Yankees: Evaluating the major 2009 offseason transactions

New York Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
New York Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees made several big moves for the 2009 season. It was their first season at the new Yankee Stadium and they had not won a World Series title in nearly a decade.

After a rather disappointing 2008 season that saw the Yankees close out the old Yankee Stadium with an 89-73 record and third-place finish, Brian Cashman decided that it was time to go all-in to build another World Series caliber team.

There were many big names available on the free-agent market that winter, headlined by CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Manny Ramirez, and Francisco Rodriguez. All of these players were expected to get big paydays, and the Yankees would be in the mix to upgrade at both starting pitcher and first base.

A look back at the Yankees’ 2009 offseason

Cashman began the off-season by trading for White Sox outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher to be the everyday first baseman. Not only did Swisher become a vital part of the Yankee locker room, but he also became a consistent player in his four years in pinstripes. He missed only 50 games over his four seasons as a Yankee and arguably had his best offensive seasons in New York. He hit at least 24 home runs every year and was named to his only All-Star Game in 2010.

The next set of moves came in the form of pitching, as Sabathia and A.J. Burnett were both signed to contracts. Sabathia’s deal was seven years, $161 million and Burnett’s was for five years, $82.5 million. Only one of these contracts worked out well for the Yankees.

Sabathia would go on to pitch 11 seasons for the Yankees with a record of 134-88 and a 3.81 ERA. He was named an All-Star three times in New York and was the ace of the squad for the first five seasons. It took him some time to make the transition of becoming a pitcher with “stuff” and not speed in his later years, but he eventually had some success with it.

As for Burnett, he struggled under the bright lights of New York. In three seasons, his record stood at 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA. His 2009 season turned out to be his best, as his ERA only stood at 4.04. The 2010 and ’11 seasons saw his ERA bounce over five both seasons. After the 2011 season, Cashman shipped Burnett to the Pirates in exchange for a couple of minor leaguers who never worked out.

The final big move that Cashman made was signing Teixeira. The Yankees, initially, had no interest in signing Teixeira since they traded for Swisher earlier in the off-season. The Red Sox submitted a strong offer that was expected to land the first baseman. However, the Yankees would ultimately land the prized free agent.

In his first three seasons in the Bronx, Teixeira was a critical piece to the puzzle. He was named an All-Star in 2009 and hit a minimum of 33 home runs per season in those three years. He also won a Silver Slugger Award and two Gold Gloves. The 2012 season began a trend that ultimately stuck with Teixeira until the end of his career: injuries.

Although he never lost the power in his bat, Teixeira found himself much slower and not being able to hit for average. In the end, the fanbase is mostly split on whether or not it was a good signing. He gave the Yankees three great seasons and another two good seasons. Overall, it worked out well.

Cashman was going for it all in 2009 and ultimately won his first World Series since 2000. The Yankees would go on to make pushes towards the World Series over the next couple seasons but failed to make it to the fall classic. They still have yet to make the World Series since their run in 2009.