Winter Meetings 2012: New York Yankees need to change philosophy
Don McPeak-USA Today Sports
The New York Yankees are at the Winter Meetings, the hot stove, the time of year to get some Christmas presents for the fans and the team. Well if that was the case, Brian Cashman would be playing the role of the Grinch in this Yankees Christmas Story. Deals and rumors are flying around like winds in a tornado, and yes the Yankees are involved, but on the minus side of this equation.
The Yankees went out and signed former San Francisco Giants catcher Eli Whiteside a week ago to a deal worth 625K, only 200K in guaranteed money, for 2013 and then designated the catcher for assignment two days later to make room for the signing of Andy Pettitte.
The 33 year-old Whiteside is no Thurman Munson, but he was a catcher on a team that needs some experience behind the plate. It seemed like a pretty good move at the time, well it wasn’t. As if the Toronto Blue Jays needed to slam their foot on the neck of the Yankees and the AL East more, they signed Whiteside to a deal Monday. The Whiteside deal is one of the smallest the Blue Jays will probably make this offseason, but again, they got the Yankees.
For a Yankees team that needs a catcher, they aren’t acting very concerned and not trying all that hard to get or keep one. As the veteran catchers are dropping off the market like flies, the Yankees are making no moves and are actually heading backwards.
There was talent in the Bronx at the catching position last year and normally losing Whiteside and Russell Martin wouldn’t be such a big deal; but it is now, so why sign Whiteside at all if the team was just going to let him get away in a week?
Getting the payroll down is one thing but to literally not try at all to fill a huge position on your team, where you currently lack experience, is completely ridiculous. Why is Cashman even at the Winter Meetings then?
According to Cashman, “We’ve never been a big Winter Meetings doer. We’re always trying to do, but we’ve never really matched up too much in history here.”
Well at least the Yankees are being consistent, but these aren’t the Yankees Cashman is used to having back home in the Bronx, there is no core; there are big injuries to top players and impact players coming off big injuries. The AL East hasn’t, and will never be a joke and seems to be getting better each year, as the Yankees just get older.
Cashman does have an eye for that gem that others have passed on. A player he can get cheap and slide them into the Yankee pinstripes and they either revive their careers or start ones. So for all Yankee fans, there is still hope.
As hard as it may be, Yankee nation needs to have faith in Cashman and his process. He has won a lot since becoming the GM in New York. It is only the second day, but when the Yankees are quiet the rest of the league gets nervous, because it is usually the calm before the storm.
If the Yankees have a shot to get this 31 year-old, who is looking for a three-year deal, it would explain the sudden lack of interest in Ichiro Suzuki and it would be a step in the right direction for the Yankees to sure up one of the spots left they need to field a solid club in 2013.
Ross hit .267 with 22 home runs and 81 RBI’s for Boston in 2012, and if any Yankee fans watched the Red Sox games last year, they know Ross can play and is more of a contact hitter than Nick Swisher with more power than Suzuki, so if this is remotely true, it’s a good sign.
The Yankees may be quiet, but they are the Yankees and watching these catchers slip by, it is hard to fathom Cashman doesn’t have an “ace” up his sleeve. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Cashman pulled out a huge deal for a top notch catcher out of nowhere and blindsided all of MLB.
For all the fans upset so far it may be ok, because it’s just a little too quiet in the Bronx.