One more thing to consider about the Yankees quiet this offseason: It could be that the players who seem to make sense are not legitimately attainable.
This morning, Brian Cashman told Wally Matthews that the trade market includes a few starters, but none that he believes will make the team significantly better. “Could I go out and get a starter? Yes, I could,” Cashman told ESPNNewYork. “But there’s just not much out there.”
It’s easy to dream up trade scenarios — I myself have written about the idea of trading for Fausto Carmona or Wandy Rodriguez and any number of unattainable pipe dreams — but cost matters, availability matters, and guys like Felix Hernandez and Josh Johnson do not seem realistic. Make up all the trade packages you want, it seems next to impossible that a young, non-Greinke ace will be traded. In Cashman’s words: “That ain’t happening.”
When Cashman speaks on the record, it’s always hard to know how much is reality and how much posturing. He’s indicated a willingness to stick with internal options, especially if Andy Pettitte comes back, but would he really stay internal with Sergio Mitre as his fifth starter and Ivan Nova his fourth? I find that hard to believe, but then again, even the thin free agent market could provide upgrades for the back of the rotation.
At the top though, it may be that Cashman is telling the truth and front-line starters are not likely to be moved at a reasonable cost. We’ve already learned that the Yankees cost for Zack Greinke would have included Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez and one of their top pitching prospects. That’s not surprising. It’s a higher price than the Brewers paid, but as I wrote yesterday, the Yankees don’t have the pieces to perfectly match what the Brewers offered. If they couldn’t match it, the Yankees would have to top it.
It might be frustrating, but building a team isn’t only about finding pieces, it’s about finding pieces that actually fit.