Sorry to bum you guys out, but Joel Sherman thinks we should lower our sights as Yankee fans for this off season because he doesn’t think there will be much activity. He spoke to a highly placed Yankee official about their plans for this winter, and came away with the idea that they will bring the 2011 squad back pretty much intact, hoping to retain CC and otherwise doing little besides filling out the bench. He writes:
..I did not sense they had any real affinity for C.J. Wilson, even before his postseason record fell to 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA and 10 homers allowed in 40 innings. The valuation the Yankees see is a No. 3-4 starter, not a No. 1-2, and Wilson seems headed toward receiving more than A.J. Burnett’s five-year, $82.5 million contract
For those on the Matt Cain bandwagon, I heard the Giants have made it so clear they are not trading him that the Yankees have not asked about the righty in “years.” The A’s want a No. 1 starter return for Gio Gonzalez, and the Yankees don’t view him as an ace. John Danks took a step back this past year. Many key Yankee voices like Yu Darvish, but the internal sense is Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman are not going to authorize a big outlay after the Kei Igawa disaster and Daisuke Matsuzaka’s plummet for Boston.
Personally I’m not buying that the Yankees plan to stand pat, but I do think most of the player and availability assessments Sherman makes are spot-on. Sherman mentions in the article the Yankee official conceded that all of this goes out the window if CC bolts. But assuming Sabathia returns, the Yanks may not have any payroll space if they plan on maintaining something resembling their 2011 payroll. As RAB’s Mike Axisa pointed out earlier this week, they have an estimated 25M available if you keep last year’s 207 M payroll the same and don’t include Sabathia. CC earned 24M last year so…you can figure out the rest. That’s enough for CC and a bench.
But the Yankees go into every off season saying they plan to pare back payroll and have always wound up in the same 200-210 mil range for the past 4 seasons. I put this report in the same category as those, that of positioning themselves for the offseason. This winter figures to be less about free agents and more about trades, so the Yankee brass is taking a public ‘we’re happy where we are’ stance as a starting point to prospective negotiations. That tact has paid off for them in the past. Remember they didn’t actively pursue Swisher or Granderson, but when they became available they moved aggressively. I have no doubt they will do the same should a front line starter be dangled. We all know the 2012 FA list is strong, the White Sox have too many starters and that the big money starts kicking in this year for guys like King Felix, Josh Johnson and James Shields. Will one or more become available? Stay tuned…
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