The Building Frustration

Generally, I’m a patient person. I work with kids all day, so I need patience–even if they try my last nerve each and every day. In my baseball life, I tend to be relatively patient. I don’t (usually) overreact to one instance in the season or in a game, knowing it’s part of the larger picture. Perhaps it’s the absence of anything exciting going on in Yankee-land, but I’m beginning to grow frustrated and impatient.

Yesterday, it was widely reported on the ‘net that Roy Oswalt has scaled back his “demands” and is willing to take on a one year contract. In the last few months, I’ve written about him twice and expressed at least mild interest in seeing him join the Yankees. But, the Yankees are apparently not interested in him, even on a one year deal. Hiroki Kuroda has been a frequent topic of conversation here at TYA (and other places in the Yankee blogosphere) and apparently he’s closing in on a deal that isn’t with the Yankees.

Okay. What the hell, people? I’ll start by saying that there are legitimate risks about both guys. Oswalt’s back is as balky as anything and Kuroda’s no spring chicken either. But they both represent possible or probable upgrades over what’s in the Yankee rotation, not including CC Sabathia. Neither one of them needs a long term commitment. The lack of interest on the Yankees’ part is stunning, and not in a good way. We keep hearing about the need for rotation upgrades and we keep hearing about high costs. Well, here are two relatively low cost options that are better than at least half of the non-CC Yankee rotation.

We could find ourselves arguing that the lack of interest here is calculated and they really are trying to work something out with one of these guys, but the Yankees’ lack of interest has been anything but bluffing this off season. They said they weren’t big on Wilson and they never made him an offer; and, as we all know, they didn’t make an overly competitive bid for Yu Darvish. Right now, I can’t believe that they are interested…and that annoys me.

31 thoughts on “The Building Frustration

  1. DMan

    I agree completely. I hope reports are correct in that they will at least bid for Cespedes. Good lord, do something.

    • Donna

      Just read that perhaps Cashman is saving his trade chips for the Phillies’ Hamel…God, I hope so because our pitching is a big ??? behind CC.

      • T.O. Chris

        Why would the Phillies trade Hamels? Even if they get to the point where they know they can’t re-sign him it makes much more sense to keep him and go for the WS win. They’re “all in”, and their window will close sooner rather than later with all the age they’ve extended. It makes more sense to try and win the WS then it does to trade Hamels with thoughts of rebuilding. Though at the end of the day I think Hamels will actually take less and agree to a Jered Weaver like, team friendly, contract extension.

  2. Kuroda and Oswalt are last resorts. Adding either one really doesn’t make the Yankees that much better, so I’d prefer to leave the door open for something that has a much more meaningful impact.

    Also, let’s not discount the possibility that Cashman might have a deal in the works, which would explain his tepid or non-interest in these lesser options.

    • Matt DiBari

      I just can’t imagine what realistic deal is out there that’s going to make a (good) difference.

      • T.O. Chris

        Especially considering the fact they apparently were never involved with Mat Latos. There isn’t a younger, more upside, yet still highly impactful this year top of the rotation pitcher available. There may not be one period. So if you aren’t willing to even engage in those discussion, I highly doubt you have any intentions on trading for anyone else.

  3. sterlingisGOD

    I think this is a feeling we are gonna have to get used to. Not that they will be cheap, but that their spending will be more controlled sort of the way the sox spend, big free agents when they have money under the cap. Still don’t understand the davishr bid. Just reaked of something the mets would do, putting a bid in to make it look like u were interested but doing it only to placate fans knowing u had no chance of actually getting the player

  4. Paul

    I agree, it is certainly a bit unusual But i also agree with William J. Either way it is slow but I can’t get too worked up over not signing low level guys lime Kuroda or Andrew Jones. I hope they do, but if not, I’ll live

  5. David

    If the Yankees don’t sign Oswalt or at least try very hard I think we have to resign ourselves to the fact that we are going to give some of our kids a chance to prove themselves before the glut of free agent pitchers hit the market next year. I can see Cashman wanting to give them a chance even if it is only to improve there trade value. With the prices we have seen lately a second good year from Nova would make him worth a lot, as would a comeback by Hues. this may also be our last year to see what we really have in aaa because if we do sign two free agents next year that does not leave a lot of room for advancement with Sabatha and Nova.

    • T.O. Chris

      Which two free agents would we be signing next year? I think that idea, and it’s been thrown out a lot, is kind of silly in it’s unlikelihood. With Danks already off the table, the likelihood that at best 1-2 of the Hamels, Cain, Grinke’s, and Marcum’s actually hit the market, and the best names after them being Liriano and Anibal Sanchez I doubt we sign 1 let alone 2 big name free agents next year.

  6. bottom line

    Excellent post.

    Personally, I have no problem with the effort to get down to $189 million in 2014. But it does concern me that there may be a plan to stay down there even after 2014. With the new CBA limiting the signing of cheap young talent, Yanks will have to do some fishing in free agent markets to stay on or even near the top.
    I am also concerned that they seem unwilling to spend even this year. Signing Kuroda to a one year deal seems like a no-brainer that would instantly improve rotation. It would have no effect on 2014 budget and would allow trading of AJ that would at least save some dollars this year and next.
    Psatience has always been Cashman virtue. But this is not patience…it’s tight-fisted caution. I only hope I wind up eating these words.

  7. David in Cal

    I share your frustration, Matt. If the Yanks’ only restriction were getting down to $189 million in 2014, they should have been all over a 1 deal for a pitcher like Kuroda or Oswalt. They should have been aggressive at signing Darvish, since his 2014 cost is likely to be lower than for a free-agent American pitcher of comparable quality.

    It looks to me like the Yanks just don’t want to spend money, period. That’s their privilege. And, of course, they already spend a huge amount. Still, I think if they follow this austerity strategy, they will become just another team in short order.

  8. David, Jr.

    I don’t have a problem with it, except when looked at in lieu of two recent Yankee signings. Soriano is a reliever that we didn’t really even need, and Jeter was paid approximately double what the market would have otherwise paid him. He will soon be a 40 year old shortstop! If he would have been paid normally and Soriano wouldn’t have been signed, plenty of money would have been available to improve the rotation.

    • sterlingisGOD

      Its clear now why cash was so oppossed to the signing of soriano. This isn’t georges yanks anymore where stupid contracts don’t affect future spending because a budget was just a mythical number thrown around until george saw a new toy. This is the new look yankees (congrats selig) where there is only so much water in the well. Can’t blame them because they aren’t becoming the royals but it scares me that their dominace will diminish over the years and bums me out because the offseasons used to be so much fun

    • I don’t think the Jeter or Soriano signings are necessarily contributing factors to the Yankees’ inactivity. Jorge Posada’s $13M salary has come off the books and that alone could cover one year of Oswalt or Kuroda.

      While it’s not as simple as that — the Yankees have plenty of arbitration raises to dole out to guys like Hughes, Chamberlain, Logan, Gardner and Robertson — the fact remains that it’s not Winter 2010 spending that is constraining the Yankees during Winter 2011.

      • David, Jr.

        Great points, although $ will also be needed for Cano and Granderson.

        I’m also thinking that some of this could be the Yankees way of kind of giving the finger to Selig. “You fucked over your most significant franchise, that makes huge $ for all, so f yourself. How does MLB look without a monster Yankee team coming into your shitty little places like Minnesota and Kansas City?”

  9. I don’t agree that the Darvish bid was “something the Mets would do” or that it was a token bid “to placate fans.”

    The Yankees — and most well-run businesses, for that matter — don’t make token efforts or do things to placate their customers. The Yankees don’t give a crap what we think. They submitted a bid that represented their low level of interest in Darvish: low enough to get him at a relative discount if they won, but also low enough to not fear committing to someone that they had reservations on.

    It may or may not be the right strategy, that much is entirely up for debate and subjective opinion. But the Yankees don’t half-ass things to appear to be active just for activity’s sake.

    • Agreed. I think the $20 million bid (if it was in fact that low) is a reflection of how they valued Darvish: not as a future ace, but as a possible 2-3 starter.

  10. @Matt I.: My only guess is that Cashman and his superiors have seen the medicals on Oswalt and don’t figure him to be worth a one year commitment.

    I have no idea what the hesitation is on Kuroda.

    Perhaps they’re doing a dance with Edwin Jackson? Thus far, there hasn’t been much activity linking him to any suitors and he seems like a guy the Yankees would go for.

    • Matt DiBari

      I have absolutely no idea why they would want Jackson. He’s a career mediocrity that is going to cost way too much in years and money.

      • David, Jr.

        Completely agree. Of the three, assuming Oswalt is in one piece, for comfort in starting a playoff game, which this is really about, I would rank them:

        Oswalt
        Kuroda

        Jackson

        • Matt DiBari

          Well, I think the idea is that for one game, Jackson is certainly capable of going 8 IP and striking out 13, which would be great.

          Its just that he’s shown himself to be a terribly uneven, mediocre pitcher over 162 games, and we already have plenty of that in the rotation.

      • Not saying they want Jackson and certainly not saying that I want him either. Just saying that they could be looking at him because he fits their “younger/more athletic” profile that Cashman has been going after the past several years.

        • Matt DiBari

          I certainly hope they focus more on “good” than “younger/more athletic” unless we’re forming a gymnastics team.

        • David, Jr.

          What makes sense to me is a “young for young” deal, kind of like the Cincinnati deal with San Diego. We would deal Banuelos and more for a young, MLB proven pitcher. Maybe Matt Cain?

  11. bg90027

    The way I see it is the Yankees didn’t give Freddy Garcia a $4 million guaranteed contract to serve as depth. Hughes will and should be given a chance to start and Burnett will start as long as he is on this team. That doesn’t mean plans can’t change but they won’t change for a potential marginal upgrade like Oswalt or Kuroda unless they find a taker for Burnett on their terms (not likely).

    If a #1 or a strong #2 (someone who would definitely outperform our best possible expectation for Hughes and Nova) becomes available, they would probably at least explore it but they also clearly like Montero, Banuelos, Betances and Mason Williams and probably wouldn’t give 2 of them up for a player that they aren’t in love with.

    • Matt DiBari

      I think at this point, six years in, my best possible expectation for Phil Hughes is rather low. He’s going to have to prove he’s more than a back end guy before I expect anything more.

  12. Scout

    Several things, some already noted, may explain the Yankees’ inactivity.

    First, the Yankees may be trying to cut payroll to $189 million by 2014, reflecting the constraints of the new CBA. Add to this that revenues may be less than the team expected, because of the slow economy. Certainly the team has tried to stay in the $200 million range for several years.

    Second, Cashman may be looking ahead to the next free agent class, in the hope that Hamels, Cain, and/or others will be available. This is highly risky because few of the front-line pitchers will get to actual free agency if the past is any guide.

    Third, Cashman may expect to make a deadline deal, assuming the Yankees are in a close race. He might be willing to enter the season with question marks in the rotation. If Hughes, A.J., or Noesi were to shine in the first several months, he could wait until after the season or simply stand pat. Of course, if the questions are answered in the negative, the cost of fixing the problems goes up. There will also be other bidders.

    Lastly, Cashman and the organization may be valuing their assets more highly than the market does. That is, they believe the asking price for top talent is simply too high and are unwilling to surrender top prospects for what is out there. Certainly, if the White Sox expect Montero and Banuelos in exchange for one year of Danks, there is reason to wait out the other teams. The price may come down. If not and if the Yankees believe they need to make a deal, then they can pay premium prices later.

    My worry is that the organization has swung too far in the direction of holding onto its prospects. Organizations often value their assets more highly than outsiders do. I remain skeptical of claims about the high upside of Banuelos, Betances, and others. The likelihood of failure is high. So I would prefer to see Cashman adopt a more aggressive pose, though I am willing to give him more time.

  13. sterlingisGOD

    »

    Perhaps they really want to develop noesi and continue the development of nova. If they are going to remain an elite team through 2014 and keep payroll under 189, they will need to have at least 2 if not three guys in the starting rotation from the farm. With so much of the payroll committed to arod tex cc and probably cano and grandy, I can’t see any other way for them to field a super competitive team. Not that they are throwing this year but it is a bit like a transition and they would rather develop noesi and see what hughes can do than bring in a vet as a place setter

    • smurfy

      that’s it, along with proof last year that “pitching, pitching, pitching” can come in alternative forms, especially when partnered with a run scoring machine.

      Love that bullpen.

      • Professor Longnose

        I’m feeling negative about the run scoring, smurfy. Teixeira will continue to decline. Martin’s power will disappear again. Jeter’s second half 2011 will be an outlier. Rodriguez will play fewer than 50 games. Granderson will regress. Will will will, I tell ya!

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