While I have admired Brian Cashman's efforts to rebuild the farm system, I have been extremely rough on him as well. Yet today is not the day to trash Cash, especially when one considers that he reeled in two warm bodies for the likes of LaTroy Hawkins and Kyle Farnsworth. This coming off less than a week ago when Cashman fleeced the Pittsburgh Pirates, coming away with Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady.
Filling positions of need without making the farm system bleed, and mind you these were no salary dumps but legit players that other teams were targeting. The most incredible thing is these teams knew the Yankees due to injuries or ineffectiveness were desperate for and outfielder, lefty reliever and hitting catcher. And don't come whining baseball people, because it seems to me that the Mets got Johan, Angels got Tex and Brewers got Sabathia, for very little on the dollar. Of course when the Yankees pull off great deals, gun shy owners will always point to them as a scapegoat.
To Farnsworth's credit he was pitching better this season, given restored confidence by Joe Girardi. However last Friday night in Boston with two runners on and one out in the 8th when Girardi pulled Farnsworth for Mariano Rivera, the writing was on the wall. And to aquire Pudge Rodriguez, a Hall of Fame catcher who can hit better than anyone they've got at the catcher position on the present roster is a steal in two ways. First Pudge is a great all-around player, secondly this move eliminates the Yankees need to carry three catchers, thus opening up a roster spot for another bench player or more likely a reliever.
Speaking of relievers, Girardi who has brilliantly distributed innings among his staff will no doubt continue this "committee and Mo" approach as the Yankees hit the stretch run. The "8th inning guy" so to speak could be Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, David Robertson, Damaso Marte, or possibly recently promoted to Triple-A Mark Melancon who could be this year's version of Joba Chamberlain. The starting rotation could also be tweaked internally as well with Ian Kennedy and Chase Wright pitching well and Phil Hughes and (please dear God no!) Carl Pavano working back from injuries. Ultimately if the Yankees can get Chien-Ming Wang a couple of starts before October, they should be pretty well set, of course they still have to get there first.
Finally to end as an aside, perhaps I'm a bit superstitous but sometimes guys hit better in roles they're more comfortable in. Whether positionally or a spot in the batting order, some guys have their ticks. Hence it makes one wonder if after yesterday's action against Baltimore, the Yanks wouldn't be better off having Bobby Abreu DH and Xavier Nady play in RF. Abreu in limited time as a DH has ripped the cover off the ball and Nady who has primarily played in right for his career really came alive yesterday. Sometimes there are things you can't explain in baseball and maybe this is one of those things.
If Pudge Rodriguez does play well and is a huge part of a post-season run, it makes one wonder if the Yankees might look to groom Jorge Posada for 1st base, possibly re-sign Jason Giambi or Bobby Abreu for DH and trade the chronically injured Hideki Matsui. By the way given Matsui has a very big head and a penchant for knee injuries, does this make him the Japanese Barry Bonds?