Carl Pavano did. The Yankees can afford to offer Cliff Lee upwards of $140 million…and they can’t top $17 million for Carl Pavano? That’s bad money management, and Yankees fans who say differently are just lying to themselves.
Certainly, the phrase “bitten by the injury bug” doesn’t start to describe Pavano’s last stint in New York. This time around, however, rumors pitted the deal at fewer years and less money, and Pavano would have occupied a spot at the back end of the rotation, not the front. The recipe was more likely to lead to success, if nothing else.
The key here is value. Yes, teams like the Red Sox and Phillies probably secured a significant uptick in wins with their moves this offseason, and the Yankees missed out on some of those players. But mid-market teams like the Twins are maximizing their payroll without ever scouting the likes of Lee, Carl Crawford, or Adrian Gonzalez. The Twins got a valuable player for less than what he should have commanded. Their gain is the Yankees loss in this case, and the Bombers may rue the loss of a bargain-basement number 3 starter as much as a marquee number 1.