One Last Chance
Brian Cashman and the entire Yankees organization are still hiding under the covers. Itâ€™s been a rough offseason for New York; not necessarily because they missed out on talent, but because the organization was continually embarrassed.
It started, of course, with Cliff Lee. After we were led to believe that Lee would be a Yankee without any kind of disturbance, the Phillies walked in and lit the Yankees desires on fire. No big deal, everyone said, the Yankees just didnâ€™t want to spend that kind of money. Thatâ€™s fine, but maybe we should have heard that earlier.
Derek Jeter also earned a spot on this list as well. As if it wasnâ€™t ridiculous enough for Jeter to ask for five or six years, his agent decided to take it to the next level and call the Yankees actions â€œbaffling.â€ The Yankees won that battle without ever shedding a drop of sweat, but an embarrassing result for Jeter is an embarrassing result for the Yankees.
Then, to add insult to injury, Kerry Wood decided to sign with the Cubs for a fourth of the money he could have made with the Yankees. I want to be a Cub for life, he said. Donâ€™t ask me whatâ€™s going through his mind.
The Red Sox also did a small number on the Evil Empire. In an attempt to swarm the tabloids of the baseball world, Theo Epstein decided to take a shot at signing Mariano Rivera. Although Rivera swept it off with virtually no thought, the last thing the Yankees needed was to be on the wrong side of a joke.
To top it off, another small Yankee dream was diminished. The Yankees missed out on Zack Greinke, mostly because they didnâ€™t want to give up their entire minor league system, but also because they were never too excited about bringing him to New York.
Here are the two ways to look at the Yankeesâ€™ 2010-2011 offseason: (A), the cynical view, would be to say the Yankees two best additions are Russell Martin and Pedro Feliciano; not too inspiring. (B), the optimistic and realistic view, would be to say the Yankees will enter the 2011 season with the same team that won the 2009 World Series.
Ultimately, this offseason was hyped up beyond belief for the Yankees. But the problem was that the actual Yankees organization had different plans. Cashman would have loved to add Lee or Carl Crawford, but evidently he wasnâ€™t too eager to sign either of them; at least for the prices the market demanded.
However, that is not a reason to let this offseason slip away. A couple weeks ago, the Yankees were hit with their lowest luxury tax since 2003. Clearly something is missing. Not to say the Yankees should spend for the sake of spending, but there is still room to improve.
By now it is quite obvious that the Yankees are not going to improve their starting pitching. If, by some miracle, Mark Prior can help this team, the Yankees will have a great pitching staff; but donâ€™t count on it.
As it stands, the Yankees starting rotation is projected to have a higher WAR in 2011 than it did in 2010, so the Yankees can feel comfortable entering the season with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and a fifth starter of their choice. (The Yankees still await a verdict from Andy Pettitte.)
But with the remaining money the Yankees have left on the table, they can still make significant improvements to their bullpen.
If the Yankees want to take a risk, they can go with a young Chad Cordero or a much older Brian Fuentes. Both can be labeled as â€œvery high risk, very high reward.â€
If the Yankees want to make a big splash, they can strike a deal with the Royals for Joakim Soria. But after the Yankees listened to ridiculous offers for Greinke, it is unlikely that these two teams can work anything out this offseason.
Then, there is Rafael Soriano. The Yankees have been clear throughout that they do not want to spend the money he will demand. But if things get too close to the finish line, it wouldnâ€™t hurt the Yankees to spend some of their extra cash on a guy who had 45 saves last season.
When I heard that the Yankees were having â€œinternal conversationsâ€ about Manny Ramirez, it became evident that the Yankees just werenâ€™t taking this offseason seriously. There are plenty of places to improve, and itâ€™s time for Cashman to wipe away the tears and get something done.