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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yankee fans are experiencing the nuclear winter of Brian Cashman, and still waiting for the bomb to hit

I cannot remember a Yankee winter like this, when the team has been so intricately fine-tuned by a general manager. There were the bombshell deals - the Rickie Henderson trade(s), and for Tino, and for Paul O'Neill - but this has been a series of micro-tweaks, each difficult to analyze. Shawn Kelley to San Diego for Johnny Barbato? WTF? After mourning the loss of Kelley's horse head mask, how do you rate that deal? I sure donno.

But after all the roster adjustments, three big bombs are still to go off. How close they land to New York will determine how this winter is remembered.

The first is Max Scherzer. As we all know, Cashman's insistence that the Yankees won't bid on Scherzer is as adamant as GOP support for the XL pipeline. Let's take him on his word. Still, somebody will sign Scherzer, and if it happens to be Baltimore, Boston or even Toronto... paragraphs will get sticky among the Gammonites. (This would also affect us if the Mets signed him, but I don't think that's likely.)

If O's signed Scherzer,  one could imagine Boston - still reeling from the loss of Jon Lester - opening her purse for James "Big Game" Shields - Bomb Number 2. Again, the Yankees keep saying "not interested." But would they let the AL East improve so dramatically without a counter move? And why haven't these guys signed yet? Somebody must think the market remains volatile. Some big spender - the Dodgers, Redsocks, Giants, somebody - must still be breathing heavy on the phone line.

Finally, there is Bomb Number 3: Yoan Moncata, and here is where everything gets crazy. Because it might be a dud. Moncata is the 19-year-old Cuban infielder, who gets better with every speculative blogger post on the Internet. By now, he's evolved into a combination of Joe Morgan and Ozzie Smith. Realistically, we haven't a clue if he'll be any good, and by the time the bidding ends, he certainly won't be a bargain. But if a rival signs Scherzer or Shields, they presumably would drop out of the market for Moncata... so his price would fall. Right? Aw, who knows?  

For the last month, we have watched Brian Cashman play mind games with A-Rod and fine-tune the Yankee engine. Yesterday, he bought a 28-year-old Dellin Betances clone named Chris Martin from Colorado. (Immediately, the Scranton Railriders started sewing his 6'8" jersey.) But considering Cashman's penchant for turnovers, Martin could be replaced next week by another Johnny Barbato - and everybody will be saying, 'Hm-mm.'

This is Cashman's winter. But the big booms are yet to be heard. And they will determine whether Cashman's winter wins the Golden Snowball.

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