Baseball’s annual meeting of GMs begins today, and Brian Cashman is sure to be one of the featured players in whatever drama is to unfold—and let’s remember, there was a time when he wasn’t even given permission to attend these meetings. “We’re ready and we’re prepared to hit the ground running,” says Cash. Things sure have changed, and for the better. Two deals, for Sheff and Wright, are already in the books. The Yankee pen is pretty much set, as follows:
There’s also help in the minors, with T.J. Beam and J. Brent Cox. The Yanks still need a backup for Jorge (Girardi!) and a first baseman, but the obvious priority is starting pitching. Here’s what they’ve got now:
-Moose (almost sure to return for 2 years)
-Johnson (back problems)
That’s two “sure” things, two we-don’t-knows, and one empty slot. (Which might have been Cory Lidle’s–but probably not.) Assuming the Yanks don’t win the Matsuzaka sweepstakes, we assume they’ll go hard for lefty innings eater Barry Zito. With Johnson beginning the season on the DL, the rotation at the begining of the year would be, one presumes:
The Yanks have plenty of good options in their minor league system for that fifth slot, specifically:
And that’s not counting Phil Hughes, who can be brought along slowly, possibly for a mid-season callup. Pavano, of course, remains a big question mark. As does the Unit. But the Yankees would seem to be in good shape—if they can pull in Zito, or if not him, Jason Schmidt.