Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Going On, and it May Hurt the Yanks

There really hasn’t been much to report or comment on lately, which is what I’m going to comment on. No major signings, no major official offers, nothing. The rumor mill has been spinning and things don’t sound so hot for the Yankees right now. The Angels are rumored to be close to offering CC Sabathia a big time deal that comes close to the Yankees offer. From what I’ve read, the Yankees are going to have to significantly beat another teams offer to lure CC away from a team that’s higher on his list of preferences.

The Yankees’ rumored offers for AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe were apparently quite off the mark, with one wanting a longer deal and the other wanting more money.

Several teams have expressed interest in Mark Texiera and there certainly will be competition for his services. Boston’s interest is just a show and a ploy to drive up the price for the Yankees, but rumors of interest from other teams is more likely accurate.

Andy Pettitte has talked to the Dodgers, most likely trying to keep his options open if the Yankees don’t sign him and also in an effort to light a fire under the Yankees.

Once the dominos start to fall, there will be a rapid succession of signings. Most of the big deals probably center around CC Sabathia, as he is likely the biggest target out there. After he signs, the others will quickly follow.  If the Yankees sign him, they won’t go all in on Texiera and will try to get the best deal out of either Burnett or Lowe. If CC goes somewhere else, the Yankees will make Texiera a big offer and will turn up the heat trying to sign both Lowe and Burnett (or possibly making a trade for Peavey if he’s still available).

What could set things off kilter would be a team making a surprisingly big offer to someone like Burnett or Lowe before CC signs. The Yanks won’t sign anyone until CC is off the table and other clubs scrambling to get the remaining free agent pitchers available could up their offers quickly and the Yanks could get left out in the cold.

I think the prudent strategy would be to aggressively go after the players you want all at once, and do it before too many other teams get close to a deal. I’m a big fan of setting deadlines and letting players know they have a finite period of time to accept an offer (a reasonable period like a week or so). If a player says no, move on to the next target. The Yankees desperately need starting pitching, as do a few other teams. There are a few big names available this year, but the supply is far behind the demand.

I don’t expect any big deals today, and with Thanksgiving tomorrow, things will slow down for a while but I expect the first big deal to go down before Christmas.

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