The GM/Owners Meetings ended yesterday with a predictable lack of player movement. Marlon Byrd and the Phillies set a pretty high price for offensive power, but otherwise, there weren’t many significant moves. The market is still being defined, and teams are still getting a feel for what’s out there and what it’s going to cost. As for the Yankees specifically, we didn’t learn much about them that we didn’t already suspect. The information coming out of Orlando only solidified what we thought we knew. Here are five things we can be, perhaps, more sure of today than a week ago.
1. Robinson Cano is expected to sign with the highest bidder
Of course Cano is going to sign with the highest bidder! That’s not news. The only relevant thing about this bit of information — the fact the Yankees said repeatedly that Cano will follow the money — is that the Yankees are fully aware that’s the case. They realize they can’t lure Cano back to the Bronx with promises of tradition and championships and a spot in Monument Park. Those things are nice, but the Yankees are going to have to pay if they want to re-sign Cano. They might be talking about cutting payroll, but they still seem to realize that money matters.
2. Two starting pitchers, not one
The term “400 innings” was thrown around a few times. It was Brian Cashman’s way of quantifying what the Yankees need for their rotation. And 400 innings means adding at least two starting pitchers, not one. It’s become pretty clear that the Yankees want to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda and plan to join the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka (assuming he becomes available). But if one of those falls through, it sounds like the Yankees fully expect to target a different rotation addition. They don’t want to count on more than one of David Phelps, Adam Warren and Michael Pineda.
3. Dave Robertson is hardly a slam dunk for the closer role
This one is kind of like the Cano situation: It makes obvious sense, but there’s some clarity that comes from the Yankees discussing it and leaving no doubt. Robertson is the obvious internal candidate for the ninth inning. There’s really no one else who makes even remote sense for an audition. But the Yankees are not banking on Robertson taking over, and even if he does, they recognize it will mean losing their setup man. If Robertson replaces Rivera, the Yankees will need someone to replace Robertson.
4. The wide net is back in action
Each winter, the Yankees seem to be connected — at one point or another — to nearly every big name free agent on the market. They’re also connected to any trade possibility makes remote sense. Cashman likes to say he casts a wide net, looking into each and every possibility that’s out there, and that certainly seems to be the case this winter. Cashman acknowledged meeting with several key agents, and the Yankees have already been tied to all sort of potential acquisitions. This offseason could go any number of directions, and the Yankees seem to be laying the groundwork for all of them.
5. Francisco Cervelli is coming back
Cashman specifically said that Cervelli will be tendered a contract for 2014. We have to assume there’s practically zero trade value there, which means we also have to assume Cervelli will be back with the Yankees in some capacity. For now, he’s the presumptive starting catcher. If the Yankees add someone, he’ll compete with Austin Romine for the backup job. By saying Cervelli is getting a contract offer, the Yankees have left wide open the possibility of non-tendering Chris Stewart.
Associated Press photo