Yankees Pick Up David Aardsma
Over the last six weeks, the New York Yankees front office has been extremely busy with trades and free agency moves. It all started with trading future DH candidate Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners back in mid-January for starting pitcher Michael Pineda and minor league pitcher Jose Campos. Less than 24 hours later, the Yankees announced the signing of free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a relatively cheap one-year, $10 million contract.
Then last weekend, the Yankees made the move that several pundits believed had to be made: they traded AJ Burnett and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two minor league players. And earlier this week, the Yankees used some of their newly-found extra cap space on potential DH candidate Raul Ibanez and backup infielder Eric Chavez.
So now, what issues could possibly be left for the Yankees to address? The answer may have been revealed yesterday - the future closer of the New York Yankees.
On Wednesday afternoon, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman announced the signing of former Mariners closer David Aardsma. The 30-year-old righty saved 69 games in 2009 and 2010, before undergoing left hip surgery in January of 2011 and Tommy John surgery last July, causing him to miss the entire 2011 season.
Upon announcing the acquisition, Cashman made it clear that bringing Aardsma into the Bronx was "an R&D move," meaning Research and Development. The former closer has been immediately placed on the disabled list and has been targeted for helping the Yankees bullpen in the 2013 season, as he continues to recover from his two surgeries in 2011. Cashman went on to say:
He's about a month behind Joba. He's a guy who could help us this year, but who we expect to help us next year. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. He's a power arm we picked up for $100,000 over the minimum (salary) and we feel it could have a nice payoff down the road.
Cashman would go on to compare the addition of Aardsma to the 2003 signing of Jon Lieber, who eventually won 14 games for the Bombers in 2004. Aardsma will be paid $500,000 for this season with incentives if he makes it to the big leagues.
Here's the irony - Cashman also told the media that the addition of relief pitchers the last two years has nothing to do with the possibility that Mariano Rivera will retire at the end of this season. Okay man, and the influx of people who workout at local gyms throughout the month of January each year has nothing to do with New Year's Resolutions that eventually fall flat on their faces.