Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yanks ransack Winter Meetings

The Yankees remind me right now of one of those movies where the bad guy is sucking power from somewhere (a scientist's brain, the city's electric current) and while the source gets weaker, the bad guy keeps on getting stronger, laughing maniacally along the way.

The Yankees are, of course, the bad guy ... familiar thespian ground for the Bombers. And the rest of baseball's recession-conscious organizations are helpless to stop them from taking over the Winter Meetings. You see that when they bid $60 million more than the next suitor to lock down CC Sabathia, and you're seeing it again with the reported fifth year (are you kidding me?) that has been offered A.J. "Don't Call Me Carl" Burnett.

Brian Cashman is not messing around here. He has a fortune in which to rebuild the starting rotation, and he isn't taking any chances. If he gets his way, Phil Hughes will have gone from No. 4 starter in the Bronx to Double-A ace waiting for someone to get injured on the parent club ... all in the space of eight months.

Burnett scares the hell out of me, but on paper it would further fortify a rotation that has come a long way since the end of the 2008 campaign:

September '08
RHP Mike Mussina
LHP Andy Pettitte
RHP Carl Pavano
RHP Sidney Ponson
RHP Alfredo Aceves

December '08
LHP CC Sabathia
RHP Chien-Ming Wang
RHP A.J. Burnett
RHP Joba Chamberlain
LHP Andy Pettitte

As for Sabathia, the Yankees are catching a lot of flak for their supposed over-pursuit of the left-hander, but the fact is that the guy did have reservations about playing in New York and Cashman did a great job alleviating them (adding the extra year was a nice bullet to have in the chamber as well). The pursuit and eventual securing of Sabathia showed a world of improvement over the laughingstock that was the Johan Santana dance. Remember Hank Steinbrenner spewing forth those hollow deadlines? It made the franchise look foolish. This time Hank -- perhaps forcibly -- was completely out of play, allowing Cash to do his job. It was a delicate process, and the GM got the job done.

The Winter Meetings end today, and you get the feeling the Yanks are far from done. Stay tuned.

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