About the Off-Season: My Head is Spinning
By Tim Kabel
January 11, 2024
We are getting closer to the beginning of Spring Training and the Yankees still have not signed any major free agents. I'm confident that they will but now that the holidays are over and teams are focused on finalizing their rosters, the Yankees need to make some moves soon unless they want to be left standing in this bizarre game of musical chairs. Trying to follow the moves that they may make Is a dizzying process.
We all know that the Yankees wanted to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto and spent a lot of time and energy pursuing him. They made him an offer which was a solid one but, he chose to play for the Dodgers. That's fine. Since then, the Yankees have been linked to essentially every pitcher who is available, thought to be available. or wished to be available.
At various points the Yankees have been supposedly in on free agents Shota Imanaga, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and now Marcus Stroman. Initially, it was reported that Stroman wanted to play for the Yankees and told them that, but the Yankees told him "Thanks but no thanks''. Now it appears they want him. So, do they, or don't they?
There are possible trades with the White Sox, Marlins, Guardians, and Brewers. At any given point on any given day, you can read an article either confirming or denying the Yankees' interest in any one of several pitchers. On the same day, you could read an article stating the Yankees are signing a pitcher and another article saying they will not sign that same pitcher.
In order to follow the off-season plans for the Yankees, particularly when it comes to pitching, you need a roadmap, a compass and a GPS system. I'm very confident the Yankees will sign a pitcher over the next week or so. I just can't tell you which pitcher it will be. It is like following a trail of breadcrumbs outside of an exploded bread factory during a windstorm. There are so many conflicting, contradictory and confusing stories that it is impossible to keep track of what the Yankees are actually doing.
I don't necessarily blame the Yankees and in particular, Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman for the Yankees flitting from pitcher to pitcher like a bee gathering pollen. It seems to be the same with other teams as well. The Mets have been linked to almost every pitcher the Yankees have been linked to. As we are closing in on Spring Training, the frenzy will intensify.
One thing to consider is that the Yankees were prepared to spend 300 million dollars on Yamamoto. If they signed Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell, It would be for significantly less money than what was offered to Yamamoto. It's conceivable the Yankees could sign either Snell or Montgomery and Stroman for less money than they would have spent on Yamamoto by himself. The fact that the Yankees had money to spend on Yamamoto indicates that they have money to spend on someone else or multiple someones elses. So far, the Yankees have added players who could be most kindly be described as depth pieces. They are there to fill out the roster and possibly to play some type of minor role in the 2024 season. None of the players they have signed are likely to be major parts of a championship run. Tanner Tully does not make me want to gather up ticker tape.
Trying to follow the stories and determine which pitcher the Yankees will sign is like the old, greased pig contests they used to have at country fairs. They would take a small pig and grease it up and watch a group of fairgoers try to catch the pig. The more intense the competition, the faster the pig ran. The faster the pig ran, the harder it was to catch. It was a very frustrating process for everyone, including the pig. I think the best thing to do regarding which players, and in particular pitchers, the Yankees will sign is to take a step back and be patient.
It's perfectly fine to read the stories but, don't treat them as gospel. If we follow all the maneuvering too closely, we will get lost, frustrated, and dizzy. The Yankees will sign someone, or they will make a trade for someone. They may even acquire two pitchers. Let's just wait and see what happens.