Time is flying by this winter. It’s almost December which brings the New York Yankees and MLB that much closer to the winter meetings in San Diego. That’s when the real fun starts.
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Thus far, the Yankees have been somewhat active in the free agent and trade market. The rumors have been driving me insane. One day you will hear that Brian Cashman doesn’t foresee the Yankees pursuing any big-money free agents this winter, and the very next day you will hear that Cash wants to sit down with Max Scherzer. Well, what approach should the Yankees take? The Bronx is boiling and I need to blow some steam.
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO?
The Yankees continued their winter activity by blundering on the 40-man roster. I already went to great lengths to explain how Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott being left protected is inexcusable in my #FreeRoller article on Saturday. They then signed minor league free agent Jonathan Galvez away from the Padres. This is a stout signing. Glavez is a second baseman/ short stop, and at only 23 years of age, will fill a pretty big void at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where the shortstop options were weak.
But what about the rest? Who are the Yankees actually targeting? Are they staying away from big money free agents because of their big-contract mistakes in the past or are the Steinbrenners simply weary on giving away their money to anyone but themselves? It’s a weird time to be a Yankees fan, but there is hope in sight.
Here’s the bottom line. This game of cat and mouse they are playing about who they will pursue and who they won’t is cute and all, but they have to make a splash in the pitching department. Their isn’t a single Yankees fan that wants to see C.C. Sabathia in pinstripes much longer and Michael Pineda is a crap shoot with his health. For some reason, I feel like Ivan Nova is heading down the Chien-Ming Wang route, and he may simply never be the same pitcher after injuries. Hiroki Kuroda, the staff’s stalwart over the past few years, is most likely gone, although the Yanks may coax him back on a one-year deal like they did last year.
Take a look into the future. There are some that feel that Shane Greene will be competent as the fifth starter but nothing in his minor league pedigree shows that. Greene has never been bad, but he has also never been consistent. The minor league system has Luis Severino, Ian Clarkin, Jaron Long, Manny Banuelos and that’s it. Banuelos is still a work in progress as the Yankees will work him slowly along to not re-injure him. Long blew up this past season, but the Yankees will still want to see more. Clarkin and Severino could be ready by 2016.
Several of the starters from last season at SWB and Trenton have already signed with different teams (Jeremy Bleich for example) and most of the starters grade out as long-relievers or bullpen hands in the majors. The Yankees need to get aggressive and sign a Max Scherzer-type player.
Jon Lester would be nice as well, but it looks like the Red Sox, Braves and Cubs may go to war over Lester. The Yankees will probably avoid entering that arena. James Shields, the third of what is considered the Big Three free agents, is a tough fit for the Yankees. Yes, he is AL East experienced, but he has registered a ton of innings the past few years and doesn’t look very good in the post season. That won’t bode well with New Yorkers.
That’s why Scherzer is the choice. He is just 30-years-old. He didn’t cross the 200 inning threshold until the past few seasons, so he has a fresh arm so to speak. Scherzer has led the AL in wins the past two seasons and is a strikeout power pitcher the Yankees haven’t seen in a long time. Moreover, he has a low ERA and WHIP in AL battle, characteristics a pitcher needs to win if this Yankees line-up is as anemic as last year.
While the Yankees search for a middle infield, everything else is locking itself down. Their bullpen is strong, their outfield and starting catcher are tied down to long-term deals, and as soon as they re-sign Chase Headley (which they will) third base will be secure. It simply seems that heading into 2014, most Yankees fans were concerned with CC’s velocity decreasing. They wondered which Nova would be back, the one sent to the minors or the one who found magic late in 2013. They wondered if the injury-prone Pineda would ever make it through a full season. All of their concerns came to fruition. Maybe it is simply time to turn a corner and bring on someone new to right the ship.