The 2011 offseason is looking very similar to the 2010 offseason for the New York Yankees. The one major difference is that this year they haven't even made a play for a major free agent.
In 2010 the Yankees came away with nothing because they put all their proverbial eggs in Cliff Lee's basket. Once Lee decided to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies the Yankees were left with scraps.
In 2011 all has been quiet. The only thing the Yankees have accomplished is resigning C.C. Sabathia. While keeping the team's ace was huge, they haven't done anything to improve the rotation. In fact they resigned Freddy Garcia, which I think is a mistake. They got lucky with Garcia this season, but they really shouldn't have pressed their luck trying to squeeze another decent season out of him.
On Friday, December 9 general manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees are open for business. Well it would have been nice if business had opened up before the winter meetings had ended. Now I didn't want the Yankees to go after Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols or even C.J. Wilson, but I thought they might have been in the running for Mark Buehrle. Instead the Miami Marlins got Buehrle and others, while the Los Angeles Angels got Pujols and Wilson. With those signings came the big front page headlines, while the Yankees didn't even make the paper.
The one hope I have is that Cashman may go after Japanese phenom Yu Darvish. The 25-year-old righty has had an earned run average of less than 2.00 in each of the last four seasons in Japan. He has also performed well in the World Baseball Classic, which just adds to his value.
Darvish's Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, posted the pitcher last week. That means MLB teams have four business days to decide if they want to make a bid for rights to deal with the pitcher. As an example the Boston Red Sox ponied up $51 million in posting fees for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006. Boston then signed Matsuzaka to a six-year contract worth $52 million.
The thing I like about Darvish is that it only costs the Yankees money. They won't have to relinquish draft picks or prospects, just the greenbacks. There is no doubt the Yankees can afford money.
So the time for Cashman to step up is now. Although the Yankees track record with Japanese pitchers is suspect, see Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, this kid seems different to me. The rotation needs help and the team needs to get younger, a Darvish deal would address both needs. Yu Darvish and Yankee pinstripes might be the perfect combination and make the offseason a success.
Darren Pare is a third generation Yankees fan. The unique thing is that he lives in the middle of Red Sox nation, Maine, and has for all his life and that gives him a different perspective. You can follow him on Twitter @dpare71.
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