Joel Sherman has a great read about the Brian Cashman's potential master plan in building the Yanks, and how a CC signing looks to be at the top of the wish-list. Sherman points out that Cashman's plan over the past few years has centered upon this up-coming off season.
With over $85 million coming off the books this offseason, $113 total over the next 2 and the Yanks set to open a $200 trillion new stadium in '09, the 2008 offseason has been one that Cashman has been looking forward to for a couple of years.
As we have warned previously, all indications have been that the plan called for 2008 to be a rebuilding year in the Bronx. A look at the lack of 2007 free agent signings and the composition of our opening day rotation shows that Cashman wanted to use this year as a way to get the roster purged of dead weight, and also as a way to get the young pitchers the experience they needed to be top of the rotation studs.
Sherman writes that there are 4 elements leading to a very active off season this year, headed by the CC signing -
1. $87 million in older/useless players coming off the books. Giambi, Moose, Pettitte in the older column, and Hawkins and Pavano in the useless column. Even if we decide to keep some combination of Giambi/Pettitte/Moose, it will be for far less than each make this year.
2. Giving the young arms a year of on-the-job learning should have made their performances next year even better. Sherman points out that a rotation of Sabathia, Pettitte, Joba, Wang and Hughes would mean that the Yanks are running a quality arm out each and every day.
3. The build-up of young arms will allow the Yanks to make a trade for a significant young, athletic position player. Sherman gives names like Maybin, Brantley and Gamel as possibilities. As Kennedy, Melancon, Horne, Whelan, Sanchez, Ohlendorf, Marquez, Coke, Kontos, Wordekemper, Cox, Phillips, McCutchen, White, Igawa and Karstens will all be either major league ready or very close, Cash will have a bevy of arms to dangle in potential trades.
4. While cost is always a consideration, a CC signing in the off season would cost only dollars and a draft pick. While the dollar cost would be considerable, the package pales in comparison to what the Yanks would have had to give up for Santana (dollars AND talent).
While Sherman says that none of the officials he has spoken with thinks the Yanks will be in active in the market for position free agents, I think Texiera will be high on the Yanks' radar.
Sacrificing 2008 for a long-term roster of young, athletic position players, and a rotation that features a quality arm in all 5 spots makes a lot of sense. Being only 4 games out of the wild card on July 8th means that the re-building can accompany a playoff appearance too.