On the day he arrived in Orlando, Brian Cashman said not to expect much. The Yankees have big things to do this winter, but they weren’t going to get them done during the general managers’ meetings, and they weren’t going to get them done during the owners’ meetings. One small move. That’s all Cashman suggested, and that’s all that happened.
At least, that’s all that happened for the Yankees. Some other teams were busy, and some of the moves were interesting from the Yankees point of view.
John Buck’s three-year deal
Nine months ago he was non-tendered by the Royals. This week he signed a three-year, $18-million deal with the Marlins. The catcher position is a tricky one. Florida saw enough in Buck’s breakout season to commit to him. The Yankees catching position is in transition, but they have internal options coming in waves and don’t have to make a risky signing in the name of replacing Jorge Posada. By the way, if you don’t already, this might be a good time to appreciate just how long Posada has been one of the best catchers in the game.
Joaquin Benoit also got three years
Last year, the Tigers paid big money for Jose Valverde. This year, they gave $16.5 million to Benoit, who signed a minor league deal heading into the 2010 season. The Benoit contract speaks to the value of setup relievers. The eighth is a big-money inning, and if one of the Yankees young guys — Joba Chamberlain or Dave Robertson or any number of upper-level pitching prospects — could take that job and hold onto it, that would be a huge plus. Let’s not forget, not so long ago the Tigers seemed fairly set with Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney.
Jake Westbrook re-signed in St. Louis
And my friends back home were happy. As for the Yankees, I’m sure it was little more that white noise, some background move while they stay focused on the big Cliff Lee-shaped prize. The strange thing about the Yankees the pitching market is that it’s basically all or nothing. If they sign Lee, and Andy Pettitte comes back, then the Yankees rotation decisions are easy as could be. If not … well then this winter could get really interesting. The Yankees are hoping things like the Westbrook signing remain perfectly meaningless. If Lee goes else where, Ken Davidoff reports that Plan B involves signing Carl Crawford, then trading for pitching. Plan A is much less complicated.