Offseason Is On: Inactivity For The Win?
A year ago at this time, I was just beginning to accept that the Yankees didn’t get Cliff Lee. That pained me for a long time, but I slowly convinced myself that it was okay, and that I had other things to look forward to in the season. I later said that I wouldn’t care how well the Yankees did – I just wanted to see some of the young guys come up and play and make an impact. I waited and waited, and finally, Jesus Montero debuted on September 1. To the surprise of many, the 21 year old got hot quickly, without letting the pressure of being the best prospect on the best team in the best city get to him. Although the season was cut short as the Yankees lost to the Tigers in the ALDS and the ultimate goal of bringing home #28 was not accomplished, I can look back on 2011 and smile. The rookie brought me hope.
I’ve been extremely busy finishing up my first semester in college, and I knew I wouldn’t have been able to follow the events of the offseason the way I would have liked to, but I made sure to check up on things every once in awhile to see if my Yanks did anything. CC Sabathia received a contract extension and Freddy Garcia was signed – moves which were either expected or not all that exciting. No major changes have been made to the Yankees yet, despite Cashman’s claims that the starting pitching is in need of improvement.
Awhile back, I did a debate saying Yu Darvish should go to the Yankees. At first I didn’t really think so, but when formulating my argument supporting that claim, I wound up convincing myself. I though Yu Darvish made a ton of sense for the Yankees. CJ Wilson didn’t appeal to me because I am not fond of giving up draft picks, and when CJ Wilson is the best pitcher on the market, there’s a problem. I didn’t want the Yankees to overpay for him.
Now I know Darvish isn’t going to be cheap, but I still think he made sense for the Yankees. The posting fee wouldn’t have counted towards the luxury tax threshold that the Yankees are trying to get under – it’s just disposable money, and the Yankees have a fair amount of that. Besides, since they didn’t do anything else this offseason, they could have put in a better bid than one that was described as just “modest.” I don’t know what Darvish’s actual contract would be, but what I do know is that many are wary of giving a rather large deal to a guy who is unproven in America. Still, there’s risk with every player. Who knows if CJ Wilson would have been able to succeed in New York? And the rookies, as much as I want to see them, they’re unproven as well. Granted, they don’t have the same kind of price tag…
I know Yu Darvish is a risk, but I wish the Yankees pursued him more actively. They’ve been scouting him for years now. I know so many people who say just that because he’s from Japan, they don’t want him. And yes, I know teams have been burned by international signings before – I remember Igawa. But Darvish is supposed to be ten times better than all the other international signings combined. To me, if you can pitch, you can pitch no matter where you are on the globe. Darvish is extremely, incredibly dominant in Japan. Maybe in the United States, he’d be just regular-dominant – perfect for a number-two starter.
Yu Darvish was all I wanted for Christmas this year from Cashman, much like Cliff Lee was all I wanted last year. The free agent market for starting pitching is pretty dry this year, and Darvish to me was the best free-agent option. And if nothing else, it would have been exciting to have him on the Yankees. Darvish is headed to Texas, and the better free agents are no longer available, but the Yankees are still in need of pitching. What’s going to happen?
They could either sign low-risk and high-reward guys like they did with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia last year, or they can trade for someone more suitable for the top of the rotation. Neither of these ideas is too appealing to me.
Or, the Yankees can do nothing.
To my surprise, I support the latter option.
Yu Darvish was kind of like a checkpoint for me: if they signed him, great, I’m beyond satisfied. I would have known that their earlier inactivity was because they were focused on him. To me, he was the deal of the offseason. Since he’s not coming to the Yankees and there’s no one else to sign, I don’t want anyone. I don’t want to trade just to trade. The rookies gave me hope last year, and the more time passes, the more the prospects are getting more ready to play in the Bigs. I want them to do so as Yankees. I don’t want them to be traded away. And like I said before: sure, trading is perhaps less risky than signing Darvish, because you’d be trading for someone who had success in this league. But success in the Majors does not by any means guarantee success on the New York Yankees. I’ve seen countless good players come to New York and underperform beyond belief. In this case, I don’t think trading for a guy is any better than letting the rookies pitch. They have the same upside – but the cost is way different.
Trading for a starting pitcher wouldn’t guarantee a championship anyways, and trading away the prospects that I’ve been dying to see wouldn’t make me any more excited. Since Darvish is out of the picture now, I want the Yankees to try out their prospects. Keep Jesus Montero, and Manny Banuelos, and let’s finally see what these guys, and other guys of their caliber who we’ve heard so much about, can actually do. Sure, they definitely don’t guarantee a championship. But watching them would create a heck of a lot more excitement than any trade can do for me.
Cashman, since you’ve decided to do nothing so far, is it a lot to ask from you to do nothing for the remainder of the offseason?
Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make that help you out the most…