Bomber Bites With Jumping Joe–Quiet Before the Storm for Cashman


The biggest move of the off-season for the Yankees so far has been the trade of their backup catcher, Francisco Cervelli, for an extra lefty in the bullpen in Justin Wilson.  For a team like the Yankees, whose mission statement is World Series or bust, that is not going to cut it.  Especially not when two entire postseasons have passed without the Yankees participation.  The Yankees have a lot of holes to fill and it’s to GM Brian Cashman to fill them.

"“I’ve thrown out a lot of ideas, [made] a lot of phone calls, texts. Nothing to show for it yet,” Cashman said of his conversations with agents and GMs. “But it’s been busy … hopefully they lead somewhere.”(h/t Pete Caldera,"

The Bombers need a new shortstop to replace the retired Derek Jeter.  There is at least one open spot in the rotation, possibly two depending on how CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and others come back from their injuries last season.  They also need a closer now that David Robertson has rejected their qualifying offer along with a third baseman and backup first baseman.  That’s a lot of work to do on a team whose payroll is already projected to be around $200 million.

"“I can restate clearly shortstop, maybe third base; the left side of the infield is definitely a priority. Kind of reinforce our pitching (as well). I think we have good pitching, but there’s obviously some volatility in it because of the health status and health histories of some of them. Those are two areas I would like to focus on. Bullpen, clearly with the Robertson circumstance, is an issue”(h/t Chad Jennings, The LoHud Yankees Blog)"

One of more interesting items on Cashman’s off-season menu has to be the fact that he believes the Yankees need two starting pitchers for next season.  Coupled with the fact that the Yankees have stated that resigning Brandon McCarthy is their first priority, the fact that Cashman believes the Yankees need two starters breathes new life in to the theory that the Bombers may be interested in the big three free agent starters Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or James Shields after all. 

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In the alternative, Cashman might also be trying to push free agent Hiroki Kuroda to make a decision on his future as well.  Kuroda was not offer a qualifying offer by the Yankees.  However, the 39 year old righthander has repeatedly stated that he is only interested in playing for the Yankees or Dodgers in the MLB.  Most insiders expect him to retire or play one final season in Japan, but he was the only Yankee starter to manage to stay off the DL last season and led the team in games started and innings pitched.  The Yankees would almost certainly be interested if he chose to play another year.

Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.

Despite the plethora of injuries suffered by the starting staff last season, the rotation ended up being one of the bright spots.  Tanaka and Michael Pineda were fantastic when they weren’t hurt.  Rookies Shane Greene and Chase Whitley pitched effectively when they were given the chance in the big leagues.  McCarthy resurrected his season after his arrival from Arizona.  With CC Sabathia expected to be back for spring training and Nova expected around the All Star break to combine with incumbents  Pineda, Tanaka, and swingman David Phelps with Greene and Whitley providing depth signing multiple free agents starters seems like overkill.  Especially when Manny Banuelos is expected to compete for a starting gig in spring training as well and top prospect Luis Severino possibly ready for the Show at some point this summer.

However, as the old adage goes, a team can never have too much pitching.  McCarthy is a worthwhile investment and signing any of Shields, Lester or Scherzer would of course make the 2015 Yankees a better team.  Balancing the length of the contract and the money needed to sign them with the lower cost options already in house though may not be worth it.  In any case, the Yankees should not be counted out in the pursuit of any free agent or possible trade target as a third straight season without October baseball in the Bronx would be unacceptable.