Sunday, February 12, 2012

Offseason Review: The New York Yankees

The Yankees destroying the Brewers in a 2011 interleague game
Uncharacteristically, the Yankees have had two consecutive pretty slow offseasons in terms of the exploiting the free agent market. Not that they hadn't tried. Last year it was all but certain that Cliff Lee was going to be wearing pin stripes until he took a pay cut to pitch for the Phillies, and the same thing happened this year with C.J. Wilson turning down more money to go to the Angels. I'm not totally sure about how actively they pursued Yu Darvish but all reports suggested unambitiously low bids.

Newest Yankees slaughterhouse, Michael Pineda
The Yanks quietly pulled off some of the more important/impressive/risky moves of the offseason. C.C. Sabathia was expected to opt out of his contract, but GM Brian Cashman wasted no time offering a hearty $25MM one year extension (with an additional $25MM vesting option with a $5MM buyout) to his contract. The Yankees also engaged in, almost without question, the weirdest trade I've ever seen. On January 23rd, the bombers and Mariners traded top prospects. Promising young slugger Jesús Montero was traded along with Hector Noesi for a highly touted pitching prospect named Michael Pineda, as well as another young pitcher Jose Campos. In my personal opinion the Yanks stole the show on this one. I happened to watch one of Pineda's starts last year and almost everything about it looked smooth and dominating. Lot's to look forward to regarding that trade.

Realistically there isn't much the Yanks had to do. They shedded the soon-to-be-traded A.J. Burnett from the rotation and added in Hiroki Kuroda, good move. People always assume that New York automatically has to pull off some ape shit move in the offseason, totally forgetting that they still have an amazing first infield, amazing-ish outfield (I could see Curtis Granderson contending strongly for MVP for the next three or four years), amazing closer, solid bullpen and pretty decent rotation. The thing is I think they still may pull off the craziest shit ever and put some enormous money in front of Yoenis Cespedis. For those of you don't know who Cespedes is please click the video below. He had a weak  showing in the Dominican League this Winter but that wasn't totally shocking as it came off a year hiatus from the game. I've heard comps to a young Bo Jackson. If that happens, this dude is going to slay everything in sight for years.


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