“Plan B”

Of course, there were decent secondary options on the market for starting pitchers, but a good many of those guys signed before Lee, throwing a wrench in the most obvious back up plan. As far as the trade market goes, well, it’s pretty bare. The Yankees may or may not have had serious interest in Zack Greinke, but the most comprehensive reporting I’ve seen had the Royals asking for Montero, Eduardo Nunez, either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos, and one of the Yankees AAA arms. I was as bullish as just about anyone when it came to acquiring Greinke, but that would have been too much for even me to stomach giving up for 70 starts from Greinke, and it represents significantly more value than what the Royals got from Milwaukee.

And now? Well the Yankees still need a starting pitcher but, not counting Andy Pettitte, the best one available on the free agent market is Carl Pavano. Raise your hand if you want Cashman to reach out to him. Yeah, that’s what I thought. This, I suppose, is where the Plan B’ers tell me that Cashman needs to “get creative” in making a trade, but really, what does that even mean. I suspect that it’s code for “trade for Felix,” because the realistic version of a “creative” deal is the Curtis Granderson trade, and I’ve been assured by most of the Plan B’ers that that was an awful deal. At the least, “get creative” seems to mean “find a way to trick someone into giving away a pitcher no one thinks will get traded,” and that’s just not realistic.

Did the Yankees have a contingency plan to turn to if Cliff Lee signed elsewhere? I’m sure they did, but it doesn’t mean that it worked out, just like Plan A didn’t work out. Ultimately the reality of the matter is pretty simple; the Yankees need a starting pitcher, and after Cliff Lee made his decision, there just weren’t any good options available. The one guy the Yankees wanted and needed wanted to go somewhere else. That’s the long and short of it, and no amount of complaining about Brian Cashman will change the reality of the market this year. The only way to rectify that is to be willing to overpay for someone, which, almost by definition, is a bad move at this point.

Or sign Carl Pavano.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

13 thoughts on ““Plan B”

  1. Ben

    I'm perfectly content with the Yank's approach. They still gave Cliff Lee the best offer, they resigned the players that people expected them to and I'll wait until June before I start freaking out. The fact of the matter is Nova pitched relatively well and for as much as Pettite is leaning towards retirement, I'll avoid slitting my wrists until he actually does.

  2. bobby

    I agree and disagree with this: I have no problem with swinging and missing on Lee and I agree that giving up that sort of package for Greinke would have been a mistake. I also agree that there's real value to having abundant funds available at the trade deadline. Where my problem with the Yanks "Plan B" comes in is that they're not using funds on upside candidates. I thought they should try to sign B Webb (of course, it's possible that they tried and he chose Tex) and I think now they should sign Jeff Francis. I have no idea if he can handle the AL East, but at least there's legit upside there (upside meaning a #3 or 4 starter w a #5 paycheck). I also thought they should try for Jenks and now I'd like to see them aim for Fuentes (with the stipulation that I wouldn't want them to give him 3 years so he may not be available). I just think they should aim for a bulked up 'pen and some high upside starter(s). I'm actually thrilled to see them give their young arms an opportunity. But we can't expect these guys to pitch 200 innings. We need some veteran arms to give innings.

    Anyway, that's my two cents…

  3. karlovau

    OK, I'll say it – "Sign Carl Pavano!" Redemption is a powerful motivator and forgiveness is a true virtue

    • Glenn G.

      See: Javier Vasquez

  4. JP.

    I'm also a bit frustrated with the miss on Lee. Yes, the Yanks offered more years, and more total dollars, but the Phillies pretty much matched the Yanks in per year dollars (around 24 million per year).

    Couldn't the Yanks have offered up say 28-30 million per year? Would that have gotten it done? I don't know, but it probably helps the odds. If any one wants to say they couldn't afford that, then we should all REALLY be pissed at overpaying for Jeter. Plus, while 30 million per year is insane, I don't think the opportunity cost is particularly high right now. Any one see a better way to spend those dollars?

    Sigh.

  5. Marc2511

    Pavano? How well did Javi's 'redemption' pan out. Fool me once…

    Honestly, plan b should be to hold on to our young players and develop them. Try to win with the team we have now, and if we don't, well then we transition into a team with a core of young, developed talent, led by Cano, Hughes, Gardner. Add Montero, Betances and some of the other players in our farm system and a couple free adgents by 2014 we are a new look Yankees, probably just as competitive as the 2009 and 2010 years.

  6. Ben

    No Carl Pavano, unless he's willing to pitch based on what the Yankees previously paid him since he was unable to pitch then, now would be a good time to make up for it and do it for free.

  7. billybeaneismyhero

    The Yankees are in the same spot that the Red Sox were in after 2008. They lost out on their primary free agent target; the ideal trade options are either unavailable or cost prohibitive; and the 2011 free agent class outlook is rather ghastly at the moment. Sometimes, no matter how well you plan, Plan B (and sometimes Plan C and D) just don't work out. The best option for the Yankees is to wait for the appropriate responsibilities to present itself. Contrary to popular belief, it will not kill the Yankees to miss the playoffs for a season. In fact, it might even be beneficial long-term. Hell, the last time they missed the playoffs, they reloaded on the top three free agents and won the World Series.

    • Brien@IIATMS

      Well, if the comparison is the 2009 Red Sox, that team won 93 games and the Wild Card.

      • billybeaneismyhero

        Two things…yes, you're right on the comparison to the Boston 2009. I still see the Yankees making the playoffs in 2011, but not so sure about 2012. With the free agent market after 2011 looking a little…well…bland…it might be tough for the Yankees to make the changes they need outside giving up key members of their farm system. Considering the age of many of their key players, they might find themselves in the same situation as the 2010 Sox, in 2012.

  8. Doesn't it seem like teams really want to rip the Yankees off in trades? Look at what Seattle asked the Yanks for re: Cliff Lee and then what they took from the Rangers. Same thing with Grienke. Seems like everyone thinks Cashman will just crumble and give them what they want.

    • Glenn G.

      Guess he proved them wrong by not caving, but to Cashman's dis-credit, they did just win a world series, so the pressure for him to 'trade-at-all-costs' was off because he still had the core players from the '09 championship year.

      But as time goes on, If the Yanks don't win it all, look for teams continuing to 'overcharge' us for their top level talent leaving for the Bronx

  9. Keith

    Where do the Yankees go from here? They only have a few years left to legitimately compete with their core. The organization as well as Yankee fans can't believe they can compete against the Red Soxs with Mitre and Nunez in the 4 and 5 spots. Something has to happen from now until the beginning of the season. I don't know how fans can have faith in their team if they don't.

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