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Last week the Atlanta Braves signed free agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel. The Yankees, also in need of starting pitching, were reportedly in the hunt for him as well. When Keuchel signed with Atlanta for $13 million for the remainder of the season the Yankees took some heat from their fans for not being willing to spend a moderate amount to fix a thin and injury-hampered rotation.
Today a columnist — Randy Miller of NJ.com — wrote a column blaming the Yankees’ failure to sign Keuchel on starter Domingo Germán. The upshot: if Germán, who just went on the injured list due to a strained hip, had told the Yankees earlier that his hip hurt, they would’ve made a greater effort to sign Keuchel. Here’s Miller, after chronicling the history of Germán’s hip:
And because German hid this injury, the Yankees’ allowed their Plan A for a rotation upgrade to go elsewhere when free agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel passed on their one-year, $11-million best offer to take one-year and $13 million from the Atlanta Braves last Thursday. If the Yanks had known about German’s hip issue, there’s no doubt that management would have looked at Keuchel as more of a necessity than a luxury and thus probably offered enough money to get him.
He goes on to nail the alleged direct connection here even harder, saying “[t]he Yankees could have had Keuchel – probably would have had Keuchel – if German hadn’t kept quiet about his sore hip for almost two weeks.”
That’s a major stretch. A stretch that ignores the fact that adding Keuchel would’ve addressed an already-pressing need. If the Yankees were getting outbid by the Braves for a measly $2 million despite that need, it’s pretty doubtful that Germán’s hip — which was already leading to some poor outings, thus suggesting he was not going to continue to carry the staff like he had in the first two months of the season — would’ve made the difference. Saying it’s his fault that the Yankees were unwilling to match Atlanta’s offer is rather ridiculous, actually.
But making this argument sure does serve the purposes of the Yankees’ front office. They would, I’m sure, prefer that fans ignore the fact that the Yankees have bypassed a number of chances to improve the club via free agency in the last several months. It’s better for them if angry fans are blaming Domingo Germán than Brian Cashman.