Friday, December 7, 2012

Yankees turned off by pitiful free agent class

Brian Cashman is as candid as can be for a baseball general manager. But even I was startled by his honest assessment of this year’s free agent class, which has so far kept him on the sidelines.

“This is not a good strong, free agent class,” he said. “It’s actually a pitiful one to be quite honest.”

Cashman is blaming the lack of aggressiveness on the part of the New York Yankees on a weak slate of free agent options. And he’s right. When the best free agent available is an injury prone, drug addict in Josh Hamilton, there aren’t many good options. In previous years, that hardly would have mattered to George Steinbrenner, who always wanted to make a splash and show the world that he only cares about winning. He would have spent whatever was necessary to put Hamilton in pinstripes. But with the Boss long gone, these are different times for the Yankees and fiscal discipline will prevail over the desire to win the back page.  

The Yankees general manager is being cautious in signing players because he does not want to make the same mistake that he and the Yankees have made in the past in throwing tons of dough at a baseball player, only to find out that player wasn’t cut out for the New York spotlight. Strange as it may sound, he simply can’t afford to make those mistakes anymore due to Hal Steinbrenner’s payroll mandate. Rather than throwing his limited funds at a player he can’t be sure can perform under the intense pressure in New York, Cashman has focused on re-signing players he knows who can: Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda. It’s a wise approach and one that should serve the Yankees well, even in future years when the free agent choices get better.

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