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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Head for high ground, world coming to end: Madden, Cashman, make sense

The blustery, bombastic Billy Madden is one of the last of the mastodons, a full-boar Daily News baseball columnist and - too often for his own good - a voice-distorted mouthpiece for the House of Steinbrenner.

Whenever the Evil Empire is on the verge of flinging itself - and the Yankee fan base - over the ledge, and signing, say, a Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal, we're likely to read a column from Madden saying, What the Yankees need is someone like Carlos Beltran, who could probably be had for a three-year deal! In other words, read him and weep.

Today's column is a sign - first in a while - that the Yankees actually have a plan: Grow the bullpen, and the rest will follow.

[T]he vast majority of starting pitchers now are out of the games after six innings and/or 100 pitches, and if you don’t have the relievers who can consistently get you those last nine outs, you’re sunk.
This is why re-signing David Robertson is Cashman’s absolute top priority and why, if Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy get above-market, four-year offers elsewhere, the Yankees will simply move on.
Thus, at last we are told the Yankees are not planning the madness of signing Chase Headley or Brandon McCarthy to long deals. Because by year three, each will likely be another slowly draining toilet. As for the infield?

[T]here are people in Cashman’s high command who feel it would not be such a bad thing to turn second base into a spring training competition between Robert Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. Meanwhile, with or without Headley, Cashman knows he’s going to need a backup first baseman but that could be anyone, from free agent Mike Carp to unsung, non-roster system guy Kyle Roller, who hit 26 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this past season. 

I didn't believe the Yankees knew there was a Kyle Roller. Who knows? They might even use their farm system.  But beware...

If the Red Sox are able to lure Jon Lester back to Fenway and sign Sandoval, well, that changes the whole dynamic of the division, not to mention Cashman’s vision of squeezing out a division title with another patchwork team in transition in anticipation of the long-awaited arrival of some legitimate position player prospects — right fielder Aaron Judge and first baseman Greg Bird — in 2016. 

In other words, BEVARE! If the Redsocks strike, the Yankee future could go up in smoke. So long, Refsnyder, Judge and Bird... hello, Tulo?

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