After yet another first-round exit in the playoffs on behalf of the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees enter this season’s free agency period in need of severe pitching.
The Yankees had one of the best offenses in the 2011, along with the best AL record and second-best record in the league behind the Philadelphia Phillies. The team enjoyed a breakout season from CF Curtis Granderson, who put up MVP-like stats. Every position player put up solid offensive numbers, and we saw glimpses of a great bat in top prospect Jesus Montero.
Entering free agency, the Yankees are looking to either sign a pitcher or two or maybe trade for a big name. Several free agent pitchers that are linked to the Yankees are C.J. Wilson, Mark Buerhle, Edwin Jackson, and Roy Oswalt. More options include bidding and signing the Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. And we’ve heard a peep about the Yankees possibly trading for Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
What will Brian Cashman do? Well what he first did was sign Yankee ace CC Sabathia to a contract extension and locking him up for another two years added to his four years left. He’s going to be in pinstripes for the rest of his career. Cashman then got himself a three-year deal.
What Cashman has been doing the past few years has been criticized yet has been working. He’s been developing his farm system more than signing big- name pitchers to lucrative deals. Examples of his project have been Robinson Cano, Ivan Nova, and Jesus Montero.
This could be the reason why the Yankees might be silent once again in free agency, but don’t be surprised if a move is made. Last season, Cashman gambled and signed veteran pitchers Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to fill the final two spots in the rotation. It worked very well, as the Yankees got production from both pitchers until the end of the season.
These small moves were successful but could they last for long? Many have assumed he signed these two vets because he was keeping the seat warm for Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos; the Yankees top two farm system pitchers. Now Cashman is saying he won’t bring them up until next season.
Now here’s a look at the possible 2012 rotation right now for the Yankees. Led by CC Sabathia, it is followed by Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes. The the last spot is open. Since they want to bring up the “B & B boys” next season, the Yankees should sign either Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt to a one-year deal and that’s it. There’s no need to go out and get a Japanese star (see Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu for examples.)
A rumor that could become a possibility is the Yankees trading some of their top-tier prospects for another ace. Names like Tim Lincecum, James Shields, and Felix Hernandez have been thrown around. Although all of these names make sense to trade for, what makes you think Cashman would be willing to give up his prospects? We saw it when the Yankees were reluctant to trade Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes for Johan Santana. It happened again last year for Cliff Lee.
In recap to all of what I just said, I think the Yankees will sign a veteran to a one-year deal once again just to keep the seat warm for the “B & B boys.” Cashman has learned his lesson on giving free agent stars lucrative deals. He will be criticized for not getting the big free agent, but keep in mind that the best Yankees teams were the ones where they had home grown talent. The dynasty in the late 90′s was mostly just home grown Yankee prospects along with a few free agent signings like Darryl Strawberry.
Once again, the Yankees will be as silent as a mime during the Winter Meetings. It’ll take time for the prospects to develop, but Cashman is silently building what could be another Yankees dynasty in the making.