Brian Cashman is taking his sweet time shopping for free agents and possible trades to improve the New York Yankees. And why not? The off-season is just getting started.
For the Yankees, there is no surefire target on the free agent market. The best free agents out there Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, won't be Yankee targets because they both play first base, a position the Yankees are all set at with Mark Teixeira. I know some Yankee fans would love to get Pujols or Fielder for the middle of a lineup that had trouble scoring runs in key spots in the 2011 division series. But it’s not going to happen, with Teixeira having five more years left on his rich deal and the Yankees needing to keep that designated hitter spot open for a rapidly aging and fragile Alex Rodriguez.
Cashman & Co are looking for starting pitching and, unlike last year, there is no Cliff Lee-type available on the free-agent market. The best pitchers may be Japanese import Yu Darvish, who I expect the Yankees to view cautiously after the Kei Igawa disaster, and CJ Wilson, who proved this postseason that he is not an ace and may not even be a legitimate #2 starter although he certainly will want to be paid that way.
Again, Yankee fans are probably hoping Cashman can swing a trade for Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, but his general manager has repeatedly said he is unavailable and I take him at his word. It would be a great shame if the Mariners traded their young stud, who already has a Cy Young on his resume, and is signed to a very reasonable contract.
Cashman has plenty of time to assess the possibilities and make the best deal or signing he can for the Yankees. Who knows, he may even go the same route he did last offseason, bargain shopping for a pitcher such as Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia. That worked out pretty well for him, didn’t it?