Yankees Not Valuing Their Own Free Agents

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees may be willing to go to four years for free agent reliever Andrew Miller since it will surely take that to sign him. Meanwhile, they are still resistant to make that same commitment to their own free agent reliever David Robertson. There are some legitimate reasons for this. Miller will cost less because he has less of a track record and the Yankees would gain a draft pick for losing Robertson to another team. However, should a few bucks and a pick really stop them from choosing a guy with a one-year track record over a guy who has been one of the best players on their team over the last six years?

Starting with Robinson Cano last year, this would be the second straight season in which the Yankees let a great homegrown player go, instead choosing outside guys to fill positions of need. These are the Yankees, they're not supposed to be letting their best guys leave via free agency with their money. Who was the best player they let leave from 1996-2012? Probably Andy Pettitte, who eventually came back. They did everything to keep Bernie Williams from going to Boston. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada leaving were never serious possibilities.

Robertson isn't on their level, but Cano certainly is and the decision to let him walk backfired. The grass wasn't greener on the other side. Three players combined could not even replace what he did. The Yankees missed out on a chance to have a another HOF player play his whole career in a Yankee uniform because of money, yet they had no problem paying $450 million to outside guys.  That's worth something.

So, what they're saying is that they would rather give an extra year to Miller than a guy who patiently waited his turn behind Rivera and absolutely seized the opportunity when he got it. Especially in a winter when they've done absolutely nothing so far. Of course Joel Sherman will spin the company line and tell you that they spent all their money last year, so you can't demand anything this winter. He blatantly ignores their payroll relative to their revenue, which is at an all-time high and only going up, and what the payroll started out at last winter before they signed those guys.

Who knows if Betances or Miller could handle the ninth inning. If they struggle, the successes of Robertson and Rivera will certainly be brought up. If you give me a baseball reason for not bringing back Robertson, fear of decline for example, that's fine.  I don't see that since he does not rely on an overpowering fastball and has not thrown a ton of innings over his career.

This is not to say always sign your own free agents. The Yankees clearly made the right decisions letting Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher go, even though they weren't homegrown players. The way to build in MLB now seems to be to develop your own players and sign them to extensions.  The Yankees haven't developed many players recently, so the fact that they might let two sensational ones go is ridiculous considering the amount of money they have. If it's about the draft pick, a player of Robertson's value is worth much more than a supplemental pick. I think it's more about the money.

If the Yankees want to build a super bullpen and sign both players, that would definitely be reasonable. If they chose Miller over Robertson, however, they should remember what happened with Cano.