For part 2, I’ll look at 2009. The Yanks obviously went on to win the World Series that year, but as with any other season the GM had his share of good and bad moves. Again, I’m only going to look at major moves, ones involving a player that spent time on the 25 man roster. I won’t look at retaining their existing players as free agents since I want to see if the changes he made worked out or not, but I will look at free agents they let walk, such as Bobby Abreu from this year. I’ll do a quick analysis of each move, and assess a grade of net plus or net minus for the franchise which will largely be based on WAR. I’ll total up each at the end of the post, and give a final total at the end of part 5.
October 30, 2008
Bobby Abreu granted Free Agency.
Controversial move at the time for the popular Abreu, but Cashman wanted to get younger and more athletic after 2008. Was replaced with Nick Swisher, who at the time was coming off a horrible year (1.2 WAR) in CHI. After coming off a down year (1.7 WAR) in 2008 for the Yanks, Abreu had a bounce back season in 2009 for the Angels (2.9 WAR) but Yankee fans barely noticed. Swisher posted a 3.3 WAR in 2009, and an even better 4.1 WAR in 2010. All totaled, Abreu has been worth 5.1 wins since leaving while Swisher has been worth 7.4, and Nick appears to be entering his prime years.
November 13, 2008
One of Brian’s all time best deals, buying low on a good player coming off a bad year in a bad situation with the White Sox and their manager. We just went over how good Swisher has been, so lets look at it from the White Sox perspective. They got one year of Wilson Betemit at -0.6 WAR. Nunez got a look with the Sox in 2009 and pitched to a 9.53 ERA in 7 games, and followed that up pitching to a 5.48 ERA last year pitching for their Charlotte AAA affiliate. Marquez has posted ERAs of 9.85 (11 games) in 2009 and 4.48 ERA in 2010 in AAA. Kenny Williams pretty much got nothing, except maybe to get his manager to stop complaining about a good player.
December 12, 2008
Signed A.J. Burnett as a free agent.
The ever-enigmatic AJ had a solid season for the Yanks in 2009, posting a 3.4 WAR and pretty much earning his 16.5 mil salary, give or take a mil. But he was awful in 2010, worth just 1.3 WAR and on the days he was off, he didn’t give his team much of a chance to win. The Yanks didn’t feel they had an in house replacement ready to take his place after the Hughes-IPK experience in April and May of 2008. The main FA alternative was Derek Lowe, and given the age on the Yanks left side of the infield and the fact Lowe doesn’t miss many bats, I would have made the same move. But AJ barely earned 1/3 of his 16.5 mil salary last year, and his fastball velocity has been dropping steadily for the past 3 seasons. When you win a WS and go deep into the playoffs the following year, its hard to argue the move was a total negative, but AJ’s contributions didn’t help last year. Net minus, mostly on the fact he hasn’t earned his salary.
December 20, 2008
Signed CC Sabathia as a free agent.
This one’s a no-brainer. Can you imagine the Yanks without CC? Worth 11.4 WAR and has even outproduced his hefty salary.
January 6, 2009
Signed Angel Berroa as a free agent.
Depth move with the 2003 Rookie of the Year that didn’t work out. Moves like this are why Brian prefers in house options like Ramiro Pena, who at least won’t complain about playing time.
January 6, 2009
Signed Mark Teixeira as a free agent.
Replaced the aging, addled Jason Giambi and more than doubled Jason’s 2.5 WAR with a 5.4 WAR in 2009. Had a down year in 2010, but is another no-brainer. Has roughly earned his high salary, give or take a mil.
February 13, 2009
Signed Brett Tomko as a free agent.
Low risk, back of the bullpen depth option that paid off nicely for the Yanks, pitching to a 0.64 ERA in 10 games. Wanted to be released to get more playing time, the Yanks obliged and was awful for the A’s. Brian just got lucky on the sample size here, but hey, it counts.
August 7, 2009 (Standings)
Pitched nicely for the Yanks, even if his peripherals didn’t look great. Pitching Coach Dave Eiland was said to have tweaked his slider, maybe it was that or just another case of Brian getting lucky on the statistical noise chart. But again, it counts.