte’s elbow for years and ended up being right. As for Torre, they felt they needed a change, again another good call.

                • The Big City of Dreams

                  They were right about his elbow in the first in he pitched for the Stros. It’s not as if he has had major elbow issues since they let him walk.

    • Evan3457

      Your point 2. is in error. Crawford signed with the Red Sox 4 days before Lee “rejected” the Yanks and signed with the Phillies. When Lee “rejected” the Yanks, there was no Crawford to “turn to”.

      Point 3. is highly debatable. Cashman though he had a deal agreed to by Zdurencik. Zdurencik obviously wanted Smoak more than anyone the Yanks offered. Just because we believe Montero is the better prospect doesn’t mean Zdurencik has to agree. After they though they had a deal, Zdurencik temporized by demaning Nunez instead of Adams, while he went behind the Yanks back to the Rangers to tell them they’d better hop to it, if they didn’t want to lose out on Lee.

      Cashman may have felt he needed Nunez, in case the upcoming Jeter negotations went sour, or just in case he need a credible threat to use against Jeter in the negotiations. Or he might have felt that had he agreed to Nunez, Zdurencik would’ve asked for a 4th prospect, or a 5th prospect, just to play for time to get Smoak from the Angels. Or Cashman may have been infuriated by the fact that the M’s went back on their word.

      Cashman could not have been aware, back in June, that Pettitte’s time “was coming to an end”. Andy hadn’t been injured yet, for one thing. For another thing, it took Pettitte an awfully long time to make up his mind; until February, in fact. Cashman could not have “known this” last June. In fact, had he signed Lee, Pettitte might well have come back anyway for a last hurrah.

      Cashman “put all his eggs in the Cliff Lee basket” for one very simple reason: it was the only reasonable basket to go after. Nobody else on the market filled the Yanks needs nearly as well as Lee, except possibly Grienke, and, for better or worse, Cashman decided not to trade multiple top prospects for what he considered an iffy proposition. I’m not sure he made the right decision in that case, but I can’t say with any certainty that it was wrong, either.

      • CMP

        My point is Cashman should have either made his best offer to Lee and then moved onto Crawford before he signed with the Sox or he should have made sure Crawford knew the Yankees were very interested should the Lee deal fail.
        Crawford would have had every reason to wait to sign with the Sox since there was no other outfielders on the market remotely close to his quality for the Red Sox to turn to and getting the Yanks and Sox pitted against each other is every free agents dream scenario.

        • Evan3457

          So, what you’re saying is that he should have abandoned the best pitcher on the market and signed Crawford, whom the Yanks didn’t need at the time, in the vague hope of trading Granderson or Swisher or Gardner, or one of them plus unstated prospects for some sort of starter, without regard to what starters were available, whether the team in question needed a Swisher or Granderson, or thought Gardner was of everyday regular quality. They’d have wound up paying for two additional huge salaries on their payroll instead of one, and still not gotten Lee.

          And since when do the Yanks make just one offer to a player they really want, without waiting for a counter/demand from the player or agent, and then going higher, if needed?

  • Enoch44

    I cannot agree on Crawford, especially after seeing what he got from Boston. Do the Yankees really need another LTD, especially for a guy who relies so much on his speed? The upgrade over Gardner is nowhere near the price it cost. It would greatly limit flexibility for future acquisitions for positions of greater need.

    Remember, Boston HAD to get players to replace big bats of Martinez and Beltre. The Yankees did not.

    • CMP

      Crawford would have been signed to replace Granderson, not Garnder and he’s more than worth the $10 million per year difference in their annual salary.

  • Mike HC

    I think Cashman definitely deserves some criticism for the state of the rotation right now. It is not only about other alternatives this year, but his failure to find any reliable starting pitching on the free agent market or trade market in the mid to late 2000’s, except for CC (which is a humongous exception to make because he can singlehandedly carry a staff). It was the failures of the Pavano’s, Wright’s and Javy’s (twice) of the world that has left us with the thin rotation we have. Add the unwillingness too even use “Joba” and “starter” in the same sentence, and I think Cashman deserves some blame.

    • Mike HC

      To Cashman’s great credit though, he realized you can’t rely on free agent starting pitchers over and over again, and went out and loaded up on pitching, Hughes, Joba, Banuelos, Betances, Brackman … IPK and Viz which were used in trades, and I’m sure others I am forgetting or don’t know about yet. The fruits of that search are just starting to pay off and with a little patience, should pay off even more in a year or two.

      • steve (different one)

        Yeah, I was about to comment, that while I agree that he deserves some blame for the pitching dearth in the mid-aughts, I place more blame on the lack of pitching in their system than on the failures of the guys they brought in.

        They simply didn’t draft a decent pitcher for about 5 years. Crazy.

      • Januz

        Mike, some of the names that you are referring to are Brett Marshall, Bryan Mitchell Graham Stoneburner & last year’s prize signing Gabe Encinas. They also stacked up on quite a few bullpen arms in last year’s draft.

        • Mike HC

          Thanks for the added information. I guess I will be hearing a lot about Gabe Encinas in the near future on this site.

  • Preston

    The dig at Cashman is ridiculous, Lee and Pettitte were the #1 and #2 rated starters in FA. I don’t want to pay Jorge De La Rosa eight figures, Pavano wasn’t coming back and Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon are as viable as any of the other junk hurlers that were left. So if the criticism is that Cashman didn’t trade for a starter, than what you’re really saying is Manny Banuelos would be pitching for someone else. Because it would have been necessary to include him in a trade to get Greinke, Marcum or Garza.

  • M-Three

    I don’t know why Lilly was mentioned in this piece. Even if he was avaliable, Cashman would be dumb to go anywhere near signing him. Lilly is not underated, he has always been very overated. He has no guts, no heart and his stuff is absolute trash. He would be like batting practice in Yankee stadium with his 85-87 mph fastball with hanging breaking balls. Lilly is nothing more than a left-handed Javier Vasquez.

    • Mike Axisa

      Thank you. Lilly’s had a fine career, gutsy pitcher, but the disconnect between what he is and what people think he is is enormous.

      • Stephen Rhoads

        I’m not sure how many people value him HIGHER than what he is – a low 4 FIP fly ball pitcher with good control and decent K rates in the NL. There are plenty of people, though, that refer to him as a left-handed Javy Vazquez, someone with no heart and “absolute trash” for stuff. And to me they’re the ones with the huge disconnect between what they imagine him to be and what he actually is.

        • bexarama

          Yeah, I hear this a lot more than I hear “Lilly is so great” or anything like that. I think he’s a better option than Colon and certainly a better option than going after Millwood, but he’s not perfect. But again – didn’t really have a chance.

        • CMP

          Lilly is moot point. He could never survive in the AL east at this point in his career.
          If the Yankees were going to sign him, it should have been when he left Toronto for the Cubs and was coming off a few decent years in the AL east rather than signing Igawa.

  • KTEvent

    Cash is at fault. It’s easy to not see the big picture and assume our GM had not other real options. But Cash plays with more money (thought I’d say cash?) than any other GMs and he’s made poor choices in the past. Here’s one big, “What if”. What if The Yanks signed Vlad instead of Nick Johnson last year? Arguably, it means a world series. What if the Yanks singed Vlad instead of… Gary Sheffield? The point is it’s a long-term process and if Cashman was a bit more skilled at his job it wouldn’t come down to desperation winter moves. What if Cash signed Crawford and then had an extra outfielder to wheel and deal? Think about his body of work and the poor choices that have cost the Yanks.

    • bexarama

      Wheel and deal for what? Do we get Greinke for Gardner or Granderson or Swisher? Is it worth trading one of them? Does Felix suddenly become available?

      Also, if Vlad hits like he does in the 2010 playoffs it most certainly does not mean a WS.

      • bexarama

        Also if Cashman is so bad as you claim, maybe it’s good that he didn’t have to deal with Crawford’s contract and he shouldn’t be wheeling and dealing.

        • CMP

          I don’t think Cashman is a “bad” GM. I just think he’s very average and considering he’s probably the highest paid GM in baseball and is working for a team with the highest standards, more should be expected of him.

          • I am not the droids you’re looking for

            More IS expected of him. Obviously. But until you present rational options backed up by real facts instead of groundless speculation then the criticism rings hollow.

            • CMP

              Look at the state of our rotation and tell me Cashman has done a good job.
              $190 million payroll and our number 2 starter is coming off a year when he had an ERA of 5.26 and was worth 1.3 WAR not to mention the unknown at #4 and crap competing for #5.

              If that’s not enough, how about the fact that this is the 2nd offseason in a row he screwed up or did you forget his Javy Vasquez, Nick Johnson, Randy Winn, Chan Ho Park stroke of genius from last year ( I’m generously giving him a push on the Granderson deal).

              Want to go back further, how about the Pirates trade for Xavier Nady and Marte. Didn’t work out too well. Projected out over a full season, Jose Tabata would have been a 3 WAR player, not bad for a few hundred thouand.
              And let’s not forget the signings of Jaret Wright and Pavano?
              “Real fact” of Cashman’s screw ups are starring you in the face if you’d only open your eyes.

              • The Big City of Dreams

                Marte helped us win it all in 2009. He was great in the PS that yr.

    • Mike HC

      Cashman wanted to sign Vlad over Sheff but he got overruled by George and the “Tampa braintrust.” And I’m not sure Vlad at DH is what really puts us over the top last year, but Nick Johnson surely was not a smart move, and as for your other points, mainly about Crawford, you may be right.

    • steve (different one)

      Pretty hilarious that your big example, Vlad vs. Sheffield, is one that Cashman himself supported, but George personally overruled him and signed Sheff.

      Also, how does Vlad vs. NJ mean the World Series last year? Did Vlad do ANYTHING really in the playoffs? Wierd criticism.

      The Yankees have a world class offense, a great bullpen, and a loaded farm system. Right now, they are one starting pitcher short.

      It would be great if we could stick to debating the real issues instead of bringing in nonsensical red herrings.

      I mean, do people really disapprove of the way Cashman has handled his outfield? Yet you bring up THREE examples of OFers he should have signed. It’s completely out of left field, pun intended.

      The Yankees have a relatively young, relatively cheap, athletic OF. It’s the one part of the team he has absolutely nailed. Yet we are ripping him for not spending $142M for Carl Crawford or signing the desicated corpse of Vlad Guerrero.

      Give me a break, did you even watch the playoffs last year? .220/.242/.272. That’s Vlad’s line for the 2010 postseason and yet that cost the Yankees a WS? Insane.

    • steve (different one)

      Also, the guy everyone wants to kick to the curb for Crawford, Curtis Granderson, hit .357/.514/.607 in the playoffs last year.

      again, .357/.514/.607.

      It’s amazing how convenient it is for people to use the postseason as the ONLY thing to knock certain guys for, or completely ignore it when it goes against their argument…

  • Januz

    The Sheffield signing was George Steinbrenner, NOT Cashman (Like the Arod & Soriano signings were NOT Cashman (He opposed them)). Speaking of the names Soriano and Arod, did people here like the ALFONSO Soriano trade for Arod made by Cashman?
    Judging by this board, you would swear Cashman is on the level of Omar Minaya.

  • Tom Zig

    I wanted nothing to do with Ted Lily or Kuroda. Ted Lily would be 2010 Javy Vazquez all over again. Kuroda will be 36 this season, no thanks.

    The Yankees went big game hunting, and they missed. They offered Lee the most overall money and he turned them down. What was he supposed to do, brain wash him?

    Crawford made no sense. Our 3 outfielders combined make as much as him now.

    • Mike Axisa

      I was down with Kuroda, Lilly not so much.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      Just to clear something up – while I’m a Lilly fan for fantasy baseball purposes as long as he’s in a pitcher’s park, I wasn’t actually recommending that Cashman pursue him. I believe he had the highest FB rate in the bigs last yr, and I can’t imagine that would play too well in YS3.

  • nsalem

    The by product of the strong farm system that Cashman has developed is the ability to trade and sign free agents from strength rather than weakness.
    This will be a pleasant change in culture for the Yankees.

    • CMP

      Trade from strength?
      Come July, if the Yanks starters are struggling and they’re 7-8 games behind the Red Sox, every GM is gonna try to rape Cashman in a trade for a starter.

      • steve (different one)

        That’s not what he meant. He meant “position of strength” as a synonym for “depth”. It’s a valid point.

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for

          Agreed. CMP not so much into the rational in this thread.

      • pete

        how’s about we don’t use the word “rape” to mean anything other than, ya know, rape?

  • steve (different one)

    The other thing I find interesting is that Cashman is frequently bashed for “bidding against himself” for CC and “overpaying”.

    Yet, who exactly came within $30M of the Sox deal with Crawford?


    No one.

    Who exactly was the other player for Lackey?

    • JohnnyC

      Theo is such a genius that he constantly finds himself having to bid against himself to get a taste of real competition.

    • CMP

      Crawford signed a $20 mill/year deal for a player in his prime who has averaged 6.3 WAR per year for the last 2.
      I certainly don’t think he’s overpaid and in fact his contract is a better value than Tex, Arod, CC, AJ and Jeter’s.

      • steve (different one)

        That wasn’t my point. The point is that people ripped Cashman for weeks, on this very site, for increasing his offer when no one else was seemingly in the bidding.

        Yet, the Sox appeared to have done the same thing.

        That is all I was saying, not that Crawford is not an excellent player or that he doesn’t deserve to be paid.

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for

        This contract will be god awful in its final 2-3 years. Book it.

        Also, you assume much. Actually worse. You presume.

        – you presume to know what kind of SP would’ve been available in trade for one of our OFers had we signed Crawford.

        – you presume that Cashman didn’t know this himself (and that is a batshit insane presumption)

        – you presume that the real answers to the above, combined with the overpriced crawford contract, yield a different correct path than the one taken by Cashman.

        Thanks for playing.


        • CMP

          The same pitcher that the Yankees are gonna have to give up the farm to get this July is the one they could have used Granderson to obtain if they had signed Crawford. This also completely ignores the fact that Crawford has been worth 3 win Per YEAR more than Granderson and would have been a major upgrade.

          You presume Crawford is going to lose it at age 33? What orefice did you pull that out of?

          • Evan3457

            Not necessarily.

            Since no real aces are available, the Yanks won’t spend a king’s ransom for a Buerhle-type or a Floyd-type, should the White Sox make them available.

            It’s extremely unlikely that Crawford will be a 7 WAR player 5 years from now because:

            1) There ain’t no more PED.
            2) He’s not really a consistent 7 WAR player now because of Fangraphs’ selection of UZR as their defensive metric for WAR, which they’ve more or less conceded is giving weird results.
            3) It was his career year at age 28.

  • Gonzo

    These pitchers might have made some more money if they waited to sign. Even if the Yanks weren’t interested, mentioning the Yanks are interested could have netted them an extra million or two. Who could have known things would have shaken out like they did though.

  • Trevor

    Mike Axisa in defense of Cashman’s failures asks ‘just what exactly should Cashman have done differently?’ Is this a serious question? Well Mike, it should similarly strike you that your question is also the common response to Cashman enablers. So your’e not even original at the beginning of your new career as apolgist for bad behavior; Cashman’s that is. If you have to ask that question in defense of a man with, by baseball standards, limitless resources to execute a basic strategic plan,(and I’m at the least here assuming he had a plan other than the mythical Plan B,)then I’m not sure I even want to take the time to point out to you what should be obvious.

    If the New York Yankees are, as of March 19th, attempting to structure, flesh out, a starting rotation on the backs,er, arms of two has-beens there is at the least a perception of a problem of omission:Cashman fiddled, pitchers more competent than these came of the free agency boards, while Yankee stadium burned.(And how long before Andy Pettite retired did he have an inkling that Andy Pettite may retire? (This may be a rhetorical question.) And how long or when may the possiblity of Cliff Lee not selecting the Yankees enter into the realm of strategic planning? (This too may be rhetorical.) Finally Mike, what would you think of your job performance if your boss had to write your articles for you? I think you would agree that the Steinbrenners “signing” of Soriano was a real eye-opener? This is a problem of commission on the part of Brian Cashman: his stubborness and petulance over the Soriano signing as though the money was his and he had accomplished all that was needed to meet his teams needs for 2011. Plan B is not an option. Tell Brian, it’s not even a plan.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      Hey pal. Mike didn’t write this piece. Carry on.

      • steve (different one)

        Yes, exactly. And how do you think that makes Mike’s bosses feel??

    • CMP

      Cashman had no plan B. He put all his eggs in the Cliff Lee basket and must have shit a brick when he realized Lee was going back to the Philles.
      Somehow, Rueben Amaro in the last year has been able to trade for Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt and sign Cliff Lee while holding onto Cole Hamels while still maintaining one of the better farm systems in baseball. That’s the standard to which Cashman should be held.

      • steve (different one)

        Sure, but Amaro also was forced to trade for Oswalt b/c he stupidly traded away Lee in the first place.

        He was fortunate that Lee fell back into his lap this winter.

        Look, I don’t disagree with everything you are saying. Cashman deserves some heat for the state of the rotation. No doubt. And I don’t disagree that Haren should have been more of a target, just disagree with some of the details.

        It’s some of the other non-sequitors that I think take away from some of your arguments. Cashman should be CREDITED for the outfield he’s assembled, yet people want him to commit ~$150M to sign Crawford to pull off some hypothetical deal for a pitcher using Granderson? How can I critize him for something that may not even be possible? Just because Granderson is attractive doesn’t mean he’s a fit for the other party. The Royals certainly wouldn’t have been interested in Granderson for Greinke. I suppose it’s possible this could have happened, but then again, maybe it wasn’t.

      • Zack

        Since you like rhetorical questions so much:

        What would you have offered for Halladay? And then I’ll be AA and ask you to offer more because you are trading within the division. Then I will say more because Hey Trevor, you’re giving me a DH not a C. Then hey Trevor, you’re trading me a reliever in Hughes or Joba. Then Hey Trevor, Manny B didn’t have his velocity jump yet. Then Hey Trevor, Dellin is a raw 21 year old with no control. Then Hey Trevor, Brackman is a bust I don’t want him. Offer more please.

        Also, what would be your Plan B since you’re critcizing Cashman.

        • CMP

          Like I said above, by the time Lee turned down the Yankees, the only plan feasible is to wait.
          That’s because Cashman had boxed himself into a corner where it was Lee or bust.
          Had Cashman parted with Nunez, there would be an excellent chance we would have Cliff Lee right now. In addition, a legitimate #2 starter like Dan Haren was ripe for the taking and Cashman chose not to pursue that either.
          Do you realize in the last 1-2 years, premium pitchers that have been available include Cliff Lee (traded TWICE and a free agent once) Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren, Zack Greinke, Jake Peavy, Matt Garza, Shawn Marcum, Joel Piniero just off the top of my head yet the team with most money and a deep farm system failed to pull the trigger on ANY of them.

          • nsalem

            Lee did not want to pitch for the Yankees. Garza, Halladay and Marcum would have come at a ridiculous price because they are in our division. Oswalt would have turned down a trade to The Yankees. Peavy WAS a premium pitcher in 2007 and if we had traded for him I guarantee you would be screaming about what a stupid trade Cashman had made. In all likelihood the asking price for Haren was Banuelos as would have been Greinke.
            Piniero is not a premium pitcher. In the last two years we have acquired Sabathia and AJ (Sabathia was a great move and the book is still open on AJ). We have held onto all of our key pitching prospects and very well may reap great benefits as early as mid season. Has Cashman made mistakes in the past? Most certainly, most of the mid aught decisions did not work out. That was then this is now. He has done more good than harm especially in the way he has stockpiled young arms. I am very excited about the Yankee’s future because I have never seen as many quality young arms in our system and as we all know it is pitching that gets you the rings. If you want to kill the Yankee FO for the moves they made 5 years ago you have a legitimate argument. To kill them for what has happened over the last 2 years in untenable simply because the results are not in yet. It is flawed logic to debate so passionately over events that have not yet occurred.

            • NJYankeeFan

              There have been plenty of good pitchers available over the last few years and every pitcher on that list including Piniero is significantly better that what we have at 4 and 5, most in fact would be our 2nd or 3rd best starters.
              This conspiracy theory about everyone wanting more from the Yankees in terms of players or free agent dollars is just another excuse for Cashman’s ineptitude.

              • nsalem

                It’s not a theory it is a fact. JP Riccardi said as much when the Yankees showed interest Halladay a couple of years back and Tampa’s stance towards dealing with the Yankees is also well documented. You just don’t get it. These pitchers were never really available to us. Thinking Piniero is a premium pitcher and a possible #2 on the Yankees is also sheer lunacy. Check
                how he is performed in the 5 AL East ballparks over his career and for that matter anyplace else not called Safeco Field and then tell me you want him in a Yankee uniform. Piniero is a league average pitcher at best and would be a whipping boy in the AL East Your points have zero merit.

  • nsalem

    Because he got what he thought was a better offer in Smoat and he was going to do whatever it took to get out of the deal.

  • cranky

    there were numerous hints that the Astros would have traded wandy rodriguez a few months ago. anyone who’s read my posts know that i’d advocated for this, even suggested a package of joba+romine+warren
    (that the astros had been looking for catching was well documented).

    how would a rotation of cc/burnett/hughes/rodriguez/nova look about now?

    generally, i like what cashman’s been doing, and i don’t criticize him for not signing cliff lee. but he DOES make mistakes, miss opportunities, etc.

  • Truth

    Cashman screwed up this off-season before it began but I guess you can “set the record straight” by ignoring the context.

    • Evan3457

      Not really.

  • Professor Longnose

    As far as setting the record straight goes, it was YES, not ESPN, that kept New York fans from seeing the game.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      You are right about that. Sorry for the error.

  • Truth

    What can you say of Cashman’s ability to build a rotation if we end up needing CC more after he opts out then when he was first signed?

    • CMP

      Exactly right .
      People here have criticized the contracts given to Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee. Just wait and see what the Yankees are gonna pay a 31 year old obese pitcher with a TON of mileage on his arm this offseason after he opts out. I’m guessing 7/$175 minimum.

    • Evan3457

      Not really possible.

      This was the Yanks’ rotation at the end of 2008 when Mussina retired:

      1. Pettitte, 36 years old, and coming off a mediocre year.
      2. An injured Wang.
      3. Joba recovering from a shoulder injury, and not in rotation at year’s end.
      4. Darrell Rasner. (or maybe Ian Kennedy, who had gotten bounced around like a super-ball at that point).
      5. Maybe Phil Hughes, who had proven nothing at that point (and who got slapped around again at the start of 2009, and was moved to set-up relief).

      That’s exactly one healthy, proven starter. That’s why they signed both CC and AJ to begin with. At the end of this year, assuming AJ comes back some and has a reasonably viable season, they’ll have Hughes and AJ, and whoever survives this season (Nova, Colon, Garcia, whoever).

      That’s not to say they won’t need CC badly, and will pay big bucks to get him back.

      • Evan3457

        Oh, almost forgot, because of the shoulder injury, Joba only threw 100 innings in 2008, and had a 150-160 innings cap for 2009.

  • Greg

    Basically all of this fervor comes down to a couple of main points.

    1. Cashman is advocating patience and building of the minor league system. Yankee fans dont know the meaning of the word “patience” and want to sign every big player like Crawford and Lee. They also have the belief that everybody wants to play in New York.

    2. This lack of pitching goes all the way back to the mid 2000s when the Steinbrenners were trading away pitching prospect after pitching prospect for Randy Johnson, Jeff Weaver and David Justice. We had Jake Westbrook and Ted Lilly in our grasps and we let them get away. Not number ones but certainly would fill the rotation.