With their biggest offseason hurdles out of the way – the re-signings of Brian Cashman and CC Sabathia -- the Yankees can now focus on some of the other needs for their team, most importantly help for the starting rotation.
Discussion of the Day: Since it’s now just past two years to the day that the Yankees won the World Series, what is your favorite memory of the 2009 season?
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1) Wallace Matthews writes that Brian Cashman doesn’t have a clear vision for the Yankees.
The Yankees’ GM is returning to the Yankees for three more years, but the current offseason posits a quandary in that the best free agents available don’t suit the Yankees’ current needs and that the team’s most highly touted prospects outside of Jesus Montero might not yet be ready to take on a full season at the major league level. Still, the Yankees have already re-signed CC Sabathia, which was arguably their biggest offseason task, and Cashman’s ultimate goal for the Yankees – to win the World Series – remains.
2) Ian O’Connor praises Sabathia’s new deal with the Yankees.
In three years as a Yankee, Sabathia has averaged just under 20 wins a season, with an ERA that’s gotten better each year as a Yankee, and about 200 strikeouts a year. Further, Sabathia has remained health, even despite concerns about his weight. Sabathia has been worth every penny for the Yankees; had he reached free agency he would have easily become the most-sought after free agent pitcher on the market. The Yankees got to retain their ace, for less of a price than he would have commanded on the free agent market, and while rotation concerns remain, they need not be as serious as they might otherwise have been.
3) Eric Schultz at The Yankee Analysts takes a look at the Yankees in-house pitching depth.
Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are the biggest names, as concern pitchers, in the Yankees’ system, but Hector Noesi, Adam Warren and David Phelps could all make significant inroads in 2012. The biggest issue with depth is that it only lasts as long as one doesn’t need to use it, and if Warren or Phelps or Noesi struggle at the major league level, the Yankees will need to have a fall-back plan. Banuelos and Betances might offer the highest ceilings, but the Yankees will not push their star prospects too far too fast. It’s more than likely at least one of the pitchers will be involved in a trade, though for who remains yet to be known.
While it’s easy to say that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia had better-than-expected seasons for the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez did not, the review of the team as a whole is a reminder that in any baseball season, nothing will go entirely to plan, and that despite the problems the Yankees had, they still had enough go right to make the playoffs and take the Tigers to a fifth game in the ALDS.