Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yankees get Cash

The New York Yankees signed former Boston Red Sox backup catcher Kevin Cash to a minor league deal on Wednesday.

This is a minor signing, as illustrated by the $700,000 price tag for the one-year contract, and by the fact that he is headed for the minors. But realistically, this move could end up impacting the Yankees this year.

The Yankees insist that Jorge Posada is going to catch this year. I am not sold. He is coming off of a year in which he could not hit the broadside of a barn. Posada is no Carl Pavano. He was really hurting and the results showed it. Will he be 100 percent this season? Will he be 100 percent ever again? I am not sure that can be expected and only time will tell. 

But Brian Cashman cannot really be this sure either and I wonder if it makes sense to sign a .184 career hitter to be Jose Molina's backup assuming that Francisco Cervelli, a fringe/backup defensive specialist much like Molina (but less of a sure thing) isn't ready for the bigs (which he may simply never be, based on his skill set). 

This ultimately underscores the point that the Yankees do not have long term plans at catcher, and may need to sign a Joe Mauer or a Brian McCann once they hit the market. If Posada can not perform at his expected level, the Yankees are going to suffer. They simply have not thought through a realistic alternative should Posada go down. I don't mean to pick at Jose Molina. He is one of the best backup catchers in baseball. But he is a backup, and the Yanks are putting themselves in position to be caught with their pants down if Posada's shoulder proves to be balky next season. 

They need a plan for the future...and for the present, there are certainly better contingency plans with higher all-around upside (Johnny Estrada, Brad Ausmus, Gregg Zaun, Pudge Rodriguez, Paul Lo Duca, Jason Varitek, Michael Barrett, hell even Josh Bard, Robby Hammock and Toby Hall) than Cash that wouldn't have cost much more than $700,000. I would like to say, however, that none of the catchers in that group make me salivate or could realistically be classified as the solution to the dilemma of who will follow Posada. I just fail to see how signing Cash makes the Yankees more prepared in the event that Posada's arm falls off.

And I just don't think this signing stung the Red Sox as much as Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira.

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