The Yankees have wasted more money on left-handed relievers over the last few years than I care to count, most due to injury (Damaso Marte, Pedro Feliciano) but some also due to ineffectiveness (Kei Igawa, Mike Myers). Boone Logan was essentially thrown into the (second) ill-fated Javy Vazquez trade, but he’s emerged as the team’s best southpaw reliever since Mike Stanton’s first go-around in the Bronx. The team obviously values a quality lefty bullpen arm, which Brian Cashman readily acknowledged yesterday. It’s just not a top priority at the moment.
“I would like to get another lefty, but I don’t think any of you here should focus on how I’m going to do that, because I don’t anticipate that whatsoever,” said Cashman to reporters following his arrival at the Winter Meetings. “Is it on the wish list? It is. If anybody tells you that we’re focused on any left-handed reliever, they’re lying.”
The Yankees have already inked Mike O’Connor — who has crushed left-handed batters in Triple-A — to a minor league contract. We know they have some level of interest in Mike Gonzalez, who comes with the added benefit of being a very close personal friend of Rafael Soriano’s. The hard-throwing Matt Thornton is on the market, but he’s rather expensive and there’s almost no doubt the White Sox have already gotten the best years of his career. The rest of the lefty specialist free agent market is generally unappealing.
Cashman made it clear that improving the starting rotation is at the very top of their wish list, but he’s also made it clear they value a lefty reliever. It’s good to see them putting it on the back burner though, lefty specialists are just too difficult to predict. It comes with the territory of making your living by going from one small sample to the next. Logan is far from perfect but generally solid, and it helps that the Yankees can rely on David Robertson, Soriano, and a when-healthy Joba Chamberlain to get left-handers out in the late innings as well.