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Monday, February 27, 2017

Yankees signed Tanaka for 2014, then passed on Lester, Scherzer, Price.

Yankee general manager Brian Cashman is timid. And with good reason, given his record.

Masahiro Tanaka
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Right • Throws: Right
6-3, 215 lb
Team: New York Yankees
Born: November 1, 1988 (Age: 28 and 118 days)
January 22, 2014: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Yankees.

YearAgeTmSalarySrvTmSourcesNotes/Other Sources
201425New York Yankees$22,000,0000.000contracts
201526New York Yankees$22,000,0001.000contracts
201627New York Yankees$22,000,0002.000contracts
201728New York Yankees$22,000,0003.000may opt out of contract after 2017 season
201829New York Yankees$22,000,000
201930New York Yankees$22,000,000
202031New York Yankees$23,000,000
Earliest Free Agent: 2020
Career to date (may be incomplete)$66,000,000Does not include future salaries ($89M)

2014-2016: 490 innings, 132 ERA+, SO9 8.2

Good signing by Cashman, right? For perspective this immediately followed three disastrous Cashman signings: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran. All four put the Yankees over the team salary cap, triggering continued "luxury tax" payments and costing the Yankees $100 million in the succeeding years. Oh, well. The three year plan to get under the cap in 2014 was not that serious according to Hal Steinbrenner after the fact.

Over the weekend MLB Network had a one hour program on the ten best starting pitchers today. Jon Lester and Max Scherzer were prominently high on all panelist lists. David Price was number ten on the list of Bill James, who has worked for the Red Sox for about a decade. All three were free agents after the Yankees had signed Tanaka. Lester and Price are lefties, which the Yankees desperately need because they spent one billion dollars on a new ballpark shaped for Babe Ruth who died in 1948.

Jon Lester
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Left • Throws: Left
6-4, 240 lb
Team: Chicago Cubs
Born: January 7, 1984 (Age: 33 and 51 days)

July 31, 2014: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Jonny Gomes and cash to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes and 2015 competitive balance round B pick.
October 30, 2014: Granted Free Agency.
December 15, 2014: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.

201531Chicago Cubs$20,000,0008.075contracts
201632Chicago Cubs$25,000,0009.075contracts
201733Chicago Cubs$25,000,00010.075
201834Chicago Cubs$27,500,000
201935Chicago Cubs$27,500,000
202036Chicago Cubs$20,000,000
202137Chicago Cubs*$25,000,000$25M Team Option, $10M Buyout option guaranteed with 200 innings in 2020 or 400 IP in 2019-20
Earliest Free Agent: 2021

2015-2016 with Cubs: 408 innings, 135 ERA+, SO9 8.9. Oh, and Lester pitched well in the tournament for the Cubs, especially in 2016 when they won.

Good signing, right? But by Theo Epstein for the Cubs, not by Brian Cashman for the Yankees. Epstein makes his mistakes, too:

DJ LeMahieu
Positions: Second Baseman and Third Baseman

December 8, 2011: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Tyler Colvin to the Colorado Rockies for Casey Weathers (minors) and Ian Stewart.
2016: .348 BA, highest in National Conference

Worse free agent signing: Jayson Heyward or Jacoby Ellsbury? Monday, January 30, 2017

Yes, it was Epstein, not Cashman, who signed Heyward. Of course, Cashman didn't sign any free agents that off season. And the Cubs won despite managing by Joe Maddon so bad in the finals that it appeared that the fix was in. Had the Cubs lost, both Epstein and Maddon would have been vilified. Luck absolves.

Max Scherzer
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Right • Throws: Right
6-3, 210 lb
Team: Washington Nationals
Born: July 27, 1984 (Age: 32 and 215 days)

October 30, 2014: Granted Free Agency.
January 21, 2015: Signed as a Free Agent with the Washington Nationals.

201530Washington Nationals$17,142,0006.079contracts
201631Washington Nationals$22,143,0007.079contracts
201732Washington Nationals$22,143,0008.079
201833Washington Nationals$22,143,000
201934Washington Nationals$42,143,000portion of salary deferred through 2028
202035Washington Nationals$42,143,000portion of salary deferred through 2028
202136Washington Nationals$42,143,000portion of salary deferred through 2028
Earliest Free Agent: 2022

Wow, serious buck on the back end. How has he done?

2015-2016 with Washington: 457 innings, 141 ERA+, SO9 11.0

Another good signing, not even counting (multiple and near miss no-hitters) and huge SO games.

David Price
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Left • Throws: Left
6-5, 215 lb
Team: Boston Red Sox
Born: August 26, 1985 (Age: 31 and 185 days)
November 2, 2015: Granted Free Agency.
December 4, 2015: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

201630Boston Red Sox$30,000,0006.164contracts
201731Boston Red Sox$30,000,0007.164
201832Boston Red Sox$30,000,000Can opt out of contract following 2018 season
201933Boston Red Sox$31,000,000
202034Boston Red Sox$32,000,000
202135Boston Red Sox$32,000,000
202236Boston Red Sox$32,000,000
Earliest Free Agent: 2023

Gee, more serious bucks. Duh. Free agents! And so old. More duh. That's when they become free agents. Price has pitched only one season for the Red Sox and it's considered a disappointment. Price continued his inexplicable poor performance in the tournament, sort if like Clayton Kershaw.

2016: 230 innings, 114 ERA+, SO9 8.9

It's not just that Brian Cashman did not sign any of these three for the Yankees. Cashman didn't even try. And with tacit approval of Hal Steinbrenner, media, fans, who are seized with indecision, especially about pitchers. There's three ways to get starting pitchers:
- draft
- free agent
- trade.

But fans don't want to do any. Don't want to waste a number one pick on a pitcher who might become injured. See "Bregman" post below. And, oh, those free agents ... so much uncertainty. Trade? What trade those invaluable "prospects" that Cashman has been piling up. Also, see "Bregman" post below.

Here's a trade Cashman wouldn't or couldn't pull off because he didn't have the real deal prospect that the other team wanted.

Chris Sale
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Left • Throws: Left
6-6, 180 lb
Born: March 30, 1989 (Age: 27 and 334 days)
December 6, 2016: Traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Boston Red Sox for Luis Alexander Basabe (minors), Victor Diaz (minors), Michael Kopech (minors) and Yoan Moncada.

201728Boston Red Sox$12,000,0006.061
201829Boston Red Sox*$12,500,000$12.5M Team Option, $1M Buyout
201930Boston Red Sox*$13,500,000$13.5M Team Option, $1M Buyout
Earliest Free Agent: 2018

Gee, he's affordable. And good, too. Moncado is the key prospect traded for Sale. Supposedly the White Sox wanted Andrew Benintendi.  See "Bregman" post below. The Yankees don't have a prospect as desirable as Moncado, much less Benintendi. Both may fail but right now they have value.

Could Brian Cashman have acquired Alex Bregman or equivalent? Sunday, January 22, 2017

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