Once more unto the breach


In many respects the current Yankee offseason has been remarkably similar to last year’s. While the team hasn’t been spurned by the biggest free agent starter available this time around, for a second straight year they’ve been notably cautious with upgrading the roster (well, with the exception of the ill-advised signings of Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano), as Brian Cashman seems determined not to overpay for anything other than the closest he can get to as sure a thing as there is in baseball.

This approach is fairly sound from a pure baseball operations perspective, although it’s left factions of the fanbase a bit skittish (especially in the aftermath of the John Danks extension), particularly with regards to a perceived lack of interest in the still-available starters on the board despite Cashman’s repeated public declarations of wanting to improve the pitching staff.

In trying to make sense of the Yankee front office’s increasing reluctance to be in on, well just about anyone, I keep coming back to the one event that has ostensibly dictated every move (or non-move) the team has made during the last calendar year, and that’s missing out on Cliff Lee. In hindsight I don’t think the team ever really thought Lee wouldn’t take its offer — especially considering it wound up representing the most years and guaranteed money (seven years, $148 million) — and what we’ve seen since is an organization that’s had to completely revamp its roster planning on the fly.

We saw fliers taken on Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia — neither of whom end up being Yankees if the team signs Lee — but they came exceptionally cheap and with little risk. If they didn’t work out, all the team had to do was eat a minimal amount of cash and dump them. We watched them sit tight at last July’s trade deadline, unwilling to overpay for less-than-sure-thing Ubaldo Jimenez.

This offseason many are now clamoring for the team to try Hiroki Kuroda or Roy Oswalt on one-year deals, and while I won’t go so far as to build a case against either, as either hurler appears to make a a good amount of sense as a one-year stopgap for the Yankees (and for the record, I’m fine with signing either one), the fact that the Yankees haven’t been terribly aggressive on either player should also signal that maybe these right-handers aren’t the no-brainers they would appear to be on paper. There’s a lot to like about Kuroda, but while the difference in environments is often overstated the relative difficulty level between pitching in the NL West and AL East is still very real, and I’d imagine the Yankees’ internal projections see Kuroda as more of a #4 than the #2 type many are hoping he could be. How many teams in 2011 paid their number-four starter the $12 million many presume the 36-year-old Kuroda is seeking?

As for Oswalt, consider this — the Yankees decided to roll the dice on Bartolo Colon last winter despite having not pitched in the Majors in over a year and a set of medicals that would make Ben Sheets envious. While the Colon move worked out far better than the Yankees ever could have expected — and cost nothing — the reticence on Oswalt would seem to indicate that the team doesn’t believe Oswalt’s asking price matches up with his questionable health.

The other side of the Lee coin is that, as a general manager with a fair number of high-profile free agent pitching signings that haven’t worked out — Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Kei Igawa and A.J. Burnett immediately spring to mind, not to mention two failed Javier Vazquez deals (though both were defensible at the time) — I think Cash is now hellbent on not overpaying another team’s free agent for past production. It’s why he’s stayed away from the Wilsons, Buehrles and even Darvishes of the world this winter, and why he’s (to this point) ignored Edwin Jackson.

Should the market for, say, Oswalt somehow fall below the $5 million threshold, Cash (and every other GM in the game) would undoubtedly be all over it, but until that point I’m not sure I’d expect to see Oswalt in pinstripes. Same goes for Kuroda. When you consider that the Yankees got Colon and Garcia for a combined $2.4 million (pre-incentives) and turned them into 5.8 bWAR, that tells me that the team feels confident enough in its in-house options that it doesn’t feel like it has to make a free agent upgrade, or is only interested in backfilling the back of the rotation with pitchers on the team’s terms.

With no sure thing available for just money since Lee last year, the Yankees have had to forge a very different path for themselves. Many of us spent a lot of time looking at potential low-cost options for the rotation last offseason — I for one wrote up Jeff Francis, Brad Penny and Justin Duchscherer among others last winter — and it appears that’s exactly what the Yankees intend to do once again. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wound up with Rich Harden, who I looked at back in November; or maybe even someone completely off the radar like Joel Pineiro (not saying I endorse this, but maybe he’s worth a shot on a Colon/Garcia-type deal); or the oft-injured Chris Young.

Or maybe Cash stands pat, happy to go into the season with a rotation of CC Sabathia-Ivan Nova-Phil Hughes-A.J. Burnett-Freddy Garcia, with Hector Noesi waiting in the wings. Many are expecting the bottom to fall out on Nova, but I’ve begun to wonder if, in the desire to rein in expectations, we’re actually underrating what Ivan can do. I’m also — perhaps foolishly so — bizarrely optimistic on Hughes and Burnett. If either or both can turn in a season of starting with an ERA under 4.50, the robust Yankee offense will still be in position to win a lot of their starts.

Additionally, for what it’s worth — and depending on your opinion on forecasting systems, it may not be much — as rosters currently stand the Yankees are projected to win the AL East by both CAIRO (with a 94-68 record) and Oliver (92-70). While the usual projection caveats of course apply, and rosters will obviously change prior to opening day, that the Yankees would appear to have a roughly 93-win team on paper even if they don’t add a single piece the rest of the winter should be pretty heartening, all things considered.

While we’ve grown accustomed to splashy acquisitions, Cashman has proven himself fairly adept at dumpster diving in the wake of the Cliff Lee saga, and it seems like Yankee fans may once again have to forgo filet mignon in favor of dog food for a second straight offseason.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Steve H says:

    Very well said, especially the Kuroda/Oswalt parts.

  2. bg90027 says:

    Cashman has always been a good dumpster diver. Don’t forget Aaron Small, Shawn Chacon, and Jon Leiber.

    At the end of the day, I expect Cashman will explore big deals and settle for low cost depth moves. Not only are Kuroda and Oswalt expensive mid rotation guys, they also would likely bump Hughes out of the rotation. I think I’d rather roll the dice and see what Hughes can do.

    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

      And Scott Erickson and Sidney Ponson And Brett Tomko and Jaret Wright and…

      • Steve (different one) says:

        And Marcus Thames, Luis Ayala, Cory Wade, Brian Bruney….

        If there was a 100% success rate, they wouldnt come so cheap.

      • ADam says:

        Jarret Wright was a Steinbrenner/Levine production, Erickson, and Ponson were brought in as injury replacements mid season, — Ericson had a handful of junk inning mop up innings and Brett Tomko didn’t make the team out of spring training, So whats your point with those 4

        Yanks have depth in the Minor Leagues, enough so that they don’t need to go and a Sidney Ponson, or Scott Ericson. They are putting a premium on young pitching so they dont have to go out and sign a dinosaur just because he’s has a half year of good baseball under their belt.

        I like being the underdog, we were supposed to finish 3rd int he division while the Red Sox were going to be the greatest team in baseball history remember? The sox made history alright, biggest collapse in sports history. I’m ok standing pat this off season, i think your gonna get to enjoy some good young pitching this year, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride…

        • OldYanksFan says:

          Well said. And let’s keep in mind:
          … If the Yanks are serious about the $189m cap, spending money on big contracts doesn’t fly, unless it’s a sure thing.
          … People alway complain that we don’t develop our youth… especially our pitchers. Well, here’s a good reason to try.
          … In terms of WAR per dollar, over the next 5 years, CC (needs 5 WAR), ARod (needs 6 WAR0, Jeter (needs 4 WAR) and Teix (needs 5 WAR) to earn their keep. It’s unlikely any of them average that. So players that are ‘overproductive’ in terms of WAR/$ (like Gritner and any decent kids) are VERY important to this team.

          Cashman is not being cheap. He’s being smart… even if it’s a little painful to watch.

  3. Favrest says:

    I was really hoping that they’d find a taker for Soriano. That guy sucks.

    The Yankees hold on to their prospects too long. They won’t get anything for them in two years. Joba could got them an ace. Now, he’s worthless. Cashman doesn’t learn.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Yeah, Cashman really blew it by not dumping Cano, Gardner, and Nova before they turned into total busts and never helped the team win! Guy is such an idiot! He could have traded Joba for Johan so the Yankees could pay Johan $20 mill per not to pitch, what a wasted opportunity!

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Hmm, let’s see:

        Cano – The Diamondbacks had the option in the Randy Johnson trade and passed. Remember that winner? Both times?

        Gardner – He was never considered a prospect. Even now almost all his value is tied up in his defense. It took them three years to give him a starting spot. Even now, he looks like a guy who is already declining. Pitchers are starting to really challenge him and his offense is below average, especially for a LF.

        Nova – A guy who has barely established himself and you’re crowing about him? Given his peripherals are indistinguishable from 2010, he’s just as likely to be below average in 2012 as above average.

        Who else you got? Cashman has been the GM since 1998. That’s really the best you’ve got in the last 14 years?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Once again you are not responding to my point. My point was not that the Yankees develop a ton of talent. My point has nothing to do with how much talent they’ve developed. My point is that trading prospects is not always the right move.

          If you are not impressed with Cano, Gardner, Robertson, Joba, Hughes, and Montero in that time span (with the trade pieces to go along with them) your standards are ridiculous. What team has brought up more talent without having a single pick in the top 15?

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            Once again, you change the goal posts to suit your lame arguments.

            Pedroia. Youkilis. Buchholz. Bard.

            Utley. Howard. Hammels. Madsen.

            First two teams I looked at. Same resources. Much, much better talent.

            But I suppose you’ll decide something else is important now.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              I am not changing the goal posts. They’ve always been in the same spot. You’ve

              I disagree that talent is any better. Cano vs. Pedroia vs. Utley is splitting hairs. Buccholz is about as unproven and unreliable as Hughes. Bard and Madsen aren’t any better than Robertson, not to mention Joba and Melancon. Montero has a pretty good chance of becoming the big bat to match Youk and Howard. Even if you want to split hairs and call that better talent… 2 teams out of 30 still makes the Yankees in the top 10% of the league… Is that supposed to be bad?

              • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                Oh, I see. First the relevant team had to draft out of the top 15. Now it’s 30 teams.

                Utley > Pedroia > Cano; The Sox also drafted Papelbon while Buchholz has gotten Cy Young votes (has Hughes?). And now a pretty good prospect is equivalent to two regular MVP candidates. Awesome, you’re really insightful.

                I’m done arguing with you. Go talk to a wall. It won’t care when you change the argument to suit whatever “facts” you want.

                • CMP says:

                  I agree with your point about Cashman. Out of every player, coach and front office person in the Yankee organization, I think he is by far the most overrated.

                  At their peak, I think the ranking would be Utley, Cano than Pedroia.

                  • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                    Pedroia gets the benefit of Fenway, I’ll give you that. But he’s much better than Cano defensively.

                    • CMP says:

                      That’s true but Cano is a pure hitter.

                      I still think that once Pedroia’s skills diminish even slightly, his maximum effort swing is going to produce some ugly ABs.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  I meant to say without one of the players in question being a top 15 pick. You can make a mistake on a blog. It happens. That doesn’t mean I am trying to change facts.

                  Again, I think you are splitting hairs on Cano v. Utley v. Pedroia. They are all very good. Reasonable people will disagree with you subjective rankings. Yours. Is not somehow a superior opinion.

                  Buccholz had one good season. Hasn’t broken 1.3 fWAR otherwise. Cy Young votes mean nothing.

                  You’re taking marginal differences and making them seem huge.

                  You’re also creating a false boogyman out of Cashman. He’s a manager. Doesn’t run every aspect. Manages people. When the farm was barren for a long time he made a change. Opp has done very well in my opinion and I think by any reasonable measure.

                  Every human makes mistakes. It’s about what you do to correct those mistakes going forward.

                • Cody says:

                  I god hope you’re kidding me, I understand your argument about talent, but you’re not getting the gist of his argument. You’re playing semantics rather than actually taking into consideration what he’s saying Yankees hater. He’s saying that the Yankees have done a tremendous job developing young talent into successful major league players and if you’re going to deny that then you’re both naive and ignorant. Then to say UTLEY AND PEDROIA ARE BOTH BETTER THAN CANO? You’ve got to be kidding me. Utley and Cano match in power, Cano bests him in average and defense (unless you want to go by those saber metrics the Red Sox have used that contradict what major league saber metrics state about his defense). Cano matches Pedroia’s average, destroys him in the power category now that he’s actually developing into what Pedroia was his one exceptional year (Cano does this on a year in year out basis) and while Pedroia may have better range, if you think he has a better arm you need to get your eyes checked. Have you seen the replays? He makes the same plays and does them seemingly (EMPHASIZE SEEMINGLY SINCE YOU ENJOY NIT-PICKING LITTLE THINGS IN ARGUMENTS) effortless. He’s a natural second basemen and will likely turn into one of the best all time to be inducted into the HOF at his current pace. Why don’t you go talk to a wall?

          • CJ says:

            I think to key to the success of cano Robertson and Gardner is they had the chance to succeed as under the radar prospects. The high expectation prospects with hype have trouble Hughes Kennedy joba. I don’t think it was over hype rather too much pressure to live up to the hype.

        • Eric says:

          They gave Gardner the starting job right out of spring training ’09, his rookie year so your wrong on that.
          Gardner’s value comes not only from his elite defense but his ability to get on base and also baserunning. What he offers is actually very coveted, just ask the Nats, Chisox, Royals, etc that have lusted for him but were turned down by the Yanks.

          Also, it is beyond shortsighted…silly actually to even suggest a 29 year old with such athleticism and talent that he is on the decline. Yes, pitchers are challenging him but i’m almost confident that he’ll adjust back and be more agressive in his approach. Watch for a monster year from him.

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Then there’s Joba. What a winner!?! Great development right there. How many starts did he get in the minors before they decided he was better as TEH BULLPEN ARM?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Most people had Joba pegged for the BP before he was even drafted as I remember. Yankees did what a lot of other teams might not even have done by trying him as a starter.

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            Not surprisingly, you remember wrong. He was drafted as a starter. He was a starter in college. He was a starter until they realized they had no bullpen in 2007.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Not surprisingly you aren’t responding to my comment. I am aware he started in college. I said most people (and should have said a lot since I don’t know if it was most) were projecting him as a reliever. Much the same way a lot of people were projecting Lincecum as a reliever.

        • OldYanksFan says:

          Unofrtunately… the Yankees don’t develop youth as well as some othet teams. But it’s not because they can’t, it’s because they sacrifice development to ‘Win Now’. Both Hughes and Joba were brought up prematurely. So was Melky. Cano thrived, but he came up early because of Womack. We also traded a lot of talent so we could ‘Win Now’, and also lost many picks by buying big Free Agents.

          Some teams play to make the PS 1 or 2 times a decade. They can look ahead and develop appropriately.

          The Yankees have what? Made the PS in 14 of the last 15 years? That comes at a cost. If you haven’t noticed, since Cashman has had (almost) full control, he has been trying to turn that around. Even with our money, we have developed an excellent Farm over the last 5 years, considering bottom-of-the-barrel picks every year.

          Remeber, we had 5 home-grown studs that fueled the last 15 years. You can’t have a long string of success without developing a number of your own players.

      • CJ says:

        The reason not to trade joba Hughes Kennedy for Johan was hoping/waiting for CC. I didn’t want to trade for prospects for Johan because CC/Johan was a push. Cashman did not see a problem with his delivery and think Johan was an injury risk. Nobody did he was a stud ace. Cashman couldn’t tell feliciano threw two many innings across the bridge!!

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Thanks for reading Cashman’s mind for me. My psychic in on break for the holidays, so I needed that assistance!

          • CJ says:

            You honestly think you or cashman saw Johan as an injury risk?

            • Ted Nelson says:

              I think he might have seen him as a bigger risk than CC. At $20 mill per any decision has a lot of risk. I have no idea what he thought or thinks, though, that’s what I’m saying.

              I do not think he passed on Johan knowing CC would be available. It worked out that way and obviously Cashman knew it was possible, but I think it was also possible CC got extended somewhere and the Yankees never get a chance. I think Cashman passed on Johan because of the price.

            • Steve (different one) says:

              Why not? He was coming off the worst half season of his career when he had mysteriously stopped throwing sliders. After the trade, ESPN reported there were “red flags” in his physical. He’s not a big guy. It wasn’t unreasonable to believe that. I am not sayin that is what made Cashman’s decision, but there were flags.

    • Gonzo says:

      This guy’s link is wild. Don’t click unless you are a fan of urolagnia.

  4. Ted Nelson says:

    Good analysis.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Colon had become a Yankee even if Lee had signed. Played on Pena’s winter team, didn’t hear of him having any other offers (though maybe he did or could have), and didn’t have any guarantee of a starting spot to the point of opening the season in the bullpen.

  5. Behind Enemy Lines says:

    “not to mention two failed Javier Vazquez deals (though both were defensible at the time) ”

    Why is this the party line around here? The first one, sure (like Jeff Weaver). The second one was a complete waste – based on their lack of need for a precision tosser like Vazquez and what it meant for Joba on top of his prior pinstriped history. The guy was run out of town. It didn’t take a genius to know that Vazquez was going to disappoint. Like this winter, he wasn’t a difference maker. Instead they traded serviceable parts, perhaps a superstar starter, for a guy who would get eaten alive by the AL East. And he did. Like Pavano, Cashman was stubborn to think he knew better. That attitude still infects the organization when they punted on developing youth last year in favor of Garcia and Colon.

    “even Darvishes of the world this winter”

    Wait, what? The kid is 25 years old. How is he overpaying for “past” performance?

    “the reticence on Oswalt would seem to indicate that the team doesn’t believe Oswalt’s asking price matches up with his questionable health.”

    Why assume the team knows what the hell it is doing? They got lucky on Colon and Garcia – nothing more. Pena saw the former in winter ball. They’re try this approach almost every year. Remember Scott Erickson? Or Sir Sidney?

    Oswalt is a clear upgrade. Even with the risks, he could easily be 20% better than league average. Given the going price for league average starters, Oswalt deserves $12-15M. What the hell else are they going to do with the cash? Blow it on another lefty specialist?

    • Re the Vazquez thing, I totally hear you, but I think you’re conflating the people who definitively state “the Javy move was the right move at the time” with what Larry said, which was that it was “defensible at the time.” There’s a pretty big difference between those two ideas. I didn’t like the Javy deal when it was made, but I certainly wouldn’t call it “indefensible at the time.”

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Sorry, but it was indefensible, most especially with Vazquez’s history in the Bronx. They only made the move because Cashman thought 2008 was a failure because they started the year by promoting youth. Hughes was dictated the winner of the “competition” before it ever started and Joba was banished to the pen after little to know effort to develop him above the league average level he had established. It was a total “I’m Keith Hernandez” moment by Cashman.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I totally disagree. That Javy had one bad season in a certain city does not mean he was doomed to have another bad season in that city. It happened that way, but it was not a necessary outcome. This is pure monday morning QBing. If Javy had a decent season, you’d have nothing.

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            So all you’ve got is a hypothetical while we have two busted seasons. Great insight!

            • Ted Nelson says:

              That something happened a certain way does not mean that’s the only way it could have turned out, or even that it was at all likely to turn out that way. This is the exact argument you are trying to use claiming Gardner was not a prospect (he was… not a stud prospect, but a prospect)… so I’d think you’d understand it.

    • Need Pitching says:

      what is the cash you are speaking of? It appears the Yankees are intent on keeping the payroll in the $205M range. I can’t blame Cash for not wanting to spend 12-15M on a major injury risk, when apparently doing so would force him to clear payroll space to fit him. As for why the Yankees feel they need to limit their payroll to that range, that is an issue to take Hal/Hank to task for, not Cashman.

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        They’re intent on keeping payroll low to maximize profits to their limited partners. The Boss never would have stood for that. That’s why you’re only seeing this austerity once he’s dead.

        They’re pulling in over $100M a year in pure profits.

        • Need Pitching says:

          not directly from the Yankees, but counting their share of the profits from YES, and their other ventures that’s likely true

          However, they are a minority partner in YES, so its not like they can just cut checks with YES money to cover their payroll

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            If the Yankees got paid a true market rate by YES, they’d be grossing that much more.

            At least Goldman Sachs is getting theirs.

            • Need Pitching says:

              definitely, though they do save some money in revenue sharing this way

              • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                Exactly why they do it that way. Their LPs get their take and the team reports a much smaller profit. It’s brillant in a way, but then they should be damn well spending when they have a chance – Darvish, Oswalt, Jones this off-season.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Yeah the sons are so cheap… CC, Tex, Burnett, Soriano, Jeter, A-Rod… man are they cheap bastards!!!

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Why assume the team knows what the hell it is doing?

      Well, since Cashman has been the GM, how many times has the team been to the playoffs? How many division titles? How many WS titles? How does that stack up against all of the other teams in MLB?

      Well, based on performance, evidently somebody knows what the hell he’s doing.

  6. “When you consider that the Yankees got Colon and Garcia for a combined $2.4 million (pre-incentives) and turned them into 5.8 bWAR, that tells me that the team feels confident enough in its in-house options that it doesn’t feel like it has to make a free agent upgrade, or is only interested in backfilling the back of the rotation with pitchers on the team’s terms”

    Unless I missed something, this is the part of the post that kind of touches on what I’ve been thinking might be happening here, which is that the Yanks feel that the MiLB arms are so close to being MLB-ready that they don’t want to clog up the roster too much and not leave any room for promotion. The Yanks have a number of arms in the higher levels – some that are viewed as having very high ceilings, but still others that may not have sky-high ceilings but could reasonably be expected to become MLB contributors – and I’m thinking maybe they finally think those guys are ready to step in and be the very low-cost options they’ve been working on producing these last few years. Cashman’s been open the last few years about his interest in developing from within, both as a method of producing top talent and of keeping the payroll within reasonable limits (thus allowing him to go out and get the pieces he really needs, when needs be). I think this is maybe just a moment when they feel like the odds are enough in their favor to roll the dice with the prospects, at least as options, say, 6-10 for the rotation. Those odds will never be perfect, but at some point you do have to take on some risk with a project like this. At some point, you have to take that plunge.

    There’s definitely a part of me that would like to see them bolster the rotation, but there’s another part of me that’s glad to see the roadblocks removed for some of the minor league arms. I think there’s been a concern that the Yanks would develop these players and then they’d never have the chance to make it in MLB with the Yanks because there just wouldn’t be room on the roster. Maybe this is, in part (and maybe in large part) the moment when they’re showing these prospects some light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

      The problem, of course, is they had MLB ready arms in 2010. Instead, they completely wasted a year and option on Noesi. They started the year with Joba as a 6th/7th inning arm. And then they had Warren, Phelps, and even Mitchell picking up “precious” innings in AAA. Kids need time to adjust to MLB hitters – the best in the world. How else will they get that time?

      See, Colon and Garcia were fine. But there was a clear opportunity cost in going with them. If you’re going to go that route, at least pay for a high upside guy like Oswalt. As it is, they’re starting the year with “five” arms in the rotation. Where’s the slot for any of the youth? If Burnett or Hughes are slogging innings at an 85 ERA+, they’re really going to give the youth a chance?

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Meant 2011, of course.

      • The minor league arms weren’t as ready pre-2011 as they are pre-2012. That’s what development is all about. Maybe a couple of the prospects were more ready to help out in 2011 than they were allowed to, but to act like the prospect class going into 2011 is the same as the prospect class going into 2012 is wrong.

        I don’t understand the interest some people seem to have in moving players through the minors as quickly as possible. Phelps, Warren and their ilk probably weren’t quite ready pre-2011, and even if they were, pitching in AAA for the season couldn’t have done anything (considering the then-current stage of their development) but let them continue on their development paths. It’s not like any of those guys absolutely knocked down the door and forced the Yankees to call them up last year. Until a prospect does that, I say let them stay in the minors and develop for as long as it takes. Then you get to a certain age/stage of development and see what you’ve got.

        I’m not going to get into the rest of it, nor am I going to get into any sort of drawn-out conversation over this. I’ve thrown the idea out there, have at it.

        • Behind Enemy Lines says:

          Noesi and Mitchell were. Warren and Phelps were close.

          Now, going into this year they’re completely overloaded. How are all of those guys plus Banuelos and Betances going to get developmental MLB innings this year? They already have a full rotation. If those arms are in the 85 to 100 ERA + range, they’re not getting bounced for youth. In order to sort through the keepers from the duds, you have to see them against actual MLB competition. That’s what like team like the Braves do so well. Vizcaino was behind Banuelos and Betances when the Yankees traded him for literally nothing, and now he’s ahead of them.

          My point is you can only learn so much in the minors. Developing as a MLB pitcher means getting out MLB hitters. Nova, if he’s developed at all, learned that he needed a better approach with more variation. That’s happened as he’s gotten more MLB innings. Look at his monthly splits.

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        If you’re going to go that route, at least pay for a high upside guy like Oswalt.

        Oswalt put up a 1.7 bWAR in 2011, and was paid $16 mil.

        For comparison, Garcia posted a 3.4 bWAR for $1.5 mil (before incentives), and threw more innings.

        Oswalt hasn’t thrown as many innings in a season as Garcia did in 2011 since 2009.

        It appears possible, if not likely, that Garcia’s cost/WAR will be lower than Oswalt’s cost/WAR in 2012.

        So I don’t understand how Oswalt is a “high upside guy.”

        • Behind Enemy Lines says:

          You seem to be missing Oswalt’s 2010 when he threw 211 innings at a 146 ERA+. He could be much better. He could be much worse. The Yankees are supposed to take chances like that. And if Oswalt fails, that’s a much better scenario for prospects to step into than trying to supplant the suckfest that is Burnett and Hughes.

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            That’s a 5.1 bWAR from Oswalt in 2010. You know, when the Yankees could have had him at the deadline for peanuts.

    • David, Jr. says:

      This is right on. Let’s say that they could have had either Gio or Danks in deals built around Banuelos. Somebody could say “”Why in H didn’t they do that!”. Somebody maybe smarter could say “That is a strong vote of confidence in Banuelos, who isn’t that far from the majors, maybe late this year.”

  7. Short Porch says:

    There are times when you have to assume Cashman has better info than you. Oswald medically are a casein point

  8. CJ says:

    I agree with only paying for the “sure thing” or studs. The only real sure thing player is Prince Fielder. Even next year Cole hamels, Matt Cain are borderline sure things cy young greinke is the best talent with SAD and then there’s Josh Hamilton. A player of prince fielders sure thing caliber will not be available for years. Last year cashman couldn’t improve rotation so he tried to improve bullpen. This year he can’t get pitching so improve the offense. Trade Martin montero, romine, cervelii catch. Trade Burnett eat salary, start noesi phelps. Dickerson 4th OF. Rangers, angels, rays and red sox are too good to stand pat and make the playoffs.

    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

      Yeah, Teixeira was a sure thing all right.

      • CJ says:

        I know he hasn’t even hit 40 hr and he barely drives in 110. And he’s a loafer in the field and he’s always hurt, missing games and complaining.

        • Mick says:

          Missing games? He’s played 156+ games each of the last seven seasons. But I wouldn’t want facts to cloud your artificial rants.

        • James says:

          He has the power, but they paid for a .280-.300 hitter, not a .245 hitter.

          • CJ says:

            Batting avg difference is 1-2 singles a week over the season. Shift.

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            It helps where he hits most of the time. His SLG has been 125 points (2009), 150 points, and 30 points (2011) higher at home. Take him away from Yankee Stadium and he’s barely an .800 OPS hitter.

            • Steve (different one) says:

              I’m calling bullcrap on you. You can’t use Teixeira’s home/road splits in the same thread you call Pedroia better than Cano. You can’t have it both ways.

              • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                See above. Pedroia also plays better defense than Cano. I’d rather take the 2B who hits and plays above average defense than the 2B who only hits.

                Teixeira though is declining fast to anyone paying attention. His bat is getting slooooooooooow. Reason #128 why you don’t overpay at 1B. It’s like they weren’t paying attention to Giambi’s last few years. Or Tino’s. Or Mattingly’s.

                • prdentist says:

                  You are so full of it Mr. Red Sox!!! Pedroia is even more full of it than you. He had no comment on the problems at the end of the season, which was the worse fold in baseball history. Being the leader of the dead sox, he had no comment, not one word. With leaders like that, they will continue to be the AH of the league!!!

    • Mick says:

      And a 5′ 11″, 300 lb first baseman is a sure thing over the life of a ten-year contract?

  9. Nathan says:

    Seems like Cashman is better suited for a team like the Oakland A’s than the Yankees if he is a better dumpster diver than picking high-priced free agents.

    I personally would rather he take chances, get some right and get some wrong than sit around on the sideline waiting for a “sure thing” such as Lee last year, and then get left left behind with nothing.

  10. James says:

    I’m really wondering if Cashman and co are waiting for next offseason to just blow away 2-3 of these pitchers with deals. What happens if they sign 2 of Hamels, Cain, Greinke, etc. I’m expecting big things to happen next offseason. Maybe they trade for a guy this AS break, and sign 1-2 of these other guys??? Everyone is freaking about nothing.

    • CJ says:

      Problem is hamels and Cain could resign or sign with another team. Greinke should already be a Yankee but god forbid a player with a medical disorder refuses to speak to NY media, then “he can’t make it in NY”

  11. CJ says:

    Bat ARod in front of Prince and watch Arods OPS return to .950

  12. ADam says:

    Hughes is the key man, he’s the guy that will make or break the rotation, and if he’s healthy all of this belly aching over not getting a sinker baller that’s 10 years older will go away

  13. Bronx Byte says:

    There must be at least one of 19 teams that Cashman can convince to take Burnett at $8MM for 2 years of his remaining salary.
    Obviously Cashman would have to eat $16.5MM of salary but that comes off the books as less luxury tax and clears the way for deserving young pitching to advance.

    5 years/$82.5M (2009-13)
    signed by NY Yankees as a free agent 12/12/08
    09-13:$16.5M annually
    limited no-trade clause (Burnett may block deals to 10 clubs each year)

  14. Dave203 says:

    I still think Garza is the best option as long as they don’t ask for Montero or Banuelos. We have plenty of pitching prospects we could include in a deal to send to a rebuilding team. Garza would give us a legit pitcher affordable for the next 2 seasons. We could still go after someone like Hammels next offseason if he doesn’t resign.

    Plus, I just think it would be a great way for Epstein to say FU to the Sox.

  15. CMP says:

    “In many respects the current Yankee offseason has been remarkably similar to last year’s.”

    Yeah and if Cashman continue to fail in his attempt to acquire a front end starting pitcher, next season’s ending is going to be “remarkably similar to last year’s” too.

    • Dave203 says:

      Right, because pitching is the reason we went home early last year. I believe we lost 3-2, not 10-2. While each player may not pitch the same year as they did last year, it is a bit much to assume they will all be the same or worse and that none will improve. As a whole, we should expect the same out of the staff this year without any changes. While not what most fans want to see, we can still win with what we have. Philly proved last year that just because you are great team on paper, doesn’t mean you are going to win. Have some faith in your team, be a fan, and stop whining about it.

      • CMP says:

        The Yankees got 2 good starts against Detroit that just so happened to be the 2 games that they won.

        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          Nova may have gotten hurt in Game 5, but they only gave up three runs regardless. If the pitching gives up 3 or less runs, the onus is on the Yankee offense to produce. The rotation is not the reason they lost in the ALDS last year.

        • Dave203 says:

          What’s your point? Should we should ditch the pitchers that didn’t pitch well? The losses were from Freddy and…. oh yeah, CC! You’re entire gripe is based upon having Nova/Hughes/AJ/Freddy as our 2-5 hurts our chances in the playoffs. Nova and AJ pitched fine and most of the time, CC actually pitches well. While not ideal on paper, that rotation is still serviceable if you hit.

      • CMP says:

        No ones whining about anything. Try looking at your team with a modicum of objectivity.

        the last time the Yankees won the world series, CC, Pettitte and AJ all pitched like front end starters. In 2010 and 2011, that did not happen and as presently constituted going into 2012, the rotation is weaker than is was before since you can’t realistically expect to get 6 WAR from Colon and Garcia again.

        Having a great team on paper guarantees nothing but having a great rotation sure improves your odds of winning.

        • Need Pitching says:

          2009 ERA+ : CC – 137, AJ – 114, Pettite – 111, Joba – 97
          2011 ERA+ : CC – 147, Garcia – 122, Nova – 119, Colon – 111

          Not saying the 2011 rotation was as good as 2009, but in terms of results, 2011 Garcia and Nova outpitched 2009 Pettite and AJ

        • Kevin says:

          and if you have no offense,it won’t mean a darn thing.

        • Dave203 says:

          I don’t see any reason you couldn’t expect to get a similar WAR with Nova/Hughes/AJ/Garcia in 2012 as opposed to AJ/Nova/Colon/Garcia in 2011.

          Sure you’d love to have more big names on paper, but at what expense. $125 million for Darvish? $77.5 million for Wilson? $58 million for Buehrle? These contracts are ridiculous. Due to past ridiculous contracts, we are stuck not being able to do that. We haven’t even had a chance to sign anyone really without overpaying with either $$$ or prospects.

          You can say you aren’t whining, but your first post looks like sulking at a minimum.

  16. Evan3457 says:

    The Tigers series was lost because they didn’t hit. The pitching was OK.
    Texas would’ve belted them around, I suppose, but they didn’t get far enough to actually see.

  17. toad says:

    My guess is that Cashman understands that pitchers are very risky investments. That means you want to have a lot of pitchers, and not bet the house on one. Have three young guys who each have a 30% chance to star and you have about a 65% chance of getting (at least) one star. How have big contracts awarded to star pitchers worked out historically?

    And there’s something else. Risks are not symmetrical. With a top FA it’s mostly downside risk. Does anyone think Cliff Lee is going to show dramatic improvement over the next few years? With the youngsters, and the Colons of the world, you can get a pleasant surprise.

    In other words, the odds favor quantity. Diversify your bets.

  18. cranky says:

    The Yankees nearly made it to the World Series last year after lousy seasons from A-Rod, Phil Hughes, Tex, Soriano, AJ, and nothing at all, really, from Joba or the DH.
    What if those guys perform up to expectations, while every one else just does what he did in 2011?
    Then throw in the possibility that Hector Noesi steps in to win a bunch of starts and Montero hits to an .OPS of .880 and drives in 85 runs?
    Doesn’t look too bad.
    I’d love to see them pick up another stud for the rotation. But, even without that, the 2012 Yanks
    will be a strong team–and Manny Banuelos could be in the rotation by July, serving in the “John Danks” role.

  19. Grover says:

    Far too much negativity for the Christmas season and stop living in the past. Cashman has been resigned and I am grateful that he will continue to manage the egos of the owners who force bad signings on him. Kudos to the man and “enough with the negative vibes Moriarity”.

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