Thursday, December 4, 2014

New York Yankees: Go get Andrew Miller AND David Robertson

The New York Yankees opened this offseason pledging to abstain from handing out long-term, nine-figure deals. However, after the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays made impressive steps to improve their teams via free agency, we’re beginning to hear whispers about the Yanks getting involved in the Jon Lester sweepstakes, and they’ve been mentioned numerous times to be contemplating a run at Max Scherzer. Might I suggest they cool those thoughts and work to sign two of the best relievers in the game, Andrew Miller and David Robertson?

I’m certainly not the first to think this. During a chat on Twitter yesterday William Tasker, a great follow and someone whose writing I enjoy, brought this up and I simply thought because of the Yankees’ stance to not give out a four-year deal to a reliever, they wouldn’t think about it doing it twice.

I’ve also been suggesting that if the Yankees land Miller, they might go after Scherzer because they’ll gain a compensation pick from letting Robertson go. That would soften the blow of losing what would be their first-round selection by signing Scherzer. Then there were rumblings about the Yankees being involved in the Lester bidding. It got me thinking that I’ve been looking at this, and maybe the Yankees have too, the wrong way.

A deal for Lester is going to cost somewhere above $150 million for six years, and Scherzer’s bill could extend over $180 million for seven years. Rough estimates for Miller seem to be in the $40 million neighborhood and just over $50 million for Robertson, again each for four seasons. That is a savings of about $60 to $90 million and keeps the desire to bog the team down with arms that simply won’t be the same in five years (and maybe sooner) in check.

As the New York Posts’ Joel Sherman wrote Wednesday night, it would provide the Yankees with a bullpen that is every bit as good on paper as the Kansas City Royals deployed in 2014, and potentially it is better because Miller is a left-hander, something the Royals did not have with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. The Royals did not exactly have a shut down starter in their rotation during the playoffs (James Shields was very good in the regular season), yet they plowed through the American League on the backs of their bullpen. The Yankees, with injury threats throughout its starting staff, are in a similar situation.

How happy would Yankees manager Joe Girardi be if he could shorten games to five or six innings? Don’t forget, the Yankees have Shawn KelleyAdam Warren and Justin Wilson, three relievers with quality stuff rounding out the bullpen. The recently signed Esmil Rogers would find himself out the door if this three-headed monster scenario came to fruition. A shortened game to lessen the wear on its rotation could go a long way.

Further, the remaining money not spent on Lester or Scherzer could keep the Yankees in the bidding for Brandon McCarthy (three years, $36 million seems to be his market) and maybe even Chase Headley, provided they can convince him to take a three-year deal, or one with a performance option for the fourth year he seems to desire. Headley, for three years, $39-42 million likely seems reasonable to the Yankees. Whether it is to him I’m not so sure.

And if they cannot obtain Headley, they have a simple fallback option in Martin Prado at third base and Rob Refsnyder at second base that costs nothing more than they have already invested.

Refraining from Lester and Scherzer might seem ridiculous because these guys can dominate games, and not just an inning at a time. But, each of them also carries more long term questions in my opinion than Miller or Robertson.

Further, let’s not underestimate what the value of Miller or Robertson might be in three years. If the Yankees continue to develop their bullpen in the minor leagues, they may well be able to ship either or both of these guys for what could be considered reasonable value in a few years should they find themselves out of a race or simply looking for an upgrade elsewhere on the field. Can the same be said for Lester or Scherzer?

As we sit around waiting for the dominoes to fall, this is what happens. Rampant speculation. But that’s what makes the hot stove season so much fun. We can dream about certain things, and once decisions are made, we can create new scenarios to discuss right until spring training begins.

This particular dream sticks with the Yankees’ avoidance of the nine-figure salary mantra, extends by a single year (or two I guess) their reliever strategy and could very well create an impenetrable bullpen for the next four seasons.

This dream makes sense to me. How about you? Let me know in the comments.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.