April 20, 2014

One Last Chance

December 28, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Brian Cashman and the entire Yankees organization are still hiding under the covers. It’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 didn’t want to spend that kind of money. That’s fine, but maybe we should have heard that earlier.

Derek Jeter also earned a spot on this list as well. As if it wasn’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 “baffling.” 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. Don’t ask me what’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 didn’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 Yankees’ 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 wasn’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 don’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 “very high risk, very high reward.”

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 wouldn’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 “internal conversations” about Manny Ramirez, it became evident that the Yankees just weren’t taking this offseason seriously. There are plenty of places to improve, and it’s time for Cashman to wipe away the tears and get something done.

Listen to Jess on What’s on Second: The Seamheads.com Radio Hour Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter   @jesskcoleman or send him an e-mail at jess@jesskcoleman.com.

Comments

2 Responses to “One Last Chance”
  1. I am truly excited about the fact that for the first year in awhile, I don’t have to hear the endless barrage of ‘buying another world series’ comments. Yes, there’s no denying that he Yankees got spanked in the trade department. And while I think that that fact hurts their short-term plans (i.e. a WS Championship in ’11) the long-term effect may be much more worth while. I say this based on 2 main things: 1. The Yankees must now address their issues primarilly internally and with guys who were once good or great and may be again. They have things to prove and often that makes guys better warriors. This will be interesting and exciting to watch – a whole lot more so than Cliff Lee who, everytime he pitched, would have to prove that he’s worth all the money and hype. And it’s so awesome that they’re finally protecting their best in the farm teams. How many have long forgotten the main reason the Yankees won 4 Championships, and almost a 5th from ’96-01; 2. The Yankees have a serious image problem. Perhaps the fact that so many guys decided to play elsewhere, sometimes for less money and fewer years, should serve to illuminate the brass, the press and yes, the fans that the Yankees need to lighten-up.
    I am much more excited about going to spring training games this year than I’ve been in the past. This season, even the guys you see during a split-squad will likely be competing for starting or bench positions on opening day.
    Go Yankees!

  2. Al Featherston says:

    As a Yankee fan, I have to admit that I was disappointed that Cashman and the Yanks did little to improve the team in the off season (so far). Like Larry Richards, I’m kind of glad that we don’t have to endure the old “buying the pennant” refrain this year. I’ve even seen reporters suggest that the Yankee payroll is smaller than what the Red Sox will outlay (not sure I believe that, but the gap is smaller than its been in years).

    The problem for the Yankees is this:

    This is still a team good enough to win the world title, but its key players are getting older. Tex and Cano are still young superstars, but Jeter, Rivera and A-Rod are aging. Can the Yankees win before they fade too much?

    The problem is a starting staff that is promising, but not very reliable beyond Sabathia (who has been one of the game’s most consistant starters for the last five years). Hughes is coming off an excellent season, but it was his first good one … he has to prove he can do it year after year. Burnett is still reasonably young and healthy — but he was very messed up last season. Can he get it back? Nova is a nice prospect, but he’s not Steven Strasberg or anything. As for Mitre … the less said the better. The rotation would look a lot better with Pettitte in it, but right now, it doesn’t look like he’s coming back.

    What should Cashman do, mortgage the future on a blockbuster trade (as he would have had to do to get Grienke)? Or be patient and wait for one/two/three of his golden minor league arms (the Killer B’s) to arrive. The problem is that the three best arms in the organization are at least a year away … but to make any significant trades, Cashman would have to give up and least one (and probably the best bat in the organization, Montera).

    My un-informed advice is to use money on the bullpen and may throw some short-term money at guys like Brad Penny … risky players who MIGHT be able to hold the fort until Banuelos, Brackman and/or Betances arrive.

    I’d also try and convince Pettitte to do what his buddy Clemens did in his last few years — take the spring off and aim for a June arrival. That ought to help his aging arm stay healthy for the postseason. I’d also try and convince Pettite that he still needs to add just a little to his resume to be HOF worthy … right now, I’d guess he’s a bit short, but helping the Yankees to one more title might be enough to get him over the top.

    It’s going to be an interesting season. I like the current situation where everybody has annointed the Red Sox as the preseason favorites. It’s fun to be the underdog for a change.

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