Nothing Wrong With Doing Nothing for Yankees 15

The Yankees did not sign Cliff Lee. They never even tried to sign Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford. They did not trade for Zack Greinke.

They would not pony up the money for Bobby Jenks and appear to have little interest in doing so for Rafael Soriano.

So what gives? There is a great deal of anxiety in the Yankee fan-base, who are quick to label the Yankees ┬áthe “losers” of this offseason.

What everyone seems to be forgetting is this: the Yankees won 95 games last year. The Yankees and Rays were unquestionably the best teams in baseball over the course of the entire season. ┬áNeither team’s season ended the way they would have liked, but the playoffs are a fickle thing. Every year you just try to get there and then anything can happen. Surely, the Giants didn’t make a big splash in last year’s offseason and the postseason turned out alright for them. There is little a team can do to ensure postseason success. The whole point is just to get to the postseason.

So what exactly is wrong with the Yankees bringing back a very similar team to last year? Sure, the Red Sox have gotten better, but the Rays have likely gotten worse. Plus, how many Yankees had a down year last year?

Well, it’s actually easier to start by looking at who had a good year: Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera. That’s pretty much it. For Rivera and Sabathia, 2010 didn’t represent a career year as much as business as usual. Cano had the best year of his career, but considering his age and development, there is no reason to think he can’t duplicate it. Swisher and Gardner could quite possibly be due for some regression, though they should still be productive players.

Just about every other player stands to improve. Derek Jeter had the worst year of his career and if he doesn’t have a better 2011, the Yankees will be regretting that 3-year deal pretty quickly. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira were both good in 2010, but should see their numbers return closer to their normal elite levels. AJ Burnett could only get worse if he shows up to spring training without his throwing arm. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are still extremely young and will improve. Curtis Granderson finally started to put things together in the 2nd half and should have a better season in 2011.

Yes, the Yankees want to get younger, but you don’t accomplish that by signing the Carl Crawfords of the world. Crawford may be younger than many of the Yankees regulars, but he’ll be old by the end of a 7-year contract. So will Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth. Giving out those kinds of deals is why the Yankees do have an old team. They need to let their young guys play. That means Jesus Montero, Hughes, and Joba. That means not tying up every spot on the roster with a veteran, so they can start calling up some of their young talent in the minors. That means having Ivan Nova as the 5th starter isn’t the end of the world. Sure, the Yankees could go and find a more experienced starter – but why do that now when they could just as easily do it during the season?

If Andy Pettitte doesn’t come back then yes, the Yankees will probably try and acquire a starter before the season starts. Right now though, it’s still December and they have plenty of time. Plus, the keys to a successful 2011 season for the Yankees are likely on the team already. Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make.

15 thoughts on “Nothing Wrong With Doing Nothing for Yankees

  • Canmandan

    Sometimes the best move is the trade or deal you don't make. When they needed the arms they gave Hughes a chance and a year later he won 18 games. If Andy is in the fold for one more year they only need to replace Javy. It is time to bring people like Nova along and see what they can do.

  • Bronx Knight

    Brian, I hereby declare you my hero of the day. I've been a little bummed about the Yankees getting jilted at the altar by a different free agent every other day. This article rightly breathes a little bit of optimism back into the mix.

    OK, I'm still bummed but I feel a little bit better.

  • the mighty casey

    I really want a pitcher to give us a better rotation. I know youngsters may be the way to go, but experience is something I like better. We don't know if Andy is coming back so signing or trading for someone for a 4th or 5th starter would be great in my opinion.

  • smurfy

    "Neither team’s season ended the way they would have liked, but the playoffs are a fickle thing."

    Brian, I don't differ with you on your main points: developing youth is the only way to get younger. We cannot win every year, the leagues will quit on us if we could. But the best way to set up a championship team with staying power is by taking some risks with some young players to energize experienced stars, and showing some patience.

    I don't know why the Rays fell short, but the Yanks seemed not subject to fickle playoffs so much as team batting fizzle in response to team pitching fizzle. I think there is a strong feedback dynamic, and our horses were played out. The injuries didn't help, though, ficklewise.

  • Tanned Tom

    I agree with the tone of the article, but must point out how bad the Granderson deal was. Would the team have been better with Granderson, or with Kennedy (194 innings, 3.84 ERA) AND Jackson (.293 average, great defense)? Yes they would have missed Granderson's power, but the lack last year was starting pitching. You never trade 2 starters for 1 unless that 1 is an elite player, and I don't mean Carl Crawford (with his ordinary OBP), I mean a game changer.

    This is a turd of a deal that could haunt the Yanks for years.

  • Mindkind

    Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson, Michael Dunn, Aroldys Vizcaino and Phil Coke, who will be given a chance for the starting rotation next year! Damn that was a bad offseason. Those trades hunt my dreams!

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