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Monday, January 21, 2013

THE YANKEES FRONT OFFICE IS PLACING THEIR BETS

This past week, the Yankees made some significant deals, and may be tipping their hand on their strategy. I think we've all been a little frustrated at the lack of movement by the front office to either acquire talent or to retain existing talent. But they did sign contracts with Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, avoiding arbitration in both cases (Read HERE and HERE.) At the same time, they let some popular players go (Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez) and they failed to even pursue a bunch of big-name talent (Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, Torii Hunter, and others). Is Brian Cashman letting the team fall apart?

I don't think so. It looks to me like the Yankees are picking their spots. If I use their recent roster moves as indications, it appears that they're targeting a few specific areas. They really like young talented pitchers who are prime to take the next step.
So they made sure that they nailed down the Hughes and Chamberlain, avoided arbitration, and kept the development going of talent that should positively impact the Yankees for the next decade. I know there are question marks around these guys, but there's some serious talent in the both of them. Hughes had 16 wins with as many quality starts in 2012, despite a rough start in April. At age 26, assuming he continues to develop his skills, he has tremendous upside potential. Joba has the same kind of potential.

I think there's a decent chance that we might see the 2008 Joba again, and soon. If you look at last year, he had a rough first month after his return from the DL. But after September 9th, he was stellar, striking out 13 in 10+ innings while not allowing a run. That doesn't include four postseason appearances where he didn't allow a run. This is where the Yankees need to be investing their money.

There is a limited number of players for which the Yankees are willing to open their wallets, but it makes sense that they would do this for their core team. As of this writing, the Yankees are projected to pay 70% of their budget to their top 7 players. For all other spots, they're clearly looking for average or above-average players at economy prices. Gone are the days of wild spending, trying to acquire an All-Star at every position. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. We've had the largest team budget in the majors, but we've won the Series one time in the last 10 years. Clearly spending everywhere doesn't win you a championship, but I think smart spending in key spots increases the odds. Certainly this strategy brings a set of problems with it - not knowing what the catcher spot looks like, not having a solid DH, etc. But I think the strategy makes sense, and maximizes our odds for winning while avoiding financial regrets down the road.




--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row


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