Monday, January 8, 2018


Photo: New York Daily News
Okay, maybe not a blunder but it certainly hasn't been a "win" for the Yankees when it comes to recent free agent signings. It's certainly not exciting but it is accurate. Think about it...

The last time the Yankees decided to spend big money on starting pitching was the year we last won the World Series. Not to say that we need to spend big again on a starter or two to win, but we haven't made a big splash on a starter since.

Now do you miss the days of not only CC Sabathia but AJ Burnett? Yeah, there is a name you haven't heard in a while.

The Yankees haven't signed any big name starters since and have since signed one or two guys that they expected to make significant contributions to the rotation. Going back this far is going to sound like a history lesson but maybe it's an important one. Maybe the Yankees are about to do it again?

2009-10: Yankees acquire Javier Vazquez (again)
The Yankees reunited with Vazquez for a second time with Boone Logan after trading with the Braves. The Yankees were getting him back when his stock was high. Some baseball experts considered him to be one of the best starters in the game and was coming off one of his best seasons. It didn't continue with the Yankees though. I still remember the bad appearances, the 10-10 record with the bullpen demotion and the eventual release after the season ended.

2010-11: Yankees lose out on Cliff Lee
And now it doesn't seem so bad. At the time it sucked but the Yankees signed veteran pitchers Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to minor league contracts but it paid off big. At the time Ivan Nova was a rookie and had an impressive year. The Yankees got results out of three unexpected arms that helped them win the division.

Photo: New York Daily News
2012-13: Aces and failures
Yankee fans were happy to have Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda return but even back then the Yankees were trying to get under the luxury tax so their pitching additions stopped there and so did their postseason success. The lack of depth with CC's struggles and Phil Hughes failures ultimately made the miss the postseason for the first time in five years. Pitching wins (or looses) ballgames. You can never have enough pitching.....


2015-16: A risky move
With no rotation improvements the Yankees try to bolster the bullpen to make up for their starting weakness. The idea of a super bullpen of Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller didn't work as hoped though. The lackluster performances of Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino's sophomore slump doomed the Yankees. The offense didn't score enough runs so the super bullpen fell flat and Chapman was traded. The Yankees also sat home in October for the third time in four years.

Photo: Getty Images
2016-17: Saving it for the end
Chapman came back to the Yankees as a free agent but once again the Yankees made improvements to the bullpen while the starting rotation was still in need of help. Finally in July they traded for Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia which helped the Yankees get within one game of a World Series berth.

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Garcia will be long gone, but Gray is back to see what this season will bring. If history teaches us anything it's that if we don't land a starter before spring training kicks off it's "normal" for the Yankees and it's not time to panic. There's still time though. Just like Cashman says the market could change and a deal can still be done.

Anything is possible, but if a deal doesn't happen the Yankees still have a long season and a lot of pieces to pull off a successful season. History doesn't scare me. We've still got this.

--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj

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