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Yankees are focused on pitching, not Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder

Nov 1, 2011, 4:46 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has had a busy week, signing CC Sabathia to a contract extension and inking a three-year deal of his own to stay in New York.

Today he held court with the media and indicated pretty strongly that the Yankees won’t be pursuing Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder as free agents because they’re still focusing on adding more pitching even after locking up Sabathia long term:

Offense is not a problem with this club. Our main focus and effort is going to be try to reinforce the pitching rotation and bullpen and depth and insurance policies we would have. It is pitching, pitching, pitching. That will be the main thrust of this stuff.

This morning there was a report about the Yankees being interested in re-signing Freddy Garcia, but C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle also figure to be on their radar. Yu Darvish could be too, although Cashman hinted that Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa might make him a little more hesitant than most teams to pursue the highly touted Japanese ace.

  1. Ari Collins - Nov 1, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    “The Yankees are focused on an area of need, not positions that are already filled.”

    Fixed.

  2. marshmallowsnake - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Right…we have heard this before.

  3. halladaysbiceps - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    “It is pitching, pitching, pitching.” —- I heard this from my father so much growing up.

    Cashman is 100% correct. It’s always about pitching. Pitching, with a great offense, wins championships.

    • paperlions - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      Pitching with great offense wins championships? Does anyone else know about this?

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:14 PM

        Why not just say it, paper. It was a Captain Obvious statement. Cashman just said it as well. Anything else?

      • paperlions - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:20 PM

        It would have been to obvious to call you Captain Obvious :-)

      • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:21 PM

        Worked for the Phillies.

    • iagreebutyouarewrong - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:13 PM

      I just started a comment handle for you halladaysbiceps 4.20,you are without a doubt the Most aggravating douche on the Internets.I have been reading Craig for about 3 years now(or you quitting wordpress every so often or getting banned and I find you infuriating)and you have either a Really good point(or most likely an extremely bad one) and either you have clones to prove or disprove you are a clone,but dammit if I do not think you are a world class troll or the biggest, opinionated fuckstick who has NO grasp of reality whatsoever.Fuck you with a rusty rake you whiny little ass.Yes I WAS the guy that never bothered to sign up and ALWAYS down-voted you and I was mollified that others shot down everything you wrote,but lately I wonder if the other halladay was you in another guise.No I will not debate you as I have seen how you “DEBATE”so no buen pinche puta.

      • mmuzia - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:22 PM

        Whoa. Dude, it’s just the internet.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 1, 2011 at 9:18 PM

        “I just started a comment handle for you halladaysbiceps 4.20,you are without a doubt the Most aggravating douche on the Internets.”

        Aggravating douche? You are the biggest pussy commenter I have seen.

        Seriously, you can’t even put together one complete sentence.

        I laugh at you and your buddies. You can all suck my balls.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM

      …except for 2011 when the Cards ranked 8th in ERA and were hardly accused of great pitching in the postseason

  4. Graves - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    …so we should expect that both Prince and Albert will be donning pinstripes by week’s end, right?!

    • clydeserra - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:21 PM

      DO the Yankees have them in the can?

      • jimbo1949 - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:58 PM

        golf clap

  5. clydeserra - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Buerlhe won’t be able to park his truck though.

  6. bigharold - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    The Yankees are only interested in pitching? I think I’ve heard that song before.

    They didn’t need a SS in 2003 but it didn’t stop them from signing A-Rod. The Yankees didn’t seem interested in Mark Teixeira in 2008 either but it didn’t stop them from signing him. They didn’t need Soriano last year either but again it didn’t stop them from signing him despite the GMs publically stating that he specifically did want the guy.

    I don’t see the Yankees going after Fielder because he can either DH or play first. But I wouldn’t rule it out. Pujols on the other hand can play 1B, 3B or DH, he would seem a better fit if the Yankees were quietly shopping for a big bat.

    I’d like to see Pujols go back to the Card’s but if he hits FA, until he actually signs with a team other than the Yankees I wouldn’t count the Yankees out. Fielder would seem less likely but he’s a lot younger and until he signs elsewhere I wouldn’t count the Yankees out there either.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:14 PM

      I’d really be shocked if Pujols could still play third base with any kind of regularity. He’s been able to avoid elbow surgery for quite some time now only because first base rarely requires him to throw the ball, and as we saw with Kevin Youkilis this year, just because you used to play a good third and spent some time as a very good first baseman doesn’t mean you can transition back across the diamond. Finally, why would Pujols want to turn himself into some kind of super-utility player?

      • bigharold - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:40 PM

        You might well have a point about him playing 3B regularly but I doubt it would even be half of the time. As for why would he play 3/1B and DH, .. for the right contract obviously. had the Card’s given him what he considers the right contract, .. or even close to it, .. he’d likely be signed today. Why did A-Rod go to 3B when he was arguably the best SS in the game. It might have more to do with leaving the Card than going to the Yankees.

        Just because Cashman states that they are only interested pitching doesn’t make it so, .. nor after seeing what happened last year with Soriano is it certain that he even has the last word. It’s not just building a roster to the owners it’s also about selling tickets too. They could use all the star power they can get their hands on. For a team that’s been in the playoffs every year but one since 1995, just winning games is the least that is expected. AND, more importantly they have the resources.

        I’m not say it’s a good idea for the Yankees, Pujols/Fielder or baseball in general if the Yankees sign either of the. It’s a not probable that either of these guys end up in the Bronx but it’s certainly not out of the question.

    • anxovies - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:14 PM

      Don’t forget that he has played the outfield too. He would make a nice $30 million replacement for Swisher, who could be traded for a pitcher. RF in Yankee Stadium would be a nice spot for him. He would have 2 centerfielders covering for him in LF and CF, and he has some speed. His arm troubles might not show up in right where you normally see only 2 or 3 hard throws in a game. besides, when I have seen him make throws to second for a DP he looked like he still has a cannon.

      • lazlosother - Nov 1, 2011 at 8:19 PM

        Albert won’t be moving to the outfield. There is absolutely no reason for him to change positions. Albert as a RF is not as valuable as Albert as a 1B, for several reasons. He is 31. The fact that he has occasionally played the outfield in a pinch does not indicate he could do it full time. Looking forward, the team that signs the Pu will want to protect his health and keep in a comfort zone – as good as he is at 1B, his value lies with his bat. Putting him in a new position with very different demands from the one he has played for a decade is not the way to do this. Albert is slow, and he does have elbow issues. This would be a very expensive experiment.

        Using him as a super-utility player like Big Harold suggests would be the most egregious misuse of talent in the history of baseball – effectively saying hi, we’re going to jerk you around something terrible, but we hope you keep hitting.

        Lastly, what is the motivation for Albert here? He is the best player in baseball, and has been on a mission to prove that since day one. He isn’t going to agree to anything that isn’t good for him, and switching positions to accommodate inferior players, being moved around like Nunez, or trying to learn a new position wouldn’t be good for him.

        Albert will play first for some team, probably STL, and he will make boatloads of money doing it.

  7. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Call me crazy, but the Yankees are a better team with Pujols in the lineup. BTW, pitching need often means more live arms in the pen.

    • anxovies - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:16 PM

      Yep. As demonstrated this year, you only need enough pitching to get you to the bullpen.

  8. awriterorsomething - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    It would seems to me that Fielder and Pujols have become free agents at a somewhat bad time.

    1) they are free agents at the same time and at the same position.
    2) the richest teams in baseball, the Yanks and Red Sox, are set at First Base. (Yes Albert and, to a lesser degree, Prince would be upgrades to some extent for the Yanks and Sox but they already have very good players at the position for far less money than Albert will demand)
    3) The Mets and Dodgers are in terrible financial situations.
    4) the Dodgers compound this by being rudderless

    This is not to say that they won’t both pull down huge amounts of money but I would have to think that there is at least a small amount of pressure down on the market.

  9. cackalackyank - Nov 1, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Leaving the Cardinals as the favorite I think the question really is who has the resources. I think it is fair to say that if the opportunity were to suddenly present itself to the Yankees I think they would find a way to fit him in. Any GM with the resources would be a FOOL not to make the attempt if an opening was there. You can’t tell me that if the Winter meetings find A.P. looking for a uniform to wear in April that anyone named Cashman would turn to Pujols and his agent and say “Gee guys I’m really sorry but our offence is stacked already, thanks for thinking of us.” Without question the Yankees, (and about 29 other teams) are going to try and upgrade their pitching but you do not pass up the chance to add a player of Pujols caliber if it could happen. Over all I disagree with the statement that the Yankees offence is fine. It felt to me that there was a painful lack of “clutch” hitting, particularly in the Division series loss to Detroit. The patchwork rotation probably exceeded expectations, while there were a few notable disapointments in the offence. Texiera and Swisher not hitting for average primarily come to mind. I’ll give A-rod a mulligan for the knee and thumb injury this year. Another guy who can mash the baseball is always nice.

    • genericcommenter - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:38 AM

      If you are talking about Tex and Swish over the entire season and not the playoffs specifically, I agree Tex was a disappointment, but Swish never has hit for average. He was above his career average this year. He DOES get on base, with a .374 OBP this season, and he slugs in the mid .400s. That’s more valuable than hitting .300 with few walks and little power any day. Teixeira at least has a history of hitting for average and getting on base, but didn’t do either this year. He’s only been a .250 hitter for the past 2 seasons- so maybe that’s what he is now.

      • bigharold - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:31 AM

        Teixeira, like Giambi before him, both hit for power and average before they started playing for the Yankees. It would appear that one of two things happened; either they both fell in love with that short right field fence to the detriment of their average or they both were told by the powers that be “we’re called the Bronx Bombers for a reason and you are our resident HR hitter and your job is to hit the ball hard and long”. There really seems no other explanation for it.

        The fact that neither will do a thing to try and get teams to stop using the shift every time they come to bat is maddening.

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