Earlier today we found out that the Yankees signed David Aardsma to a MLB deal for one year, with an option for a second in 2013. Aardsma had Tommy John surgery back in July, so he wouldn't even be able to help the Yankees until about midway through the season. Therefore the option for 2013 is the key part here, especially since Mariano Rivera could retire... leaving a big hole to fill in the bullpen.
No, I'm not saying Aardsma is the heir to Mo as the team's closer. As of right now I think that will be David Robertson. But even if you move Robertson to closer, and Soriano to set-up man, that still leaves key innings for somebody in the bullpen. That's true even if Joba Chamberlain were to take over the 7th inning role that Soriano currently holds.
Now, if you were to believe Brian Cashman, then this move has nothing to do with Rivera's possible retirement. But I call "bull****" on that. While it may be true that Cash and Aardsma have been speaking to each other all winter, I don't think Cashman was serious about bringing David aboard until it looked like Mariano was indeed on his way out. I believe this is a case where Cashman liked Aardsma, but until recently didn't see a spot or reason to sign him. As soon as he saw a spot possibly open up, Brian jumped on Aardsma.
Seeing that Aardsma can be added right to the 60-day DL, and therefore won't take up a spot on the 40-man roster, then this signing isn't much different than a minor league deal. And at only half a million dollars, which is only slightly more than the league minimum of $480,000, the risk is minuscule (at least for a team with the financial might of the Yankees).
Not really an "out of nowhere" type deal, but it looks like Ninja Cashman has struck again.