Sick of this.

Scouting The Trade Market: Andrew McCutchen
Phil Hughes and a dose of reality

Yesterday Larry chronicled how past offseason activity compares to the current state of “no news yesterday, today or tomorrow”. Given the healthy condition of the Yankees roster and the dearth of good options on the free agency or trade market (for now), Larry concludes that this peaceful offseason is a actually a blessing, even if it is a bit boring:

However, in the aftermath of the Cliff Lee non-signing, standing relatively pat for the remainder of last offseason…and continuing to stand his ground at the trade deadline back at the end of July, Brian Cashman’s strategy of waiting things out — and perhaps not even making a significant move at all — may not be such a bad thing. Especially if Kenny Williams finally comes calling bearing gifts of John Danks and/or Gavin Floyd.

This is true, of course. There has hardly been a good opportunity squandered by the Yankees since the Dan Haren deal, and their inactivity is really more of a function of the market than reticence or over-caution. In fact, the front office’s ability to keep calm and carry on and not sell the farm on risky ventures is a testament to their intelligence, and patience.

Yet, I can’t help myself in feeling just a little bit antsy, and quite a bit bored, with how the Hot Stove season has gone so far. It’s been weeks and weeks since the Yankees were eliminated and the most interesting news to come out of Yankeeland and MLB writ large has been the re-signing of CC Sabathia, something of a fait accompli in my mind, and the changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That’s it. No rumors of a blockbuster trade, no mystery team, no secret meetings. Just nothing but boring. Like the kid in Sandlot, I don’t think I can take much more. As Patrick Henry famously said, “Give me [rumors] or [take away my Internet access].”

This problem is compounded by thorough and analytical coverage here at River Ave Blues. Whenever a rumor surfaces, readers can count on Joe or Mike to quickly put together a Scouting the Market piece and examine the pros and cons of the target. Yet they always provide three or four good reasons why a trade won’t happen. I know everyone’s trade proposal sucks, but yeesh fellas, let a guy dream on Cole Hamels or Andrew McCutchen for a day before you kill the idea.  It’s gotten so bad (and they’ve gotten so good) that they often will quash a trade target before I even know the player is available. They’re murdering my Hot Stove Dreams faster than I can dream them up.

Sick of this.

Part of the consolation of a baseball-less half-year is the fact that the offseason unfolds in a manner unlike any other sport. Much like the game itself, baseball’s free agency is a languid and leisurely process, dawdling and lingering before wrapping up in January; trade rumors kick up in the first set of winter meetings and refuse to die for weeks; and avid fans are treated to a solid eight or more weeks of news and gossip before February settles in and the countdown to Spring Training begins in earnest. Aside from the absence of actual games, at times it feels like baseball never leaves.

So while I’m generally comfortable with the team’s roster, I’m with Larry and others in hoping the club can add one or more starter pitchers this winter. And before they ink these pitchers to shiny new deals or ship out prospects to get them, I’d very much like to have a lovely drawn-out period in which the team is linked, truthfully or not, to all the names out there. All of them. Tell me Prince Fielder wants to live in Alpine with CC and let me try to figure out how in the world they could pay $180 million for just a DH, and with Montero on board to boot. Tell me Cash had dinner with Big Papi at Tap. Tell me Jack Z. and Felix just aren’t getting along. Tell me Tim Lincecum cut his hair and has been spending time in the Village. Tell me all of it.

It’s been a long time since Ben, Mike, Joe and I gnawed our way through our hats and watched in agony as the team failed in Game 5 of the ALDS. It’s been a long time since Joe and I stood at the mezzanine level in the bottom of the 4th with the bases jacked and one out and ate our hot dogs and banged on the metal tables and hollered until security told us to stop, and then acted like we forgot and did it again, only to see Martin and Gardner pop out and the rally die. But it hasn’t been long enough. A new year is almost here, and that means a new team. And until I get that new team, I’d like very much to dream on what could be. Help a brother out; it’s starting to get cold.

Scouting The Trade Market: Andrew McCutchen
Phil Hughes and a dose of reality
  • jay destro

    This is a meme post, you guys.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      Real bad boy action.

      • Gonzo

        I thought this post had real bold flavors.

        • Stephen Rhoads

          So pumped. Feel like I could drink a thousand beers right now, you guys.

          • Gonzo

            Gotta have Ted Nugent playing though.

      • jay destro

        Captain Cash’s Bronx Pizza Ship launching at Yankee Stadium is a major idea to boost the excitement of the off season, you guys. I am talking big time apps, top shelf margs, bold pizza flavors like buffalo sauce and bleu cheese. Really big ideas guys, might have to roll it by ol’ Smokin’ Hank to see what he thinks!

        • Gonzo

          Please, no dude waiters. Ruins the mood.

          • jay destro

            Only gal’s in Jeet jerseys of course, and no corncob Sox fans are permitted in the place!

          • crotch_jenkins


  • Sarah

    I had a dream last night the Phillies traded Cole Hamels to the Orioles, and I was sad. I could not believe that Cashman wouldn’t be able to beat a package from the Orioles!

  • Steve H.

    So steamed.

  • BJ

    The only thing I’m sick of is people STILL bringing up Cliff Lee. Give it a rest.

    • Esteban

      Really steamed.

    • theyankeewarrior

      But seriously, fuck Cliff Lee.


  • Mike Axisa

    Really looking forward to the weekend, you guys.

    • Steve H.

      Really looking forward to the weekend writers, you guys.

    • mbonzo

      I hear theres a mystery team also looking forward to this weekend.

  • CountryClub

    I like the fact that this site quickly squashes trade target rumors. It limits needless conversation about a player that most of us strongly believe will never come to NY.

  • Gonzo

    Best post ever?

    BTW, what are you guys’ thoughts on soaking your ballsack in Brut before a big date?

    • RetroRob

      Totally off topic.

      Just make sure you don’t shave it prior to dunking.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    Don’t worry my friend. In just 3-4 days we should be witnessing plenty of action. This action may or may not involve the Yankees so much which is what I expect, but one way or the other, I believe we will get that #2 pitcher that we are looking for and hope it will be through free agency so as to keep our young ones intact.

  • Dirty Pena

    Coal Hamels is a total babe.

  • Andrew

    Oppenheimer pulled such a classic. Put Soriano’s contract in his fly & snuck up on Cashman. He turned around and went bananas. Said it was inappropriate. When your boss doesn’t crack up at a grown man with an unpopular contract hangin out of his pants like a peener, bein Pirates GM makes alot of sense.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      This was a labor of love and bold passion.

    • Gonzo

      “When you destroy someone’s property, it’s ok to just take off if it was truly an accident, you guys. Especially if you’re pretty drunk.”
      -Any Red Sox person in September.

    • jay destro

      you sir, earned one internet point for this. well done.

    • Phife Dawg

      I think Karl is secretly a Yankee fan, you guys.

  • Phife Dawg

    Bold Yankee flavors. The works. Full spread.

  • KL

    This is like the third recent post whining about the Yankees giving RAB nothing to talk about. I forgot it was the Yankees job to do silly trades and signings in order to keep their blogger faction happy by Dec 1st. Or they resort to starting trade rumors for Andrew McCutchen. That was a gem.

    This might be a clue you do not need to blog evey day. Nothing is really going on in baseball at the moment. Instead of whining, you should all go fish.

    • PhillyMatt

      Ok. Do you have any aces?

    • Dirty Pena

      What a corncob.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Not that we should be in the business of telling readers to go away, but conversely, you could not read every day also. There’s no need to be whiny about it.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        I agree. This is not an obligatory mission. You read it if you want and don’t if you don’t wish to read it. There is no need for insults.

        • Plank

          I took it more as an invitation for fishing.

  • Rich in NJ

    Cash’s head fakes aside, I think the Yankees are in a period of transition for the next few years. They have limited payroll and roster flexibility as a result of so many very large contracts to aging (and perhaps declining) veterans, and they realize that acquiring young talent will be harder under the new CBA. So Cash is really do the only thing he can reasonably do, unless Levine/Hal orders him to do otherwise.

  • well you know

    The state of stagnation caused me to take a look back.

    Six times between ’96 and ’06 the Yankee regular lineup (nine players) turned over by 4-5 spots compared to just the previous year. That’s as defined by Baseball Ref’s list of players getting the most games at each position.

    In contrast, as things look now, Opening Day 2012 will, I believe, mark the first time in franchise history that the Yankees will field the same seven infield and outfield starters on three consecutive Opening Days. And the first time in franchise history that the team will field the same eight position starters plus the same starting pitcher on two consecutive Opening Days. (I offer these propositions to be disproved by the diligent).

    Not advocating change for change’s sake. But change as part of the natural order of things has undergone a . . . change in the last few year.

    • Gonzo

      Just a pure guess, but I assume that has something to do with payroll increase. When you spend more each year, it’s easy to add/upgrade at positions. It’s a lot tougher when you are stuck at the same level every year.

      ’96 – 53 million
      ’97 – 60 million
      ’98 – 71 million
      ’99 – 89 million
      ’00 – 93 million
      ’01 – 113 million
      ’02 – 126 million
      ’03 – 153 million
      ’04 – 185 million
      ’05 – 209 million
      ’06 – 195 million


      ’09 – 201 million
      ’10 – 206 million
      ’11 – 202 million

      *These are USA Today’s #’s not Cot’s. Cot’s didn’t go back far enough. There are discrepencies between the two though.

      • RetroRob

        …which means heading into 2012, the Yankees payroll growth will have stagnated for the eighth consecutive season.

        Luxury tax is a totally a soft cap.

      • well you know

        To the extent payroll reflects a perceived need to lock in key players long term, that’s certainly a factor with Alex and Tex.

        Another factor, in Jeter’s case, is the perceived inability to make a cold-blooded decision that might have been made in a past era.

        And a third factor, I would say, is Cashman’s ascendancy and his being personally invested in players whose performance levels plausibly subject them to being changed out (Swisher, Gardner, Martin). I agree that overall payroll ceiling considerations may reinforce the tendency to stand pat in these instances.

  • ILS

    Had to fake diarrhea and hit the john to read this post on my phone. Pretty sure Nosy Lady is on to me but it was totally worth it. Really looking forward to Stephen’s next post, you guys.

  • Bill

    Eh, honestly I’m almost waiting for next offseason. I just don’t see big things happening this year outside of a potential winning bid for Darvish (if his divorce ever gets settled and he is posted).

    Trades for top flight pitchers are now more geared to team’s with smaller budgets. A small-mid-market team like for example the Brewers can trade their top prospects for a good pitcher because their window is much smaller than the Yankees and because they can’t afford to acquire those guys in FA. The Yankees on the other hand could trade a boatload for a big time pitcher, but why would they do it when they can keep those guys and wait a year and sign someone through FA.

    The non-trade for Johan Santana is the classic example of why the Yankees are unlikely to trade for a big time starter. They had the option of trading some top prospects and signing the guy to a big contract or waiting a year for when CC Sabathia would likely be a FA. They waited and it paid off.

    2009 was the perfect offseason to strike and rebuild the team for a championship run. I think 2012 presents that same opportunity unless the team gets impatient and spends big on someone like Wilson who is older and inferior to the guys who will be available next year. Next year the Yankees can sign at least one top of the rotation starter, possibly two.

    Stay patient Cashman.

    • David, Jr.

      This. And even more if Cash looks at his team as currently constituted as having a great chance of winning the division this year.

      That certainly would not be an unreasonable position, given that they won 97 last year, will add Montero to the lineup, and could easily get far more from many players such as ARod, Tex and Hughes.

      It is a “from strength, no need to overpay” mode, and I believe that it fits the Yankee situation this year perfectly.

  • mbonzo

    This just in.
    Yankees interested in… becoming a small market team.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    I disagree with Stephen. I think inflating trade rumors and targets does nothing but give ammunition to people who blame the Yankees and baseball itself for not operating the way their MLB 2012 game works on their PS3’s and who value brand name players over roster construction. If Felix Hernandez isn’t realistically available to the Yankees, I don’t want to hear about it. However, if Andrew McCutchen realistically is then, yes, a post as to why it wouldn’t make sense to the team (which we didn’t get) would be welcome.

    • Stephen Rhoads

      That’s a fair critique. I’m looking for entertainment value in the rumors, but I get where you’re coming from.

  • duzzi23

    I couldn’t agree more with this post this offseason sucks so far. I just hope Darvish gets posted and the Yankees acquire him or Danks.

  • Retire51

    Whoa, RAB really took a step backwards didn’t it?

  • kenthadley

    Yankee strategy has changed since the old man died. Used to be seeking the back page was one of the goals. Now, I guess so much money is pouring in, there is no need to do anything but be competitive. Eliminated in first round? yawn, we made the playoffs, and the money is coming in. The Stein Bros don’t need to win a championship like George did to verify their self image. They’ve been successful from conception, and this is just the family business, period. Nothing to prove. No need to make noise.

  • mrpappageogio

    This off-season sucks a bag of camel dicks. The winter meetings better of something of substance, other than Cashman wearing a wig and rapelling down a building.

  • Esteban

    Great post Stephen. TIme for an ice bath.

  • mrpappageogio

    This off-season sucks a bag of camel dongs. The winter meetings better of something of substance, other than Cashman wearing a wig and rapelling down a building.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Let’s have our baby bombers (Manny, Dellin, Jesus & company) provide the excitement.

    Let’s be happy we are not paying Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn and Jayson Werth and not tempted/needing to sign any contracts like theirs this off season.

    • BK2ATL

      Don’t forget John Lackey and probably CJ Wilson this year.

      I completely agree on giving the kids a chance.

      I’d also like to see a Danks and/or Darvish brought in as well. We need another solid pitcher in the rotation, until the kids are ready. Nova has been good. Let’s see if he can keep it up. Who knows with Hughes. Burnett, I have no faith. Garcia, solid back-end option.

    • Ted Nelson

      Agreed. Big time free agents are exciting to hear about, but carry a great deal of risk. Similar with big time “buy high” trade targets that cost tons of prospects. It’s a balance and debatable, but a marginal short-term gain is worth only so much long-term value.

      Much prefer a “boring” well-run organization to exciting rumors not in the best interest of the team.

      • jay destro

        Yo Ted I wanna hear about your ideas, what other boring things can they do?

    • David, Jr.

      I agree with this. Fans are not satisfied unless the Yankees have a team that on paper looks like it should win 120 games. They forget that the “on paper” ignores the fact that careers of players can peak and then fall apart very rapidly. They need to keep developing young players and use them, and reserve the use of the monster $ resources for extreme need situations.

  • Plank

    I feel like the Fighters are going to announce that Darvish won’t be posted tomorrow.

    • Plank

      That is to say, tomorrow, the Fighters will announce he won’t be posted this offseason.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        I felt better about your first comment. That way, there’d still be a chance. :-)

    • Jesse

      What’s your source?


      • Plank

        A talking bear surfed in on a rainbow and tried to sell me crystal meth. After I bought all his crystal meth, he casually mentioned he deals to half the Ham Fighters in Asia. I didn’t believe him at first, but then he showed me his tattoo, the classic Yakuza symbol that only meth dealing talking bears can get. I still wasn’t fully convinced, but the he showed me his SAT scores. It was then that I knew he was serious.

        • Jesse


        • Jim Is Bored



  • T-Dubs

    Really steamed they let Steven Roads off the weekend post, Yu guys. #muted

  • mustang

    I’m with this guy.

    GREAT POST !!!!!

  • Mike from Jersey

    Hughes, Warren, Romine to Twins for
    Francisco Liriano and player to be named later.