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Staying the Course

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Today is December 15, 2009.  Pitchers and catchers report on February 17, 2010.  That's 2 months and 2 days, or 9 weeks and a day.  It is a long offseason.

Brian Cashman has kept his trigger finger under control so far this offseason, avoiding committing too much to any of the trades or free agents the Yankees have been linked to.

He's upgraded centerfield at the cost of a minor league centerfielder who needed another year of seasoning, a reliever who might not have made the team out of Spring Training, and a minor league starter who might have challenged for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Then, he returned the Yanks' key free agent at roughly the same cost as last season.

Now he's working on bringing in another pitcher to fight for that fifth spot.  While I doubt Cash will be willing to give Ben Sheets the same $12M contract Pettitte received, we have witnessed an impressive exercise in self control.  If Cashman thinks that Ben Sheets is the best fit for the Yankees' rotation, I trust his judgment.

Former Pirates closer Matt Capps is still listening to offers, though he'll probably want the future dollars that come with saves more than to be a part of the Bridge to Mo.

Super-subs Jerry Hairston Jr. and Mark DeRosa are both still available.  Hank Blalock probably wants a starting job, but if he'd come to sometimes play the field, sometimes DH, and sometimes PH, he's a strong candidate to rebound from his 2009 .250 BABIP (career .299).  Reed Johnson could backup any of the outfield spots, covering RF while Swisher serves as occasional 1B/DH.  If you want a pure DH, Jim Thome still has a great eye and a ton of power, and Nick Johnson is an OBP machine.

Plus Johnny Damon, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday are all still on the market.  Any one of them transforms the lineup from 'merely' best in the league to legendary.

Today is the 15th of December, and the Yankees have several ways to improve themselves.