Cashman Will Not Overspend On Relief Pitchers

Now that the Yankees missed out on Cliff Lee, clearly they have money to spend and many have assumed that that money would go into shoring up the Yankees’ middle relief. Yet yesterday, Kerry Wood signed with the Cubs for 1 year and $1.5 million and Bobby Jenks went to the Red Sox for 2 years and $12 million. I was a little surprised initially, but there are some important things to keep in mind:

– Regarding Kerry Wood: he was desperate to go back to the Cubs. If Cashman could have signed him at that number he would have.

– The bullpen, despite the occasionally early season hiccups, is not really an area of need for the Yankees. If, as they claim, the Yankees plan on keeping Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen, then they will still have him and David Robertson to begin the season. Sure, having more quality arms out there is never a bad thing, but they are not lacking for middle relief options.

– Both Cashman and Girardi know they can improve their bullpen as they go. They can make a trade – like they did last year for Kerry Wood – or they can bring up prospects. The Yankee system is flush with RHPs, and those guys will need experience in the big leagues at some point. Even those that are starters now will likely get their first taste of the majors as relievers. As such, it’s stupid for Cashman to limit his flexibility in December.

– Just because the Yankees are not at their payroll limit doesn’t mean they should blindly spend. If the Yankees go into the season with around $20 million in flexibility, that will give them a giant advantage when making trades.

I would expect the Yankees to continue to monitor the market for left-handed relievers, since the Yankee system is short on lefties, but any interest in the likes of Rafael Soriano is probably little more than due diligence (since also they would forfeit a draft pick in a very good draft). If the Yankees do sign someone, I’d think it would be Pedro Feliciano or Brian Fuentes. Cashman knows relievers tend to be an overvalued commodity and, Cliff Lee or not, he is not going to panic and break from his normal way of evaluating contracts.

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4 Responses to Cashman Will Not Overspend On Relief Pitchers

  1. Mike S. says:

    Feliciano it is, according to the MLBTR report.

    • Brian Burkhart says:

      Saw that. Don't love the 2-year commit, but Cashman knows he can't produce lefties in house. Between Logan, Feliciano, and the rehabbing Marte, hopefully something sticks by year end.

      • Mike S. says:

        Only lefty in house would be Banuelos if they want to go that route and convert him. Obviously you don't want to go that route at the present time.

  2. wally says:

    Seems to me Yankee bullpen is rather suspect. Neither Joba nor D-Rob are lock down 8th inning guys.

    More importantly. the signing of Rafael Soriano could help the Yanks get the starter they need. It would free up Joba for a trade. He may be the Yanks' best trade bait on the major league roster.

    As to the lost draft pick, it's a shame but no tragedy. Most late first round picks never amount to much. And if they do it will take four or five years before they help. Signing Sotriano could be the key to salvaging this off -season. And 2011.

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