Yankees 2010/11 Offseason: The Winter of Our Discontent

Yankee fans are a pretty tough group to please. We all know the narrative by now: the Yankees expect to win, and that feeling starts with the ownership and extends to the players, coaches, and fans. World Series or bust. All or nothing. It’s a bit of a tired adage at this point, and carries with it its own sense of entitlement, but it is the inevitable product of success and expectations. I don’t always agree with it – there have been many seasons where the Yankees fell short of the World Series, and yet I found myself reflecting back upon that season fondly. But I’m strange: I think the journey is just as important as the end result.

I’m not trying to complain about the win-at-all-costs Yankee attitude. What I am complaining about, is the way this attitude manifests itself in the offseason. Ever since Cliff Lee decided to sign with the Phillies, Yankee fans seem to believe this offseason has become a colossal failure. Yes, I wanted the Yankees to sign Lee too (heck, I made a Lee Yankee jersey for Halloween), but let’s face it: giving out $150+ million contracts to pitchers isn’t always the best idea anyways.

The LoHud blog has begun running its pinch hitter series, where they put up a guest post every day from fans and bloggers. To sum up the general theme of the posts thus far: “Brian Cashman is terrible; he has no plan after Lee; he loves his prospects too much; he needs to trade the farm and do something now.”

The one thing these critiques always lack however, is an actual suggested plan. So you think Cashman should make a move; well what move should he make? Clearly Yankee ownership wanted to do something and thus pushed for the Rafael Soriano signing. In my previous post, I looked at the positives and negatives of that signing. I did not say I hated it mind you – I just said that, while it makes the Yankees better right now, it might not have been the wisest allocation of funds. Such a suggestion was enough to get people angry in the comments section. So clearly, Yankee fans are desperate for them to sign and/or trade for players.

Here’s the thing though, which is actually pretty much my point: there is no “offseason winner.” Yes, the hot stove season can be fun, but nobody wins anything. Sure, offseason acquisitions obviously have an impact, but just because you sign the big name doesn’t mean anything. What did the Yankees win for signing Jason Giambi? Gary Sheffield? Trading for A-Rod? Randy Johnson? More offseasons than not, the Yankees acquire the biggest name, but that does not guarantee postseason heroics the following year. Before the 2009 season, they signed CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett, and that did indeed pay immediate dividends. But isn’t that more the exception that proves the rule? When Cashman does sign big names and trade away his prospects, everyone cries because now the Yankees don’t have homegrown guys. Yet now, when the Yankees are patient, they are too in love with their prospects.

Yes, the Yankees could have traded the farm for Grienke, but they didn’t think he was worth it. Maybe you disagree and you’re certainly entitled to that opinion. Who else could they possibly make a move for at this point though? Let me be the first to tell you that guys like Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, and Tim Lincecum are flat-out unavailable.

So why not just try to tinker a little bit with a team that primarily underachieved its way to 95 wins last season and see what happens? What’s wrong with holding on to some of those trade chips and some of that extra money until a real opportunity presents itself? Because those opportunities will come and trust me: the Yankees will not be shy about making a big move. And you know what else? In the meantime, the Yankees will still be pretty damn good.

This entry was posted in Editorial. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Yankees 2010/11 Offseason: The Winter of Our Discontent

  1. Dave M says:

    I agree with you. "Winning" the off-season is no guarantee of a successful season. I dont dislike the Soriano signing but also don't believe Boras will have him stay the full 3 years. As for what the Yankees can do, I would like to see them try for Mark Buehrle. I believe he has 2 yrs left on his current deal and may be available due to the ChiSox making several very expensive signings this winter. The deal may not happen but it doesnt appear anyone is even considering it.

  2. Buehrle is a trade I thought possible all offseason. The thing is though, the Yankees are going to want to give up many prospects for such an expensive pitcher who still has two years left (if he's traded anyway). So this is much more likely to happen at the deadline if the White Sox are not in it by July. They look like they will be though, but if they need a bat they could dump him on the Yankees to may room on their payroll. It would help the Yankees if Jake Peavy got healthy.

  3. Matt C says:

    You are right, there really was no starting pitcher option after Cliff Lee. Brandon Webb? Brad Penny? The market is awful when the Yankees at any point are seriously looking at Kevin Millwood (another "innings eater" that a Yankees manager will not let pitch out of trouble in the 6th). Losing Pettitte, as it is looking, will have more impact than anyone they could have brought in this offseason save Lee. Trading for great arms is, unfortunately, a fantasy at this point.

    It's a down year improvement-wise, but the Yankees still have a lot of talent on that payroll. Another organization would be laying low, watching how Montero, Nunez, and those young arms develop. But these are the Yankees, and we are stuck with long contracts, age, but still potential.

    The Sox scored the second most runs in MLB last year with all those injuries. Crawford, Gonzo, and health should add to that. That said, how bad was their pitching? If Beckett, Papelbon, etc are the same winning the "offseason" will not be as big a deal as everyone wants us to think.

  4. Becky Bravo says:

    “What’s wrong with holding on to some of those trade chips and some of that extra money until a real opportunity presents itself?”

    … Nothing.

    You made good points. But no matter what, many Yankees fans are spoiled brats and will never be satisfied. So for that reason, there will always be whining and crying about something, regardless of the irrationality…