The Yankees continue to scan the market for help in all areas, yet they’re not particularly fond of any options, either through free agency or via trade. They’d like to add to their bullpen — they announced the signing of former Mets lefthander Pedro Feliciano on Monday — but they’re not enamored by the notion of giving up a first-round draft pick to sign Type A free agents Grant Balfour or Rafael Soriano. Nor do they want to pay Soriano a closer’s salary to set up for Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees won’t give up any draft picks for relievers. We’ve heard that before, but it is good to hear again since they have missed out on a number of their targets. General manager Brian Cashman preached patience earlier in the postseason and it appears he’s fully committed to that. Just because he’s missed out on some targets doesn’t mean he values his draft picks any less.
Is this a smart move? That depends. Many Yankees fans are getting desperate this offseason for their team to make a move, but this is probably smart for two reasons. The first is that relievers are very volatile in that they go from good to bad almost like clockwork. Only very good relievers are consistent year in and year out. Take Balfour for instance, last season he had a 2.28 ERA, but just the year before he had a 4.81 ERA. It’s hard to guaranteed that he’ll have a strong season in 2011. It’s also why the Yankees may get lucky with a relatively unknown reliever.
The second reason it’s smart to pass on Balfour is because of the long-term success of the team. Even if Balfour has a good season next year, he’s only a middle reliever those can be found for the right price if you remain patient. There is no reason to over-pay. Just look back at last season with Kerry Wood. The Yankees got him relatively cheaply at the trade deadline by taking on a chunk of his salary.
So for the long-term success of the team it isn’t wise to give up a draft pick. Try some relatively unknown relievers hoping that one will catch on. If that doesn’t work a trade could always be worked out midseason.