There’s a little over a week before Christmas. I’d like to wish Yanks Go Yard readers happy holidays as we hit the peak of the holiday season. Brian Cashman and the Yankees have been quiet so far this off-season making minor deals in attempting to improve the team. I still think the Yankees have a few tricks up their sleeve though. What would be great for the the club would be a good starting pitcher. Not a superstar, but a good starting pitcher. There are still some good starters out on the open market this winter.
One is Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Though the idea the Yankees actually will sign Darvish is not seeming possible at the moment. The New York Post reports that the Blue Jays have posted a higher bid on Yu Darvish. The Yankees bid is not expected to be anywhere near the Blue Jays bid to have the rights to negotiate with Darvish. So the idea of having Sabathia and Darvish as the Yankees next great one-two punch isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I think this is a smart move by the Yankees management. Darvish isn’t a proven MLB pitcher, and to just give him ace money right off the bat wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do. Look at the Red Sox with Daisuke Matsuzaka and his grotesque contract. To be fair Dice-K didn’t have as good a Japanese career as Darvish, but the concept is still there. You don’t overpay on an unproven pitcher.
So likely the Yankees will look elsewhere. Maybe a proven Japanese pitcher like Hiroki Kuroda. It’s been said that many teams are in on him including the Yankees and Red Sox. As a Dodger Kuroda had a mid 3.00 ERA and FIP. He’s also been averaging at least 3 wins above replacement level in his four years in the league. That’s good enough production to make the Yankees a playoff team again. Remember what Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia did for this team? For the Yankees to have similar success they’re going to need similar production. If that’s not matched then Tampa Bay and Boston look to be the division front runners. Don’t forgot Toronto if they sign Yu Darvish and he actually pans out. Then they too have a chance to be in the running for the American League East crown. What Kuroda allows the Yankees to do is to have options. He won’t be signed to a long contract like top free agent pitchers handicapping the Yankees from calling up their top prospects. Signing C.J. Wilson, Yu Darvish, or Mark Buehrle would keep a spot in the rotation closed up for 3-6 years. Leaving no room for Manny Banuelos, the Yankees top pitching prospect.
But my top present for the Yankees this year would be World Series Champion Edwin Jackson. What’s good about him is if he doesn’t do well enough he’s willing to be traded. He’s been on four different teams within the last two years. The Tigers, Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Cardinals. Three of them all made the playoffs as a result of some of the trades he was involved in. The Marlins look like the front runner for him as of now. (What else is new?) He’s been an innings eater, he’s made at least 31 starts in his last five seasons. And for the last three years his WAR has been closer to 4.0 than to 3.0 with an ERA just under 4.00. He’s a slightly above average pitcher with a lot of potential. Jackson is the guy I’ve been preaching for the Yankees to sign all off-season.
As for trades it doesn’t look like there are much out there that New York will be willing to make. The Athletics are asking for a lot for Gio Gonzalez. If Jesus Montero were involved in a deal than the Yankees better be getting Felix Hernandez back. Who might be on the trading block by the trade deadline next season. Just a hunch.