In this morning’s Pinch Hitter post, Andrew looked at the non-trades that – in retrospect – the Yankees are happy to have never completed. Losing Mariano Rivera before he was The Greatest? Giving up Robinson Cano before he stepped on a big league diamond? Dealing Phil Hughes for a broken down Johan Santana?
Andrew’s right: Sometimes it really is better to sit back and do nothing.
This winter, the Yankees did a lot of sitting back. Aside from an early extension for CC Sabathia and a rotation-changing Friday the 13th, the Yankees were conservative. They were exactly what Brian Cashman said they would be (though few people believed him when he said it).
After passing on trade opportunities for Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez, the Yankees found the deal they wanted for Michael Pineda. After passing on C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle, the Yankees agreed to terms with Hiroki Kuroda. In the short term, the Yankees seem to have few regrets about the pitching deals that never happened, because they seem happy with the ones that did.
But there are two sides to this winter. While the Yankees focused on improving pitching staff, they neglected their offense. It was with good reason – this lineup has already proven it can score runs – but now that they’re trying to round out the bench and fill the DH spot, will the Yankees regret being so passive in going after a hitter?
For the amount they spent on Kuroda, the Yankees could have signed Carlos Pena to be their DH and Jeff Keppinger to be their second utility man, while still having about a million bucks leftover. Given an overflowing rotation, would they rather have this alternative? I’m not sure they would, but in theory, it would have been an option.
Heading into the final week before spring training, there are still possibilities out there. The Yankees are still looking to trade A.J. Burnett, and there are still plenty of left-handed hitters on the free agent market. The winter isn’t over just yet, but the Yankees have clear set their priorities, picked their battles and – for better or worse – let a few options slip quietly away.
Associated Press photo