It appears that the Yankees arent wasting any time spending that money they saved by not signing Cliff Lee today by signing Russell Martin and Mark Prior. Martin is a former all star catcher that has been plagued by injury the last couple of seasons but is healthy now and could be used in a couple of different ways. 1. He could compete for the starting job with Montero and Cervelli in spring training or 2. He could be the starting catcher and Montero could be traded as part of a package for a top flight pitcher. Most likely it will be a competition in spring training which I think he will win If healthy. In 2007 Martain batted .293 with 19 HR and 87 RBI. Martain also stole 27 bases, this is something rare for a catcher.
The other deal was for Former Chicago Cub Mark Prior who was destined for stardom before injuries took him out of the game. Prior has not pitched in the Majors since 2006 and will be reunited with former Cub now Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothchild. It’s a minor league deal that is only 750,000 if he makes it to the big leagues and could make an additional 750,000 in incentives. It’s a low risk type move for the Yankees and may have a high potential for reward if he can return to pre injury form. He seems healthy now and he is only 30 years old. Prior holds a career MLB record of 42-29 with an ERA of 3.51. Im not holding my breath but what a story if he can make it back. I think the Yankees may make a couple more small pitching moves before it’s all said and done. Cashman is known for being able to catch lightning in a bottle. Maybe Chin Ming Wang is worth another look if we are going to take on some rehab cases to minor league deals. However it is speculated that Wang may be looking for a major league deal and the Rangers may be checking on him.
What the Yankees should do is work on strengthening their bull pen. As long as you have Mariano Rivera as your closer you will have a better bull pen than anyone else in the AL East. I think the Yankees are keeping their fingers crossed that they can lure Kerry Wood back as the set up man even if it means paying him closer money. He would be joining an already tough bull pen that includes Joba Chamberlain , Damaso Marte, Boone Logan, Sergio Mitre, and David Robertson amongst others who will be trying to make the club such as Royce Ring. The Other thing the Yankees will be hoping for is that Andy Pettitte comes back for one more year. Pettitte was awesome last season with a record of 11-3 with an ERA of 3.28. assuming that Pettitte returns the Yankees will essentially have the same line up that won them 95 games and carried them to game six of the ALCS so we should not be panicking.
Yes the Red Sox have made some moves signing Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez that instantly make them a more dangerous team than the one who failed to make the playoffs last season. However I still feel that the Yankees match up well against them and that the balance of the rivalry will be restored in the AL East. The days of the Rays having the best team in the east are over. Its going to be the way that god intended it to be. A war between the Yankees and the Red Sox that will go down to the final game of the final series to determine the best in the American league.
By not signing Lee the Yankees don’t have all their eggs in one basket and may be able to do more than if they had put all that money into a player that would have been 38 at the end of the deal. I said it before it’s a blessing.