The reward for remaining patient

The RAB Radio Show: January 13, 2012
Chilly Friday Night Open Thread

I go, “Brian Cashman, just get me a pitcher. Please, all I want is a pitcher.” And he wouldn’t give it to me! All I wanted was a pitcher, just one pitcher, and he wouldn’t give it to me. Just a pitcher!

When Brian Cashman emphasized pitching as his No. 1 off-season need, we didn’t expect that he would fill it by signing Freddy Garcia and no one else. Yet we’ve seen at least a half dozen pitchers sign free agent contracts or change teams via trade this winter, and the Yankees have remained on the periphery. We’ve heard various reasons, but it essentially boils down to them not liking the prices on anything.

Luckily for them, a few quality pitchers have remained on the market. While there are issues with all three of Roy Oswalt, Hiroki Kuroda, and Edwin Jackson, each would represent an upgrade for the Yankees’ rotation. The idea, it seems, was to wait out these guys until the prices fall. It appears, then, the Yankees patience has paid off. According to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, the prices have come down. He specifically pegs Oswalt at $8 million and Kuroda at $10 to $11 million. He also mentions Jackson, but only by name.

As Stephen mentioned in his post yesterday, the Yankees are reportedly against signing anyone to a multi-year deal. That includes Jackson, who seems like a prime candidate to receive one. Now that the prices have fallen on two guys who are seeking one-year deals, the time seems ripe for the Yankees to pounce. We could quibble forever over which of Oswalt and Kuroda helps the team more, but that’s beyond the point. Getting either one would put a nice bow on this off-season.

There has been plenty of impatience and frustration over the Yankees’ lack of activity this off-season. It’s understandable to a degree. They’re the Yankees, therefore they’re supposed to make big moves. But this is not a team in need of a huge move. They just need to augment what they currently have and bide their time until players they really want become available — or else their minor leaguers prove they’re ready for the show. Their tack of patience and restraint just might pay off.

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The RAB Radio Show: January 13, 2012
Chilly Friday Night Open Thread
  • Beantown bosoxh8er

    nice ST reference

    • Eric

      I’m not crazy. You’re the one that’s crazy.

      • dkidd

        repo man soundtrack = awesome

  • Eric

    To be fair, besides Garcia, they also resigned Sabathia. That definitely helps this year’s pitching.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      I think Cashman made that statement after resigning CC.

  • John

    Well said. I’d prefer Oswalt, Kuroda, and Jackson, in that order. One year deal then bring out the dumptruck of Yankee money for Hamels next year.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      In a sense, I see Oswalt’s possible health issues as a benefit. That may allow for the audition of one of the minor league arms. Should he be signed and go down with an injury, I hope it’s a short one (a month to 6 weeks at the most), but I’d be OK with that at $8M or less.

      • John

        That’s definitely a positive spin for any injury that he may suffer. Personally, I just think he has highest upside on a 1 year deal. He also seems to be very motivated.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Agree that he has a higher upside than Kuroda. I think Jackson has a higher upside than Oswalt, but wouldn’t want him on anything other than a 2 year deal.

          • Cris Pengiucci

            That should be I wouldn’t want him on anything more than a 2 year deal. I’d take him on a 1 year also.

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

      Prediction – Neither Cole Hamels, nor Matt Cain, will hit FA in 2013. Don’t get your hopes up.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        I agree and the Phils will probably try to trade either Halladay or Lee in order to keep Hamels who is much younger.

        • vin

          Montero and Adams for Lee?

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Neither Cole Hamels, nor Matt Cain, will hit FA in 2013

        I think thats a strong possibility also.

      • Dave203

        I was thinking that until Hammels has not extended and there are rumors to him signing a 1-yr deal. If he only signs a 1-yr deal, there is a much higher chance he could hit the FA market. Cain will likely sign an extension before the season.

        • bill

          But Benuelos is supposed to be ready in 2013 if I’m not mistaken. CC-Nova-(Hughes/AJ)-Benuelos and if you throw Hamels or Greinke or someone else in there thats not a bad rotation.

    • Dave203

      My order for 1 yr deals is probably the exact opposite. The downside to Jackson was his ridiculous asking price – not his ability. If we can steal him on a 1 yr deal, that might be one of the best offseason steals. Kuroda is up there too, but having not pitching in the AL or AL East, I still pause before getting too excited about stats accumulated in the NL West. Oswalt, while you see an upside to his injury issue, I don’t think out younger starters (Noesi et al) are really ready to step in to what we would expect out of Jackson/Kuroda/Oswalt. We aren’t looking for a #5 pitcher — we want a 2A/3 pitcher and Noesi et al stepping in does not accomplish that. Signing Oswalt and having him get hurt provides no advantage. Unless he is 1/2 the price, it isn’t worth it IMO.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Oswalt at $8M or less should be a real bargain. If he can pitch more than 120 innings, he should be able to provide at least 2 WAR (the more innings he provides the more that WAR figure goes up). That’s a good deal for the Yankees. All prices being equal, I’d go with Jackson, but I doubt that happens.

      • Ted Nelson

        I wouldn’t be so sure that Noesi can’t step up to be a third starter.

    • CJ

      Oswalt Kuroda or Jackson are not good enough to make a significant difference against Boston Tampa Texas or angels

    • OldYanksFan

      Well said. I’d prefer Oswalt, Kuroda, and Jackson Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, Dan Haren and James Shields, in that order.

      Imagine this: The Red Sox, Angels, and Texas each get one of the above Pitchers next year, and WE DON’T!

      Cashman will pick the stud of his choice and buy him.
      We must save our money, get a stud in 2013, and stay under $189m in 2014.

      Cashman’s plan is OBVIOUS… isn’t it?

      • CJ

        The Yankees will not get under $189 in 2014. They have little flexibility with the large sunk cost contracts. They will not make it to the world series with the improvement if AL west and Tampa. Even making the playoffs are not the lock the Yankees are used to. When or if that happens, they will blow up the payroll with a 2009 spending spree.

  • Fernando

    The best part of this story is that the Yankees were against giving anyone of those guys a MULTI-YEAR deal. Patience will pay off. Either by signing one of these guys for 1 year or by turning to a young guy.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    Between Kuroda and Oswalt I would probably choose Oswalt, he is younger, has been through the postseason wars and if healthy is a good #2 right now. Kuroda is more durable but older and has not pitched as much in the postseason. If the report is correct Oswalt is cheaper for one year. The latter is a greater health risk. It is a coin toss.

  • UYF1950

    I don’t know why the Yankees wouldn’t put the full court press on now to get Kuroda for say the $10MM number. They tried to get him last year around the trade deadline which meant they would have been responsible for about $3.5 to $4MM of his remaining salary at that time plus they would have had to give up some prospect(s) to the Dodgers. Now it’s possible for $10MM a potential difference of just $6.5 to say $7MM and they would have him for the entire 2012 campaign and not have to part with any prospect(s). Seems like a no brainer.

    The funny thing is Oswalt makes just as much sense for $8MM if not more maybe for the Yankees, considering they have all the young arms waiting in the wings for the 2012 season. If Oswalt breaks down during or late into the season the Yankees just insert one of the young guys as insurance. The luxury tax is less and when Oswalts on he’s one heck of a starter to have in the rotation.

    Plus and here is another potentially big factor. Signing either one of them would allow the Yankees to eat more of AJ’s contract then the previous amount the Yankees were rumored to be willing to do $8MM for 2 years. The Yankees have the young arms they could insert anytime into the rotation at virtually no cost if need be should either Kuroda or especially Oswalt have health issues. In my opinion the Yankees now could eat about $14 to $16MM of AJ’s $33MM that he’s owed over the next 2 years. And have a better rotation with either Kuroda or Oswalt then AJ in it at about the same cost. And not be saddled with AJ for the 2013 season as well.

    That’s just my opinion.

    • OldYanksFan

      From MLBTR.com:
      Hiroki Kuroda is sending signals to the Yankees and Red Sox that he’d like to sign with one of those teams, Stark reports. The Red Sox are “nowhere near close” on Kuroda while the Yankees are mostly “kicking tires,” Stark hears. Stark’s colleague Buster Olney reported today that Kuroda’s asking price has dropped to the $10-11MM range.

  • Nathan

    My preference is Kuroda, Oswalt and then Jackson. Really Kuroda is the safer bet due to Oswalt’s injury background but I view Oswalt with a higher ceiling. He could be a legitimate #2 whereas Kuroda is more of a #3. Just my opinion though. Jackson I think would provide innings but I think would be similar, though not hit as hard, as AJ. He would eat innings but not inspire much more in the AL East.

    Owalt and Kuroda are OK with me, Jackson too if it’s on a 1-year deal though.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    Indeed. Time to pounce. Bringing a solid veteran on a one-year deal allows the team the cushion to both assess whether the non-blue-chip AAA prospects can be solid contributors at the MLB level, as well as not feeling pressured to rush Banuelos/Betances if they continue to need that extra full year in AAA to work on their control, while still putting a rotation out there that will last the season and match up well in the playoffs. Next offseason, the team will only have more information as to whether they should dig deep into the FA market, what that market looks like, or if the homegrown product looks like they can get the job done.

    Out of those three, on a one-year deal, I really don’t care who it is.

    Patience is, indeed, a virtue.

  • dkidd

    kuroda versus oswalt is tough

    first is more likely to give you 30 starts
    second is more likely to f-ing dominate opposing line-ups

    i vote oswalt. go for the upside. if his back goes out, we took your chance

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      ….and whatever he gave you is that much more time for the team to evaluate who is truly ready and able to step in for the long run.

  • Brian

    Cashman said “No, you’re a jerk!”

  • BMcP

    An interesting read from Dave Cameron:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....ial-steal/

    • thenamestsam

      +1

      That was very informative and definitely convinced me the Yankees should be looking at Oswalt. I know he’s a country boy and may not be interested in coming here, but I’d definitely offer him 10M for one year, and I’d be willing to go a bit higher depending on the doctor’s opinions of the medicals. I’d expect him to be healthy enough for about 2 WAR next year even if he only can throw say 150 innings. That alone would make him worth the contract. The real bonus with him is if he’s at 100% for the playoffs, he’s a game-changer as your #2 starter, whereas Kuroda or Jackson doesn’t have that upside.

      • Sully

        This.

    • Sully

      Cameron nails it. Oswalt at his typical self is so far better than any one else he should be a no-brainer for the Yanks at that price and with their depth.

  • Countryclub

    In the ninja I trust

  • MattG

    I would want Oswalt with the expectation, if not the outright plan, to DL him a couple of times in 2012 to try and keep his back good for the post-season. 22 or so regular season starts for Oswalt, and 10 more for the Phelps/Mitchell/Noesi/Warren/Banuelos contingent sounds like a plan to me.

    • Rainbow Connection

      I’m cool with dat.

      • Pasqua

        Only problem with that rationale is that preventative rest won’t do much good for a chronic back problem. No matter how much you try to prevent it, it can still pop up at any time. He’ll basically be a ticking time bomb…but a bomb that might be worth the risk.

        • Rainbow Connection

          Oddly, I still think that AJ’s problem is that he’s been very healthy with the Yankees. He was used to DL stints (rest) in the past. He’s pretty much been out there constantly for them.
          I’m kind of joking, but not really. Meow.

  • paul a

    as a lifetime yankee fan i have to admit i am not use to these quit winters.Even if they do sign any of the above mentioned three, it is’nt going to excite me. But the bottom line here is the team dosn’t really have to do anything.No other team in the division has made any earth shattering moves, so the yankees are still the team to beat.And besides i would love one of the young kids to step up and make an impact this season,rather than an overpaid aging (kudora,Oswalt) veteran.

  • Steve (different one)

    On a 1 year deal? Give me Jackson. But I can’t imagine he won’t get a better deal than that. I just can’t.

    After that, I prefer Oswalt, but the argument for Kuroda is pretty logical.

    If they get any one of the 3 on a short deal, the offseason was a success, IMO (assuming the $189m dealie is a real life restriction).

  • Captain

    like other people are saying, id prefer to take the chance with Oswalt over the other two. if he gets injured, they move on like they planned on doing if they hadn’t signed him. i just think he will provide the best results out of the three.

  • nolan

    sign them both. Yanks owe AJ 33 million. Trade him to whoever will take him and pick up 50%. The savings pay for Kuroda. The Yanks only have to expand the budget by 12 million (including luxury tax) for Oswalt and Kuroda and Oswalt are gone at the end of the year.

    Rotation: CC, Oswalt, Kuroda, Nova, Sweaty Freddy. Hughes is your 6th man….start him in the minors to see if he can work on fastball location and breaking ball consistency and bite. Hughes needs to relearn how to miss bats.

    • Sully

      50% won’t get it done. It’s more like 90%.

    • Alex S

      No one will trade, not even an awful prospect for AJ while paying 8 million per year. They can simply pay that for Oswalt or Kuroda without loosing a prospect. I think Oswalt is the man maybe they can pay 6 million base and 4 in variables like work innings, cy young votes etc.

  • Sully

    Nice to see you all finally coming around on Oswalt. Your beating of the drum for Kuroda was getting tiresome.

  • Steve (different one)

    The more I think about it, the more I think they are waiting out Jackson. Otherwise, I think they’d have signed one of the other two guys already.

    Jackson on a short deal would be a great pickup.

  • Jake

    To me Jackson is reminiscent of AJ Burnett. He’s one of these guys where you constantly hear about his stuff, his potential if he can just put it all together, etc. etc. etc. Then you go look at his B-REF page and you see his career ERA+ is 97.

    I think it’s easy to dream on these guys, but in reality Jackson is going to give up a ton of walks and hits, and not strike out as many as he seemingly should. He’s definitely better than Garcia, Burnett, Hughes, but not nearly as good as many want him to be.

    • Steve (different one)

      Sure, but getting AJ at 28,29 would be a good deal. You just don’t want Jackson for 5 years

      • Jake

        You’re right about the age issue. And I’m sure Jackson would be ok on a short deal. I just would rather see the Yankees save their bullets for a true top of the rotation pitcher, whether Hamels or someone else.

    • Steve (different one)

      Ftr, I agree with your point. There are a lot of parallels

    • Ted Nelson

      Edwin Jackson came up at 19… why are you looking at his career numbers are an indication of his current performance?

      The past three years he’s been one of the better pitchers in all of baseball.

      He’s not incredible, no. That doesn’t mean he has no value, though.

  • Rainbow Connection

    What it all boils down to is that we need a pitcher, not a belly itcher.

  • CMP

    I’d be happy with a rotation of CC, Oswalt, Nova, Hughes and Freddy with Noesi, Warren, ManBan and Betances ready to step in if needed.

    • Rainbow Connection

      “Meow!”
      – AJ

  • Jason

    It would be an absolute steal to get Oswalt for $8M.

  • Grover

    I would not sign any of the three mentioned but go with what you have and backfill with the kids if and when AJ melts down or Hughes falters. Noesi may just be this year’s Nova. Sign a lefthanded bat with some pop instead.

    • G

      He MAY be, but Oswalt and Kuroda are proven commodities asking only for a one year contract. It’s a no brainer.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t think it’s a no-brainer. I think there’s an argument to be made that Noesi is a better option than Oswalt’s back or Kuroda at 38 years old.

  • Ted Nelson

    I find it hilarious that even on a one year deal so many people refuse to acknowledge Jackson as a decent option.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      IF, and that’s a mighty big if, Jackson is available on a one-year deal (I think the only way that happens is if Boras throws the Yanks a bone for taking Soriano last year), I believe a case can still be made that Oswalt is the better option.

      If both are 100% healthy, it’s Oswalt in a landslide; the only question is his back.

      With all the kids in AAA, I think his workload could be managed (with a few well-timed DL stints – say beginning of June and mid-August) to minimize the risk of injury and have him ready for the playoffs.

      If that works, and obviously there is no guarantee that it would – he could still get injured – that gives an AAA arm a handfull of starts and more importantly, give the Yanks a legitimate #2 starter for the playoffs.

      Seems like it’s worth the gamble to me.

    • CJ

      It’s hard to get excited when you will be looking at matchups of
      Edwin Jackson vs David price, Jon Lester, Dan haren

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        As good as David Price is, in 5 starts vs the Yanks last year, he pitched only 29.1 innings (>6 innings/start) and was 1-1.

        Facing the Yankees line-up is a bitch!

  • CJ

    If oswalt can be had for $8m, does an oswalt, Joe Saunders handcuff combo make more sense than Kuroda or Jackson?
    Oswalt gives the high ceiling with durability issues with Saunders durability low ceiling.
    I dont see Garcia pitching more than 90 innings. Even if you’re optimistic, he’s a durability concern as is Hughes. AJ is a performance question mark. A pitching staff of 3-4 question marks is not an upgrade.
    Joe Saunders > Freddy Garcia 2012
    Oswalt is a 2 or DL

    • Ted Nelson

      Joe Saunder’s FIPs the past three years have been 5.17, 4.57, and 4.78… If he’s better than Garcia, it still doesn’t mean he’s going to be even decent, let alone as good as Noesi, Phelps, Warren, Betances, Banuelos, or even DJ Mitchell.

      And deciding that a guy who has given 150 IP the past two seasons will suddenly only give 90 is pretty arbitrary.

      • CJ

        It’s the 130 IP 2007-2009 that worry me about Garcia.
        This pitching staff feels like 2008.

  • Rainbow Connection

    I miss Bartolo.

  • http://Riveraveblues Austinmac

    At the price, the Oswalt opportunity seems well worth the health risk. I wonder, however, whether the Yankees will spend the money. It seems clear Cashman does not currently have the authority to sign any of them.

    • RkyMtnYank

      At this point I don’t think Cash is hamstrung over 8mil. Especially if it’s for one year that doesn’t affect the $189m plan.

  • paul a

    HELLO…..Kenny rogers anyone?

    • Steve (different one)

      I think Hello was a Lionel Ritchie song

  • BJ

    This post is now officially retroactively hilarious.