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Going with 'Plan B'

After losing out on prized free agent Cliff Lee the New York Yankees have had to resort to a different form not seen since Roger Clemens decided to pitch for Toronto in 1997.

This form called for a different course of action; patience. Instead of blindly throwing money at the next best option (there aren’t any) or trading away the farm for a pitcher, general manager Brian Cashman has been quite idle.

Sure, he signed Russell Martin to be the everyday catcher, a significant upgrade from Francisco Cervelli and a security blanket for Jesus Montero. But Martin suffered his worst season in the majors last year posting a .248 batting average in only 97 games. His bat won’t be relied on as much as it was in Los Angeles but he will be needed to catch as much as possible. However there is tremendous upside, Martin was an All-Star in 2007 and could provide a similar offense to what Posada has done over the past 10 years.

The signing of Pedro Feliciano is two-sided, while another lefty arm is needed to stabilize the bullpen Feliciano has been under an extreme workload appearing in 86, 88, and 92 games with the Mets in the past three seasons. There is no telling the condition of his arm, shoulder or elbow especially with his unusual delivery. He did keep left-handed hitters to a .211 batting average, a stark contrast to his .346 batting average against right-handers.

This wasn’t the only splash made by the Yankees and Cashman, they’ve decided to take a flier on Mark Prior agreeing to a minor league deal but it isn’t smart to rely on him to stabilize the rotation. In fact only one person can do that and he apparently is on the verge of retirement. That’s right, Andy Pettitte, longtime Yankee and a vital part to the 2011 season, if he plays. If Pettitte decides to return that leaves only one hole to fill in the rotation with a lot of in-house options for a fifth starter, which Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre seem to top the list.

This leads us to perhaps the most interesting storyline from this offseason heading into next year. It won’t be the team being spurned by Lee or the mid-level free agent signings; it will be the loss of pitching coach Dave Eiland and the addition of the new pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Rothschild, who came over from the Chicago Cubs, will have a lot of work to do with A.J. Burnett, trying to get him back on track while also monitoring Phil Hughes in his second full season as a starter. Not to mention the battle that will take place for the possible fourth and fifth starting job depending on Pettitte’s decision.

It’s not every off-season the Yankees don’t get the present they covet the most and since the winter meetings have ended clearly lost an edge in the division. The Red Sox, coming off of an injury-plagued season, have bolstered their lineup and bullpen by trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Carl Crawford and Bobby Jenks. The Yankees also lost something else, sole right of the highest payroll in the league, which is actually nice to see especially since Red Sox owner John Henry dubbed the Yankees the ‘Evil Empire’ and it is now he who is spending the most. Maybe Cashman was right, patience can pay off…or not pay at all.

2 comments:

  1. I think it is pretty clear that after this year we are going to experience at least a mini rebuilding which was the reason for no huge moves this off-season. We are going to sort of go for it in 2011 but not all in. I think we are trying to see what we have in players like Hughes first to see the extent of rebuilding needed.

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  2. I say it is about time the minions overthrow the new king, there are a lot of fans in Yankee Nation.

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