It has been a quiet offseason by the Yankees’ standards (outside of CC Sabathia’s large extension), and the natives are getting restless. Many Yankee fans are uncomfortable with the idea of the Yankees beginning the season with a 5-man rotation of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, AJ Burnett, and Phil Hughes, and understandably so. It’s a rotation with a legitimate ace and a young up-and-comer, but also with a lot of question marks. There have been many questions as to why the Yankees have apparently shown little interest in available starters such as Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda, or Roy Oswalt. Rumors of the Yankees running up against a budget limit have led to accusations that the team, with a payroll in excess of $200 million, has gotten cheap at a time of sky-high revenues.
It is worthy of note, however, that although the Yankees have not (as far as we know) made a strong offer to any of the Jackson/Kuroda/Oswalt trio, they are still on the market. This is indicative of two things: that the market of interested teams is likely drying up, and that nobody has been willing to meet their contract demands. Sooner or later something will have to give, otherwise these talented pitchers could find themselves without a team come spring training. Per a recent tweet from Buster Olney, all 3 pitchers are beginning to drop their pricetags, perhaps to a point that the Yankees might be interested.
Like most of the other teams shopping for pitching, the Yankees have been unimpressed with the potential cost of the remaining available starters, considering none of the 3 would be a certain #3. However, with Oswalt’s contract demands dropping into the $8 million per year range (per Olney), I would think the Yankees would have a little more interest. Same with Kuroda, who offers more certainty at a slightly higher pricetage ($10-11 million). Edwin Jackson is reportedly dropping his price as well, though considering that he was recently looking for a 5-year deal, the Yankees are not likely to be interested.
Despite reported recent flirtations with Jackson, I imagine the Yankees are looking for a pitcher on a 1-year deal to allow for flexibility to integrate young pitchers and be active in the (currently projected) strong 2013 pitching market (Hamels, Cain, Greinke, etc.). Oswalt at $10-11 million and Kuroda at $12-14 million may have been too high price to pay given the caliber of pitcher involved. As the prices continue to drop, however, perhaps they will approach a number that the Yankees are comfortable with. I don’t see Jackson taking anything less than a 3-year deal at this juncture, but if the Yankees could somehow get him to take a 1-year deal I would be all for it.
By waiting the market out, as the Yankees have so far, they might be able to snag a relative bargain (since as we all know, the price of pitching is too damn high). It is certainly frustrating to see your favorite team do nothing while rivals such as the Angels are spending big and frontline starters like Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez are traded, but I am confident that the Yankees know what they are doing. I would love to see an upgrade to the rotation (plus dumping of AJ Burnett and eating a lot of salary), but I think the Yankees could be ready to go to war with their current rotation. I have been hoping they would bring Bartolo Colon back after last year’s strong performance, but until today I have heard no rumors of any team being interested in him (reportedly the D’Backs are). By being patient, I am hopeful that the Yankees will end up with the player they wanted at a price they are comfortable with.
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