Brian Cashman Keeps it Simple

The plan for 2012 looks a lot like the plan for 2011

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    The two biggest issues of the Yankee offseason are already off the table.

    Just as everyone expected, Brian Cashman signed on for three more years as the man in charge of the Yankees on Tuesday.

    He wisely waited to announce his own deal until after the CC Sabathia contract was dealt with before announcing his own return.

    That meant there wouldn't be a million unanswerable questions about that topic and it also meant that he was standing in front of the world with the most important job of the offseason already done.

    So it turned into part contract announcement and part victory lap, something that you don't normally get to take this early in an offseason when you run the Yankees. It also signaled that this is going to be a pretty quiet offseason around the team's hot stove.

    Sabathia and Cashman are back, Nick Swisher's option's been picked up and many of the remaining big issues have to do with in-house things like Phil Hughes' status and the development of other young pitchers.

    The Yankees aren't going to be involved with big free agents like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Jonathan Papelbon which is probably making tabloid writers quake in their boots about the long, cold winter to come. 

    They shouldn't be too worried. A quiet offseason doesn't mean a totally uneventful one and Cashman was pretty clear about where the focus will be the next few months.

    "Pitching, pitching, pitching."

    Yes, that's all there is to worry about in the Bronx, no matter how much some people would like to believe the five games against the Tigers will lead to some huge addition to an offense that doesn't need it. The Yankees, like just about every team, could use a little more help on the mound.

    That should be enough to generate some grist for the mill about C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish, the two biggest names on the free agent market. Neither of those names feel particularly realistic at this point, which is why veterans like Mark Buehrle and Roy Oswalt are going to come up as well.

    Buehrle is particularly interesting. His record of success in the American League and the fact that he throws with his left hand are two big reasons why he'd fit well in the Yankee rotation behind Sabathia.

    They are also reasons why plenty of other teams are going to be in the running for his services, something that could serve to drive his price up on the market. If we learned one thing from Cashman's work last offseason and around the trade deadline, it is that he isn't going to pay more than his perceived value for a player.

    So that might mean this year's versions of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, if not a return from Garcia and/or Colon, instead of a splashy new name. Cashman's got no reason to doubt the way he did business last season, making it hard to imagine that he's going to do something all that different this time around.

    It may be a bit boring, especially for those of us raised on George Steinbrenner and a philosophy where the Yankees had to dominate every minute of every day, but there's not much reason to break something that doesn't need any fixing. The Yankees need pitching and Cashman will get them pitching, even if it doesn't generate much in the way of banner headlines.

    Vanilla: The new Yankee way.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.