This offseason seems to have dragged on forever, but it is finally starting to wind down as pitchers and catchers report to spring training in eight days. It may be snowing in New York, but it's sunny in Tampa and players have already started working out at the team's spring training complex.
Technically, the offseason is not over, but it feels like it is for the Yankees. Just a few weeks ago, Brian Cashman stated that he "[didn't] anticipate anything developing between now and pitchers and catchers showing up in spring training." So far, Cashman has stuck to his word as the Yankees have not done anything too meaningful since they traded for Aroldis Chapman at the end of December. Here's a look at some of the Yankees' best and worst moves over the offseason.
Best offseason move: Acquiring Starlin Castro
The Yankees really struggled to find a decent replacement for Robinson Cano after he left following the 2013 season. First, they signed Brian Roberts, then they traded for Stephen Drew. Somehow, Drew managed to hold onto the role of Yankees' second baseman for a little over one full season, despite the fact that he had a terrible time at the plate. He did not play well after being traded to the team towards the end of 2014, but the Yankees signed him to a one-year deal anyway. He finished the 2015 season batting just .201/.271/.381 and thankfully the Yankees had no interest in signing him again after he left via free agency.
The market was not exactly stacked with second baseman (the best being Ben Zobrist), and with the Yankees insisting that they didn't want to spend money, the trade with the Cubs came about. The trade for Castro was very similar to the Yankees' trade for Didi Gregorius last year as the Yankees have made an effort to build a younger team.
Castro might not be the best hitter out there, but he's only 25 and even though he declined offensively in 2015, he still put together a better season than Drew. Yes, the bar is low. What's even better is that Castro won't become a free agent until 2020, and the team only had to give up Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan in the deal.
Most controversial offseason move: Acquiring Aroldis Chapman
This is certainly the most controversial trade in recent history. In October of last year, police arrived to Chapman's house to investigate a possible domestic incident. Prosecutors ultimately did not file charges against him, but MLB is still investigating and it has not been decided if his actions will result in a suspension.
The Reds had nearly traded Chapman to the Dodgers when this story came to light and the Dodgers pulled out of the deal. Several weeks later, Cashman traded a handful of prospects including Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda to the Reds in exchange for Chapman.
The trade still makes me feel queasy, but from a purely baseball perspective the Yankees acquired one of the best closers at a very low cost. He is all set to be the Yankees' 2016 closer, and he will become a free agent at the end of the season, unless he ends up with a long enough suspension (more than 45 days) in which case he would be with the Yankees for an additional year.
Worst offseason move: Trading Justin Wilson to the Tigers
Worst might be too strong of a word here, but this move was one of the more baffling ones. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Yankees announced that they had traded Justin Wilson to the Tigers in exchange for minor league pitchers Chad Green and Luis Cessa. Following that trade, Cashman said that he was not done making moves, but it was several more weeks before the Yankees added Chapman to the bullpen. This trade also happened the day after the Yankees sent Warren to the Cubs.
Of course there is no way to predict how Wilson will pitch this season, but the lefty was one of the better relievers in the Yankees' bullpen not named Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller last year. It just seems strange that the team would trade Wilson for a pair of minor league starters when there was no real need to do so. Without Wilson and Warren, the Yankees will have to rely even more heavily on the Triple-A pitchers who shuffled between Scranton and the Bronx all year.
What do you think the best and worst moves of the offseason have been?