Winter Meetings Final Day: Youkilis, Cashman’s Authority

The Winter Meetings officially come to a close today, and as of now no shocking signings or trades have occurred. We’re still waiting for the ball to drop on free agency’s big tickets: Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton. Perhaps Justin Upton will finally be moved in the rumored multi-team trade that would land him in Texas and Asdrubal Cabrera in Arizona. The new big name (and I emphasize big name, as he’s declined sharply)  that has surfaced today is Michael Young, who may be dealt to Philly.

On to the Yanks: negotiations with Kevin Youkilis are crystalizing. He’s been offered a one-year, $12 million contract. However, he has multiple two-year offers between $16-18 million, and one of the competitors appears to be Cleveland, managed by Youkilis’ former manager, Terry Francona.

$12 million is an overpay by the Yankees for Youkilis, but they clearly are getting desperate given Eric Chavez’ departure and Jeff Keppinger joining the White Sox. To be frank, I’m not a fan of the move (and not because he played or Boston). He is injury prone, and poor defensively at third base. There’s no doubt he has a great eye at the plate, but his production has deteriorated. Perhaps he’s a bounce back candidate offensively given a BABIP .054 lower than his career norm, but he’ll have to stay healthy in 2013. As much as I dislike Mark Reynolds as a stop gap solution, he is better (at this stage of their careers), cheaper, younger, and healthier than Youkilis.

The most fascinating news Yankee-related today comes from the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Barbarisi. Brian Cashman’s hands were tied at the Winter Meetings: he was given no authority to offer contracts to any free agents this week. Obviously, if the Youkilis rumor is true and this story is valid, he either received approval or higher management superseded Cashman. This also may be why the Yanks lost out on Keppinger and Chavez.

As of now, there’s no reason not to believe Barbarisi’s story. It’s evident from the Yankees dealings (or lack there of) this week. We’re really starting to see 2014’s $189 million luxury tax threshold and potential loss of revenue sharing rebate rear its ugly head for the organization.

Playing devil’s advocate, Cashman has made stealth moves in the past. Let’s not forget the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda swap, that came out of nowhere. Maybe the front office has something up its sleeve. At this point, let’s hope so.

By Yunner [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

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