Thoughts On The Early Offseason Happenings

Cash Stache You might have noticed a decrease in content on the site recently.  While that's a natural occurrence once the season ends and there are no more games and updated stats to analyze, in my case it's also a matter of real life taking a much bigger slice of the time pie.  My 9-5 cube monkey job has gotten very time consuming over the past month or so, to the point that I barely have the time or the mental energy to write anymore.

That can be frustrating when there's news breaking and trades being made, as it's never as much fun being the last blogger in with your take on something when all the relevant points have already been made, for the writer or the readers.  That said, I do want to take a little time now to go back and talk about what's been going on in the early offseason for the Yankees because I do have opinions on this stuff and I want to try to get them out while I have the time.  Sorry for the recapiness, but here we go.

- This "open to anything" idea that Cash has publicly stated is pretty fun, no?  I would prefer that the Yankees not deal Andrew Miller away or sign Wei-Yin Chen for 5 years, but I much prefer those rumors coming out than a slow, plodding offseason of nothing.  I think Cash sees that he has a little bit of a window to remain competitive while ownership waits out the end of some long contracts, and it does seem as though he's been empowered to seek, pursue, and make trades as he sees fit to build around that expensive core.  That's not something that's always been the case the last few offseasons, so if it is this year and last week was any indication, we should be in for some sizable hot stove excitement.

- I think Adam Warren is a goner this offseason.  I don't have an idea where he'd be going or what the Yankees would try to get back, but it still feels like he's the odd man out of the internal rotation group.  And I'm not even counting CC.  Tanaka isn't going anywhere, Pineda and Eovaldi are still young and have room to grow on the cheap, the team is expected to bring back Ivan Nova in his final arbitration year, and Severino is the future.  There's some young pitching on the way up through the system and Warren's trade value has never been higher.  He fits the same mold as JRM and JRM is gone.

- As for that deal, I like it for both sides.  I was firmly in the camp that believed John Ryan Murphy could be a good starting catcher by season's end, and I wanted the Yankees to replace/upgrade from Chris Young rather than overpay to bring him back.  I think that trade made both of those things to happen.  Murphy never had much of a future in New York, not with Gary Sanchez taking the next step this season, and the same could be said for Aaron Hicks in Minnesota.  Hicks will step into that lefty masher platoon role and he brings even more defensive flexibility and skill than Young.  Murphy gets to take over the everyday job in Minny.

- I could see Hicks getting more regular PT than Young did this past season as a rotating platoon partner for all 3 starting outfielders.  The Yankees need to find a way to keep Beltran, Ellsbury, and Gardner healthy and productive over the course of the 162 games, and more rest is the simplest starting point.  Hicks can also be used as a late-game pinch runner or defensive replacement for Beltran to get him off his feet more, and if he hits even a little bit from the left side he becomes even more useful.  Chris Young had 356 plate appearances in 140 games this year.  I could see Hicks getting 400-450 in a similar amount of games next year.

- I say that assuming Brett Gardner isn't going anywhere.  I believe the Yankees are shopping him right now and I don't necessarily disagree with the thought process, but whatever was in the works with Seattle likely fell apart after they acquired Leonys Martin yesterday.  That puts the Yanks back at square one with Gardner and I don't know who else out there could be a potential trade match.  The Cubs?  Maybe the Rangers now that they've lost Martin?  Good deal for the Mariners, though.  DiPoto getting right to work reloading that team on the fly.

- I don't expect much, but I kinda like that the Yankees got a 20-year-old starter back for Jose Pirela.  If nothing else, Ronald Herrera is capable of filling a rotation spot and providing innings.  He pitched 145 this year.  And the scouting reports make it sound like he's got good command and a solid approach for a younger pitcher, so who knows?  Maybe the Yankee MiL coaches unlock something in his stuff and he turns into a fringe prospect.

- I said this in the short post on the news last night, but I really like the Yankees didn't wait around until super late in the offseason to address their coaching and front office changes.  Got it all done and out of the way early so they can focus 100% on the roster from here on out, and the coaching staff can start getting prepared for next year.

- This is a bit of a sneak peek to an upcoming group post, but here's my hypothetical HOF ballot if I had a vote: Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Griffey, Martinez, Mussina, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Walker.  Just another reminder that limiting the ballot to 10 players is stupid.

- I'll leave you with a little food for thought.  We can all agree that it would behoove the Yankees to add another starter this offseason, but I sense that most people are against all the major targets (Price, Greinke, Cueto, Samardzija, Chen) for a number of reasons and would prefer to wait until next year.  Next year's free agent pitching class is headlined by Stephen Strasburg, but after him there's not much.  C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, R.A. Dickey, do any of those 3 move the needle for you?  If not, doesn't it make more sense to pursue somebody from this year's class?  It's much deeper, younger, and better.  Sure overpaying for Price or Chen or Scott Kazmir wouldn't be a guaranteed winning move this offseason, but I would think it's a better move than paying for any of the main guys who will hit the market next offseason.