Take a look at this blind career comparison of 3 starting pitchers:
- Player A: 3.35/3.69/4.26, 7.41 K/9, 3.23 BB/9, 25.0 bWAR
- Player B: 3.39/3.63/3.42, 8.45 K/9, 2.26 BB/9, 22.5 bWAR
- Player C: 3.82/3.51/3.68, 7.96 K/9, 2.29 BB/9, 24.4 bWAR
Which one would you want on your team? You really can't go wrong with any of the 3 to be honest. That's 3 top flight starting pitchers all in the prime of their careers at ages 27 (A) and 28 (B and C). Player A is actually Matt Cain, who became the richest right-hander in baseball yesterday by signing a new 6-year/$127.5 million contract with the San Francisco Giants. Player B is Cole Hamels and Player C is Zack Greinke, and collectively these 3 would have made one of the best classes of free agent pitchers in baseball history after the 2012 season. The Yankees could have been major players in that market, but after seeing what Cain got from San Fran I think it's safe to say the Yankees' pursuit of any of these 3 is over before it started.
Cain is a helluva pitcher, but the argument could be made that he's the third best out of this group. If he's pulling in over $21 mil per year in his new deal, that all but guarantees Hamels and Greinke will get more. Hamels' numbers are better than Cain's almost across the board and he has the added benefit of being left-handed. Greinke's numbers stack up favorably to Cain's as well and he has a Cy Young under his belt and a track record of success in both leagues. If Cain is pulling $21 mil, these other 2 are going to get more, and with the self-imposed 2014 payroll cap looming over them, that kind of money is going to be too rich for the Yankees' blood.
Chances are the Yankees weren't going to be heavily involved with these 3 anyway after making the Pineda trade, but if the price tags could have stayed in the $18-20 million range maybe we would have seen them make an offer. No chance of that happening now, assuming Hamels and Greinke even make it to free agency. Michael, Ivan, Phil, Manny? You guys just became even more important.