Andy Pettitte has not given any clear signs on whether he wants to return to the Yankees next season, so it would be best to assume he will retire. However, with all the attractive free agents off the board and no visible trade candidates, Yankee fans have little to do but wait to see if Pettitte will return.
Even before the 2010-2011 offseason began, the general thought seemed to be that Cliff Lee would sign with the New York. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Lee shocked the baseball world and signed with his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies. While he did sacrifice money and years to return to Philadelphia rather than to move to New York or re-up with Texas, it’s not like he took a huge discount. Anyway, I respect Lee for signing where he truly wishes to be and I cannot be more satisfied with the way the Yankees handled the situation. Brian Cashman did everything in his power to acquire Lee, it just didn’t work out.
With Lee off the board, people wondered where the Yankees would turn. Many assumed that the Yankees might go after Zack Greinke, a move I would have supported. However, this morning we learned that the Royals have traded Greinke to the Brewers. Before I put the Greinke discussion to rest, I would like to address those who believe he would not be able to handle New York. We know Greinke has a social anxiety disorder, but that’s pretty much all we know about him. To assume that he would not be able to handle the pressure of New York is ridiculous, for all we know he could strive in New York. Considering that we know nothing about him, the odds that he would perform better under pressure are the same that he would cave under pressure. For more on this issue, I highly encourage you to read Joe Posnanski’s piece of Greinke. It is a must read.
Anyway, with both Lee and Greinke off the board, where should the Yankees turn next? After studying the market, it seems that there are really very little viable external options left. Of course things could change and someone like Felix Hernandez or Matt Cain could become available, but what are the odds of that happening? Right now, I would want the Yankees to stay patient, they have specific needs and there is no reason to waste resources on players who don’t quite fit their needs. Of course, that may be hard to digest considering that the rotation now consists of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, and Sergio Mitre. But remember, if Andy Pettitte re-signs with the team, the only difference between the opening day rotation of 2010 will being the subtraction of Javier Vazquez. There is no reason to panic, spring training is months away, things will change. As fans we need to remain patient and have trust in the team’s management, as hard as that can be for some.
Most of the baseball world expects Cliff Lee to soon decide where he wants to spend the rest of his career (most likely). It’s not a secret that the bidding for the lefty is between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees. While I don’t expect another team to land the lefty, can you imagine how shocked everyone would be if that happened? Anyway, if I had to guess, I think Lee will decide tomorrow (Monday) on where he wants to pitch, and although I am biased I expect that to be New York.
Feel free to use this post to discuss Cliff Lee and any other items relating to the Hot Stove.
In the past few days the Yankees have re-signed two career Yankees in Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.
Mariano was the first of the duo to re-join the Yankees by signing a 2 year contract worth $30 million. I cannot say I have any reason to complain about this contract, I think he can hold up for at least another two years and at $15 million per season this doesn’t seem like a gross overpay.
Derek Jeter and the Yankees agreed to a contract yesterday which is somewhat more complicated. The deal will pay him $51 million over the first three years of the contract ($17M per season), and then there is a player option for a fourth season. Since the option is a player option, this is basically a four-year deal. The option is apparently worth $8M and Jeter can earn an additional $9M that year based on incentives. While this seems to be an unnecessary overpay (especially giving Jeter the 4th year), this deal could have been a lot worse, so I can’t say I’m overly upset.
- With Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera off the board, the Yankees can head into the winter meetings this Monday focussed on Cliff Lee and any other pursuits, knowing that there really is no rush to sign Andy Pettitte because he will either be going to the Yankees or retiring.
- Lance Berkman has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and will be playing left field. Yankee fans never really seemed to warm up to Lance, but I really liked him and although there was no real chance he would return to the Yankees, I’m kind of sad to see him gone. Good luck Berkman!
- People have been wondering what the chance is that the Yankees sign both Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. While Crawford would make the outfield defense otherworldly (assuming Swisher would be traded), I think signing the outfielder would be a misuse of resources.
- We recently heard that the Yankees had a trade set up to send Francisco Cervelli to the Dodgers in exchange for Russell Martin. However, it didn’t go through but now Martin is a free agent so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees go after Martin as a possible backup catcher. He would certainly be an upgrade over Cervelli.
- The Yankees have non-tendered Dustin Moseley and Alfredo Aceves. While the Moseley decision was not surprising, I was surprised that Aceves was non-tendered. I guess the Yankees are not confident in his health, especially after his recent bike-induced injury.
- Sergio Mitre has been re-signed and should serve as the long man and a spot starter.
- The Red Sox have agreed to a trade for Adrian Gonzales in exchange for three of their top prospects. The deal has not been completed yet and is waiting due to a physical and contract extension talks. I’ll analyze this deal further if the trade is finalized. Update 2:50 – According to Jon Heyman the Red Sox could not reach an extension deal with Gonzalez and the deal has fallen through. Still, I could see the Red Sox revisiting the trade.