MLB Free Agents 2012: Grading Brian Cashman's Offseason for New York Yankees

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IDecember 18, 2011

MLB Free Agents 2012: Grading Brian Cashman's Offseason for New York Yankees

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    There were certainly opportunities for New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to make moves to try and improve the team, but everything seemingly fell short.

    Whether it was because of too high a price or a lack of certainty, Cashman either passed on or was rejected with several moves he tried to make.

    Here's the grades for each move Cashman didn't make or was rejected from making thus far. Bear in mind, the offseason isn't over yet, so other things could happen.

    I'll also throw in the few moves he did make this offseason.

Freddy Garcia: B

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    If the best thing Cashman could do was to tighten up his rotation with Freddy Garcia, that isn't exactly an improvement from last season.

    Still, Cashman needed the assurance that he'd have a reliable starter in his rotation in the event that he couldn't improve the rotation. Therefore, Garcia proved to be a pretty important signing.

    I'm not ready to give him an "A" because he needed to make a more significant move then that, but he does get the "B" because of his foresight of nobody being available to add to the rotation.

    Without Garcia, the big picture of the Yanks pitching staff could look even worse.

CC Sabathia Extension: A

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    I would've given the "A+" had the Yanks not given CC Sabathia the extra year, but it wasn't a raise, really, so it isn't painful to swallow.

    Let's face it: The Yanks needed to make this move and it could prove to be the most important of the offseason. I expected Sabathia to want a significant raise with more years, but that didn't prove to be entirely true.

    No matter how you slice it, there was no way Cashman could let Sabathia walk and in the end, he didn't.

Mark Buehrle: D

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    It isn't clear if Mark Buehrle was even offered a contract by the Yankees, but it's safe to speculate Cashman was interested, given Buehrle was the most consistent, proven starter on the market.

    Still, in the end, Buehrle decided that the Miami Marlins were the right fit for him. The contract he received wasn't completely outrageous, garnering around $14.5 million per season in his four-year deal.

    For a reliable starter like Buehrle, that's not a bad price, but the Yankees were reportedly unwilling to give more than a two-year deal to the 32-year-old lefty (33 in March).

    I feel that was not a good move by Cashman, as he allowed arguably the best starter on the market to go while his own team's rotation is a mess. I commend him for restraint and worrying about getting stuck with a possibly older, ineffective Buehrle.

    That's why he doesn't get an "F."

C.J. Wilson: A+

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    When it was learned that the Yankees rejected a meeting with C.J. Wilson, I have to say I was very pleased to hear so.

    It was originally reported that the former Texas Rangers ace was looking for a six-year deal worth around $120 million, which would have been grossly overpaying. After all the talk, Wilson received a five-year, $77.5 million contract from the Los Angeles Angels, who were hell-bent on spending money.

    I felt Cashman made the right decision here and not only did he show restraint, he also showed the Yankees weren't going to be held up for a ridiculous contract because they have the money.

    Wilson just didn't have enough track record and has a terrible playoff record to be paid over $15 million per season. Not to mention he is already 31.

Letting Jorge Posada Walk: A+

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    As painful as it might be to know Jorge Posada will never play in pinstripes again, it was a vital move the Yankees needed to make.

    After posting a dismal season last year, Posada had clearly lost his step having the worst season of his career. The Bombers simply couldn't allow him to take up any more space on the roster, namely the DH spot, where top rookie Jesus Montero will be playing in 2012.

    Sometimes it's just time to move on and Cash knew exactly when that was with Posada.

Attempted Trade for Matt Cain: A+

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    The Yankees best attempt to land a quality, long-term solution at starting pitcher was when they tried to get Matt Cain in a trade with the San Francisco Giants.

    Not surprisingly, the Giants were unwilling to part with their second-best pitcher because they just don't have to right now. They still have the first half of the season to field more offers if they do plan on moving him before he becomes a free agent in 2013.

    San Fran might even extend him past this season, making it more unlikely he'll be available.

Not Pulling Trigger on Gio Gonzalez, John Danks Trades: A+

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    Any time you're dealing with Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, expect any trade talk to be impossible.

    Cashman inquired about Gio Gonzalez, the A's best starter, and in return was asked for a ridiculous package of prospects. Cash wisely turned it down, as Gonzalez isn't proven enough to surrender top young talent for.

    The A's wanted either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances, as well as Jesus Montero and top Class A prospect, Mason Williams.

    For John Danks, the Chicago White Sox wanted either Banuelos or Betances, and Montero as well. Not exactly an attractive deal considering Danks' 4.33 ERA in 2011.

    Clearly, both teams were trying to hold up the Yankees, but Cashman didn't bite and give up an unnecessary amount for two pitchers who weren't worth it.

Not Trading for Jair Jurrjens: B

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    With the Atlanta Braves dangling Jair Jurrjens this offseason, it seemed possible the Yankees would look to make a deal.

    Atlanta was interested in Eduardo Nunez and even reportedly inquired about the young shortstop. Even though the Yankees had what the Braves wanted, it still wasn't enough to get the deal done.

    It was also reported that the Braves wanted a Zack Greinke-type deal, full of prospects like the Kansas City Royals got in return.

    Just another team trying to hold the Yanks up for a ton of talent, thinking they were desperate for a starter. Guess not.

    With a ton of upside at only 25 years old, it seems the Yanks thought the better of the injury-prone right-hander who had missed several starts the past two seasons.

    That being said, the Yanks wouldn't have been on the hook for a long-term deal, as Jurrjens only had two years left on his current deal.

Not Posting Highest Bid for Yu Darvish: A

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    With the Toronto Blue Jays making an estimated bid around $40 to $50 million for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, the Yankees are all but out of the running for him.

    It's believed the Yankees made a "modest" bid, which certainly won't get it done against whatever the Blue Jays' big bid was.

    This was a smart move by Cashman not overpaying for Darvish. Had the bid been much lower and the Yanks lost, then he would've gotten a worse grade. But Darvish certainly wasn't worth that much, because there is no certainty what he will be in the MLB.

Attempted Trade of A.J. Burnett: C

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    It was nice that Cashman was shopping A.J. Burnett and you're probably wondering why he only gets a "C" for doing so.

    It's pretty simple: If Cashman thinks that picking up only $8 million of Burnett's remaining $33 million on his contract the next two seasons will be enough, he's got to be kidding.

    Burnett has been horrible the past two seasons, which makes it hard enough to trade him. On top of that, factor in that he is making way too much money and that makes it even more difficult.

    If Cashman wants to unload Burnett, he'll have to start the trade talks by offering to pick up half of his salary (roughly $16.5 million over the next two seasons). And that's a starting point.

    If he can come to terms with the fact that he needs to do that, then maybe the Yanks can rid themselves of Burnett.

Not Acting Desperately: A+

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    This was an easy one.

    There were several times this offseason when teams tried to hold the Yankees up for their best prospects as I outlined in the slide about Gonzalez and Danks.

    Despite the Yanks' bad starting rotation situation, Cashman didn't make any moves out of desperation, which is what his general manager counterparts were expecting him to do by making such outrageous demands.

    I think most Yankees fans—myself included—are happy to see that Cash won't sell his farm system soul for a pitcher who can't guarantee success in pinstripes.

    The Bombers have some of the best young talent in the league and thanks to patience, they still do. That's not to say if the right deal comes along they shouldn't pull the trigger, but it has to be for the likes of a Felix Hernandez or Matt Cain for me to be okay with the Yanks shipping out their best prospects.