More and more this winter we are getting the impression that the Yankees are going to largely stand pat this offseason. Instead of their usual free spending habits, they only plan to address minor issues with the roster.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post was the first to report on this idea, last week Buster Olney said the same thing and now Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York is the latest.
Marchand does note that the Yankees general manager does like to operate this way, with low expectations. However, there has never been a time in my six years of blogging about the Yankees where there has been an overwhelming view that nothing was going on like this.
I have let my feeling be known, if the Yankees don’t do something to address their rotation issues they will regret it. They have been looking, checking in on all of the top free agent pitchers including C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, and more, but they either don’t like the talent or don’t like the price tags.
They certainly could swing a trade, but as of right now even that seems unlikely. My fear now is that Cashman has either fallen in love with all of his prospects, unwilling to deal them even when it might be prudent to do so, or is afraid of the backlash he will get if he makes a bad deal. If either is true though we are in trouble.
It is starting to become a troubling trend when we see names like Zach Greinke, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Matt Garza, and Ubaldo Jimenez get traded over the past couple of seasons and the Yankees missing out on all of them. Apparently he was uncomfortable with the asking price for all of those pitchers, but was somehow comfortable giving up Arodys Vizcaino for Javier Vazquez.
They certainly have the chips to make a trade. They could find somebody willing to take a chance on Phil Hughes or trade Ivan Nova while his value is likely at it’s highest. Or they could deal one of their very close to major league ready starters including Hector Noesi, David Phelps, Adam Warren, or D.J. Mitchell.
Cashman might be more willing to hold on to those arms and try to develop them himself, but certainly not all of them will be successful at the major league level and a few of them likely have more value now than they ever will have. The other problem with this is that the Yankees have not displayed the ability to properly break young pitchers on to their roster. The only time it really worked in recent history was with Nova and they seem to have just gotten lucky there.
I’m by no means advocating getting rid of all or even a bunch of their prospects. They should take a hard look at them and try to determine the one or ones who they think will have the hardest time transitioning to the majors and try to swing a deal with them. It certainly isn’t as if teams have stopped trading high end pitching talent, I easily named five front of the rotation types that were recently traded off the top of my head. Out of those five, the Yankees were only seriously involved in talks with just one.
Something needs to happen this offseason. Hopefully Cashman is just trying to lay low until he finds the right deal. Recent history suggests that he won’t pull the trigger even if somebody ends up on the market.