This hasn't been your father's baseball offseason.
Rest easy, there have still been plenty of big trades, gigantic contracts and the like around the big leagues. It's just that none of the biggest transactions have involved the Yankees as anything other than interested parties left with nothing but a thank you for coming when the music stopped. That's mighty unusual and, if you believe Brian Cashman, things are staying that way.
Cashman spoke with Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York and let him know that he's prepared to go into the 2011 season with a starting rotation made up of the players currently on the roster. If Andy Pettitte should come back, that's swell but Cashman claims that there aren't any moves out there worth making.
"I'm not saying I want to do it," Cashman said, "but I may have to do it. ... Could I go out and get a starter? Yes, I could. But there's just not much out there. I have March, April, May, June and July, really, to come up with someone. ... We have 10 prospects starting from Double-A on up that our organization can choose from."
The knee-jerk reaction to this is that Cashman is making the same mistake he made in 2008 when he counted on Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy to fill out the rotation of a team that fell short of the playoffs. One might wonder what's so bad about that given the way things have turned out for those two pitchers, but that's not the problem. The problem with this is that they are thinking about the wrong season.
Think about 2006, which was the year Cashman swore up and down that Bubba Crosby would be a starting outfielder for the Yankees come April. Then, a few days into January, the Yankees signed Johnny Damon and Crosby went back to his rightful place on the bench. Letting the public know that you're desperate isn't the path to making a winning deal for your franchise, so take everything Cashman says with a grain of salt.
Reserve a few for his discussions of Jesus Montero's future with the organization. Cashman told Matthews that signing Russell Martin doesn't make the team more likely to part ways with one of baseball's top prospects in a deal for pitching help, but that's about as believeable as your average Michael Bay movie script. If Montero is so valuable that there isn't a pitcher you'd deal him for, why in the world did you sign a catcher to take time away from him?
You did it so that someone comes to you and offers you something. The Yankees might not want to chase deals all over the league, but the idea that they are closed to the notion of exploring them is a bit insulting to anyone who has lived through a single baseball season. Maybe that deal never materializes, but don't believe for a second that Cashman is just sitting back and declaring himself out of the running for deals that will make the team better.