Yankees: Sometimes It's the Moves You Don't Make that Count
Considering what the past has shown us regarding deals that either fell through or didn't come to fruition, it's safe to say that if the Yankees had pulled the trigger in the 2007 Johan Santana trade and acquired the best pitcher of the decade, we would more than likely still be wondering what we're going to do to win No. 27.
Consider the following: The Twins were known to be asking for Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and at least two more mid-level prospects, after initially wanting New York to include Joba Chamberlain or Ian Kennedy in the above package, as well. Considering the money we would've spent on extending Johan Santana, it's safe to say we wouldn't have been in a position to land one Carsten Charles Sabathia, while possibly also losing out on A.J. Burnett and Mark Texiera.
In '09, the Yanks received huge contributions, not only from their big free agent signings, but also from the prospects they never let go of. Phil Hughes thrived in the bullpen—solidifying the bridge from middle relief to Mo and Joba Chamberlain and winning nine games while being lights out in the playoffs. Melky Cabrera brought in 68 runs with his bat and saved a few more with his glove, all while coming through with some timely hitting when we needed it most.
I won't really touch on what Tex, C.C. and A.J. did, but let's just say they certainly thrived in the Bronx in '09—contributing 30+ wins and a second place finish in the AL MVP voting.
The reason I bring up the past is that it relates directly to the current situation in the Yankeeverse. They've flipped six prospects and turned over 20 percent of the roster of last year's championship team, and everybody seems to be in BUY BUY BUY mode—wanting us to trade players prone to being productive and successful in the Bronx in order to free up money to spend on huge free agent signings, like Matt Holliday or retaining Johnny Damon.
So let's take a look at it logically for a minute.
Matt Holliday isn't worth what hes going to command, and the difference in numbers and ability he will provide over Swisher is negligible.
The Yankees are at their projected budget of $200 million right now, give or take $2 mill. Trading Swish would free up $9 mill and give you another 90 RBI. So let's say you spend that $9 million on Damon—you're back to where you were in the budget. If you factor in the $2 mill or so that you'd presumably spend on whoever you got back for Swisher if you were able to unload him in a salary dump situation, and you're over budget again. This is all before you add Holliday for the at least the $15-17 million annually he'll likely command, and you've gotten rid of the younger, and just as capable Nick Swisher to sign an older, and less versatile DH/left fielder, and put yourself $15 mill over the budget.
Swisher is younger, more affordable, puts up just about the same numbers as Damon, and defends just as well as Damon does at this point in his career. Swisher can also play first base, and let's not forget his 0.00 ERA and 1K per innings pitched (ha ha). Either way, everybody needs to realize that Matt Holliday isn't going to be in navy blue pinstripes.
Although I'm not completely sold on any of the moves Cash has made this offseason, I think most will work out well.
However, consider the fact that the Yankees have already turned over 20 percent of their roster this offseason, and will likely lose a few more players. Why risk losing one of the more fun characters your team has for 10 more runs and 27 more RBI? Swisher had almost 30 more walks in 10 fewer at bats, and if he weren't at the bottom of the order, those 10 fewer runs scored wouldn't be there. Assuming you convince Holliday to sign at $15 mill annually, you're going to be paying $555,555 per RBI, compared to Swishers' $82,317 per RBI. According to fangraphs.com, Nick Swisher was worth $15.9 million this year, and projects to be worth $14.9 Million next year.
Like I've stated, I'm not convinced that any of the moves Cash has made this offseason are the right moves, but I think they're solid moves. I think Cash expected Matsui to wait a little longer before signing, and we were forced to settle for Nick Johnson. I loved the Javier Vasquez acquisition, as I don't believe they gave up too much, and he anchors their rotation with a solid, reliable starter in the fourth hole and lets Hughes or Chamberlain develop. I believe Curtis Granderson will be a great addition, but he is a player in decline and the Yankees lost a solid prospect for a guy that certainly fits more into the "win now" philosophy.
I'm ok with that philosophy, considering the Yankees won it all last year and it's not out of the realm of possibility that they'll pick up one or two more rings in the next four to five years, if they make the right moves. As history has shown us, it's not always the moves you make that pay off...it's sometimes the moves you don't make.
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