‘Hart of the Order’
By Sean Hartnett
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One by one, Brian Cashman crossed each targeted starting pitcher off his wish list.  With the exception of the returning Freddy Garcia, every option available to Cashman appeared to be a risk he wasn’t willing to take.

That doesn’t mean he won’t acquire a worthy arm to add to the Yankees’ rotation but rather that he’ll continue to wait patiently for the right opportunity to improve upon his current roster.

C.J. Wilson proved to be overpriced and probably prefers pitching in his laid-back home state of California with the Angels compared to the pressure-cooker atmosphere in the Bronx.  Mark Buehrle will turn 33 in March and will begin the first year of a four-year deal he signed with the Marlins.  Many teams including the Yankees were unwilling to go that length.

Yu Darvish is actually the biggest gamble of all.  The Rangers paid $51.7 million dollars for his posting fee alone.  Still smarting from the disastrous Kei Igawa signing, Cashman’s final bid for Darvish was just $15 million according to CBSSports’ Jon Heyman.

Meanwhile, many baseball analysts believe Huroki Kuroda will return to Japan if he doesn’t find the right deal in America.  Kuroda opted to stay with the Dodgers past the 2011 trade deadline instead of pushing for an opportunity to join a playoff bound team on the East Coast.  It remains to be seen whether he’ll consider signing for an Eastern contender such as the Yankees or Red Sox.

The Athletics’ asking price for Gio Gonzalez was far too steep.  Cashman desperately clung onto top prospects Manny Banuelos, Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances as Gonzalez was eventually dealt to the Nationals.  He’s prepared to keep the same resolve when it comes to less-attractive trading block starter Matt Garza of the Cubs.

Roy Oswalt’s age and back issues are a deterrent and Edwin Jackson’s contract demands are sky-high.  It appears that Cashman is willing to go into the 2012 season without giving the Yankees’ roster a major facelift.

His only notable additions so far this offseason are former Red Sox left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima and utility man Jayson Nix.  There’s a fair chance that neither will make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster.

With Eduardo Nunez penciled-in as New York’s top utility infielder and Eric Chavez likely to return, there’s no place for Nix.  Okajima must prove he has something left in the tank in Spring Training after spending most of 2011 as a Red Sox minor leaguer.

The impact of Chavez’s probable re-signing is also felt on Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.  After winning the $2 million dollar bid for Nakajima’s rights, Cashman will allow the player to return to the Seibu Lions after contract talks went nowhere and the Yankees will recoup their posting fee.

Andruw Jones signed-on for another year to serve as a backup corner outfielder and part-time designated hitter.  Cashman opted to bring back Jones and picked up Nick Swisher’s $10.25 million dollar option for 2012.  A strong case could be made that Carlos Beltran or Michael Cuddyer would have served as an upgrade to the Yankees’ offense. Beltran and Cuddyer went on to sign for the Cardinals and Rockies respectively.

Cashman didn’t believe in giving either veteran a longer-term contract than Swisher who was a low-risk player to bring back for another year.  It’s hard to argue with Cashman’s logic.  This offseason hasn’t presented the Yankees with clear ‘no-brainer options’ via trade or free agency.

Is less more for the Yankees going into 2012?  Share your opinions below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.

Comments (6)
  1. arizona today says:

    Brian Cashman’s Yanks have lost 9 of their last 15 playoff series. Why is he still GM?

    And if Jim Leyland had managed in the other dugout last October, the Yanks’ dugout, they — not Detroit — would have taken on Texas in the ALCS.

    Bottom line: Yankees’ leadership is inadequate.

    1. Dino Manelli says:

      That is positively idiotic,

  2. arizona today says:

    Sept. 15th headline on WFAN: Brian Cashman is still pondering an upgrade to Yankees’ starting rotation and bench. “He’s working the phones 24/7,” Randy Levine said. Yanks reportedly considered signing Roy Hobbs, who played high school ball 17 years ago, along with Jim Bouton, who is considering a comeback at age 68. Danny Tartabull Jr., now up to 265 pounds, and Butch Wynegar, president of his grandson’s soccer league, are being offered minor league contracts by Cashman.

    Bottom line: Cashman is the Maytag repairman. He’s not getting anything done to improve the ball club. LA, Boston and Tampa Bay … and maybe a few others … are passing the Yanks by.

  3. Anthony Flynn says:

    The real issues for the 2012 Yankees are the declines of Derek Jeter and
    (especially)Alex Rodriguez. Swisher, Jones, and Burnett are terribly overvalued and should be considered liabilities in the post season. As now constituted, this team seems doomed to fail again in the playoffs…

  4. Greg Rienzi says:

    I agree with most of these non-moves. I like holding onto the top prospects, and I hate giving any more long-term deals to players past their prime… However, I would have tried harder to shed AJ from the roster, and I would have looked for a fourth outfielder to rest the starters and push Swisher for playing time. I don’t think Andruw Jones is that go. He strike out way too much, has major holes in his swing, and is not what he was defensively… I only hope that the Yankees stick to their guns and actually PLAY these prospects, meaning giving Montero plenty of ABs and giving the Killer B’s an actual shot at winning a rotation spot.

  5. A "Going Postal" Worker says:

    We’ve had Kei Igawa, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, a (sometimes-reliable) Burnett, and we let Cliff Lee slip away – all of this is weighted more heavily against generally good moves (CC, Pettite, etc.).

    I’m glad to see that Cashman is FINALLY “using his noggin” when he thinks about starting pitching.

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