Now, if Cashman’s superiors have finally learned the virtue of not chasing whatever offseason acquisition you can get simply for the sake of doing something, I don’t really want to complain. Over the long term, I will certainly advocate the sort of restraint we’re seeing this offseason. The problem, however, is that they’re not implementing the concept correctly from a baseball standpoint. If you’re only worried about the baseball, the correct strategy would be to take your lumps on the cost of those past mistakes while avoiding further long term spending errors and hope that you can get to where you want to once those contracts come off the books. That is decidedly not what the Yankees are doing, if their cries of poverty are to be believed.
Instead we’re getting a crash-diet of austerity, and as in most such cases, the prescription is leaving the patient in a precarious position. At the end of the day, it simply must be noted that the Yankees’ starting rotation is a huge question mark. Most troublesome, it’s a question mark with a wide range of plausible outcomes. It’s one thing to say someone could be terrible, after all, anyone could be terrible. C.C. Sabathia could have one of the worst seasons in big league history. But he probably won’t. That degree of confidence is what typically guides our confidence when we make predictions about various players and informs our sense of how good players are. And I have to be honest, that sense of confidence is completely lacking in me when it comes to the other four starters currently slated to start the season in the Bombers’ rotation. The worst case scenario (within the realm of things that are reasonably plausible) in which Ivan Nova regresses from how he pitched after his demotion last summer and Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes are all terrible simply isn’t that unlikely at all. Throw in the possibility of C.C. Sabathia getting hurt, and this group is playing another game of Russian Roulette. And after the luck the organization had with their scrap heap acquisitions last year, I’d say they’re about four chambers in.
Thankfully, the baseball gods have gift-wrapped a couple of gifts just for the Yankees this holiday season, with Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt both available to be had on a one year contract to provide some insurance and upside to the roster. The Yankees are, reportedly, declining that gift, because ownership doesn’t want to spend more money in luxury taxes thanks in no small part to their previous tendency to light money on fire at inopportune moments.
Pardon me for being more than a little perturbed about that.