From The Record -
Yet in losing Matsuzaka, the Yankees’ strategy might have been exposed. They could be content in signing a midlevel free agent such as Seattle’s Gil Meche, rather than chasing Zito or Schmidt simply because they’re the leaders of a weak free agent crop.
During this week’s GM meetings, the groundwork of potential trades will be forged, and Cashman — who already has made two trades in the last four days — promises to be a key figure.
The Yankees are on the verge of re-signing Mike Mussina to a two-year contract, reportedly worth $22 million. Cashman has shaved payroll by dealing Gary Sheffield for three Detroit pitching prospects and moving Jaret Wright to Baltimore for pitcher Chris Britton.
That leaves money to sign two more starters, and Igawa — a power lefty said to be posted soon by the Hanshin Tigers — is an intriguing alternative to Matsuzaka.
Meche long has commanded the Yankees’ attention, as has free agent Miguel Batista, who owns a live arm and has had success as a starter and reliever.
Actually, Miguel Batista could be a sleeper here. The last 6 years, he’s always been an above league average pitcher. As a starter, he’s always been good for near 30 starts and around 190 innings.
I would not sign him for huge money or for more than three years. In fact, I would want a team-option buy-out on the last year of a 3-year deal.
He’s probably only good for 12 wins (or so) in the Yankees rotation. But, he would be an excellent placeholder until someone like Clippard or Hughes is ready for the majors.
There’s much less risk with Miguel Batista than with Igawa and Meche.