While the Yankees continue the Cliff Lee vigil, it seems every other team in baseball is making moves:
- The Red Sox re-signed Jason Varitek, and the remain active on a number of relievers plus catcher Russell Martin.
- The Orioles have redesigned the left side of their infield.
- While the Rays haven't held on to any of their big names, they're doing their best to move on.
- The Blue Jays have been linked to Martin and Zach Greinke.
Frankly, I'm not terribly thrilled to see the Yanks' offseason hinge so completely on one signing. It's not because of what I think about Cliff Lee, but because of what I think of our favorite loudmouth: Hank Steinbrenner.
Unlike Cashman, Hank seems like the kind of guy who is swayed by the media narrative, and if Lee signs with the Rangers or a mystery team, the narrative is certain to be "The Yankees failed to get their man." If this puts pressure on Cashman to spend too much on importing a starter, or to commit too much to a mediocre free agent, this quickly becomes the worst case scenario. There are a few pitchers rumored to be available that I would trade for at the right price. There aren't really any free agent starters (after Lee) who have a chance of fulfilling the contract they'd likely sign.
But I worry about narratives, because it's all to easy to fall into their spell for the people who spend their time listen, reading, and writing about the Yankees and baseball (myself included). Pavano was a pansy, RJ was lousy in pinstripes, Greinke only had one good year. There is evidence to disprove each of those positions, but I hear them all on a regular basis. Sometimes, when I'm upset or in a hurry, it's hard to resist the lure of a strong narrative. But that doesn't make it any more true.
The success or failure of the Yankees' offseason does not depend on the signing of any one player. Say it three times, and click your heels together.