Update: It turns out Duchscherer’s base salary is just $700,000 with incentives that could make the deal worth $4.5 million. This doesn’t seem like too much of a risk at all, but the Yankees never seemed to become serious players.
The Yankees must have thought that he couldn’t stay healthy. They either watched him pitch or checked out his medicals, saw some red flags, and were not willing to risk a major league deal. That or they didn’t want to get serious with him until they heard from Pettitte.
It’s hard to blame them if either of those reasons are indeed true, but it still sucks. A division rival is getting a potentially good pitcher for next to nothing while the Yankees are going to have Mitre, Nova, and Colon battle for the final two spots of their rotation.
Original post: Via Jerry Crasnick of ESPN:
Justin Duchscherer agrees to 1-year big league deal with Orioles, pending physical. He could make up to $4.5M in salary & incentives.
This removes the pitcher with the highest ceiling from the market. The options that are left include Kevin Millwood, who is the most likely to pitch 200 innings, and Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, and Jeremy Bonderman, who are all injury risks due to shoulder surgeries. None of them are especially good either.
Considering the other options, this news hurts the Yankees. Not only do they miss out on signing Duchscherer, but he is going to a division rival as well. It’s just as well, he’s bound to end up on the DL at some point this season.
It will be interesting to see how the salary of this deal breaks down. If the guaranteed money is low, why weren’t the Yankees more involved? If the guaranteed money is high it does make sense that the Yankees would stay away. No need to guarantee a player as frail as this a lot of money.