I predict that headline first appears in the Post by April 30.
With the Mark Teixeira signing, the Yankees' off-season immediately upgraded from a C+ to an A-. Adding such a huge offensive and defensive weapon makes up for a lot of mistakes. And there have been mistakes. Signing A.J. Burnett to a long-term deal, not offering arbitration to Bobby Abreu, butchering the Damaso Marte situation -- all are forgiven with one large $180 million check.
Now, the Yankees have addressed crucial needs in the rotation and the lineup. Miguel Cairo and Jorge Posada won't be playing first base anymore. Yes, the team is once again throwing money at problems, but this time around, they seem to be doing it with more focus and cunning. They haven't traded away the jewels of the farm system, and they're not signing the likes of Jaret Wright (for the most part). CC Sabathia and Teixeira seem as safe as any big-ticket free agents at their respective positions have been in some time.
I'm hopeful that Brian Cashman still has one more illusion up his sleeve (tricks are things whores do for money), and can turn Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon or Xavier Nady into an innings-gobbling, back-of-the-rotation starter. If not, I'm comfortable with what the Yankees will be starting out with down in Ybor City.
Monday, December 15, 2008
The year was 2004. After a devastating playoff loss to the Red Sox, the Yankees' starting rotation was bankrupt. Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte were long gone. Javier Vazquez seemed like a New York bust. El Duque was old. Kevin Brown was crumbling. Jon Lieber was headed out of town. Only Mike Mussina could reliably be penciled in to the 2005 rotation.
So the Yankees went shopping. Vazquez became Randy Johnson, and Johnson received a hefty two-year contract extension. Injury-prone one-year wonder Jaret Wright was inked to a three-year deal. Injury-prone one-year wonder Carl Pavano was inked to a four-year deal.
We all know how that plan worked out. Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small saved the Yankees' 2005 season, and Wright, Pavano and even Johnson were flat-out disasters for the lengths of their tenures in pinstripes.
It is happening again.
Brian Cashman clearly has not learned from his mistakes.
I don't have much of a problem with the Sabathia signing. The Yankees absolutely need pitching, with only Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain (both coming off injuries) slated to begin 2009 in the starting rotation. Sabathia was expensive, but possibly necessary. It's been proven again and again that hitting is a safer long-term investment than pitching. I would rather the Yankees had signed Mark Teixeira than Sabathia if they could truly only afford one of them.
But the Sabathia move is defensible. You can justify overpaying for the premier pitcher on the market. But A.J. Fucking Burnett for 5 years and $82.5 million???
For a guy who:
-Has started 30 games twice in his career, both in contract years
-Will be 36 when the new contract ends
-Has posted WHIPs over 1.3o twice in the last three years
-Seems like a dick
-Owns a career ERA+ of 111, and whose prime is probably over
And now the Yankees are considering adding Derek Lowe too? I can't wait for the 2010 off-season, when the Yankees claim they can't afford to sign any decent players because they have too much committed to Burnett and Lowe. These are the kind of mistakes that haunt a team for years. The kind of mistakes that have put the Yankees in the situation they're in now.
Add in the fact that they were too cheap to offer Bobby Abreu arbitration, and too dumb to figure out that Damaso Marte didn't need a three-year deal, and this off-season is shaping up to be extremely problematic. The offense was woeful last year, and looks to be even worse in 2009. All the aging veterans will be another year older, and Nick Swisher is expected to replace the production of both Jason Giambi and Abreu.