Monday, November 16, 2009

New York Yankees---Hot Stove Preview

  • Winter Strategy--New York Yankees

It's time for my post-season "suggestions" of what each team should and shouldn't do. Some might listen; most won't----but they should.

We'll go team-by-team on a daily basis starting with the Yankees.

What they need: A durable, veteran starting pitcher to pitch serviceably and gobble innings; a younger left fielder or more productive center fielder; a backup catcher; bullpen help.

Free agents: OF Johnny Damon; INF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr; INF/OF Eric Hinske; DH Hideki Matsui; C Jose Molina; OF/1B Xavier Nady; LHP Andy Pettitte

It sounds as if Damon is conflicted between looking for bigger money and staying with the Yankees. If he's looking for the Yankees to give him anything more than two years guaranteed (maybe) plus a vesting option based on health, then forget it, GM Brian Cashman will tell him to take a walk. Remember his agent is Scott Boras and that as likable as Damon is and no matter how hard he plays, he's shown some mercenary tendencies. The problem is, I don't know who's going to give Damon what he wants and if he waits too long before taking any reasonable Yankee offer, they're going to go elsewhere to fill left field.

Depending on Hideki Matsui's demands, it's possible that Damon could return as a part-time DH, part-time outfielder. The club would have more on-field flexibility with Damon than they would with Matsui, but financially, Matsui will be more willing to take a short-term deal.

I'd bet on the dust settling and Matsui returning, with Damon walking----and regretting it.

Upgrading the utility player is a priority. Jerry Hairston Jr and Eric Hinske provided some use, but aren't the answer; neither will be back. Molina doesn't hit enough to be a viable backup for the aging Jorge Posada.

Andy Pettitte will be back.

Players available via trade: C Jorge Posada; OF Melky Cabrera; RHP Joba Chamberlain; RHP Phil Hughes

Cashman would love to unload Posada due to his contract and his declining game, especially defensively. Posada's tense relationship with manager Joe Girardi and the pitchers is relegating him to a club preference as a DH, part-time catcher if Matsui leaves; this is something against which Posada will rebel and cause problems. Even teams that might have interest in Posada as a DH/part-time catcher/1st baseman----Mariners, Angels----have to deal with his insistence that he wants to catch. He also has a full no-trade clause. He's due slightly over $26 million in 2010-2011. He's not going anywhere.

As clutch and solid as Cabrera was this year, Cashman should upgrade center fielder both offensively and defensively. Cabrera's arbitration eligible and reestablished his value in 2009. He could go as part of a package.

Chamberlain and/or Hughes could be had in a blockbuster trade for a Roy Halladay or, more likely, Felix Hernandez. Chamberlain is supposedly going to have his tethers cut next season from the ridiculous Joba Rules/JOBA RUINATION, but I dont' know if he's ever going to be anything better than an average starter at best. He's no longer untouchable.

Hughes might also be the centerpiece for a big acquisition to bolster the starting rotation.

Non-tender candidates: RHP Chien-Ming Wang

I don't see Wang going anywhere else even if they non-tender him. Expect him to be back in camp next spring to re-establish his value as the pitcher he was before injuries derailed him.

Players to pursue:

Free agents-LHP Mike Gonzalez (Braves); C Yorvit Torrealba (Rockies); LHP Randy Wolf (Dodgers); C-Henry Blanco (Padres); INF-OF-Mark De Rosa (Cardinals); C-Gregg Zaun (Rays); RHP-Joel Piniero (Cardinals); RHP Michael Wuertz (Athletics)

Both Gonzalez and De Rosa are in heavy demand, but the Yankee money will get both if they want them. De Rosa will be a Yankee. Bank on it. And he's a great pickup for them. Gonzalez racks up the strikeouts; gets out both lefties and righties; can close if necessary; and would be the ideal bridge to Mariano Rivera.

They need a backup catcher. Francisco Cervelli won't hit enough to do the job. Torrealba calls a fine game; Zaun would've been a Yankee backup years ago had the Blue Jays not offered him the starting catching job and a lot of money (for him); Blanco is great with pitchers and wouldn't cost a lot.

Wolf was healthy for the Dodgers and, if the Yankees think he's going to maintain his health, would be a fine back-of-the-rotation starter. Piniero replenished his reputation with the Cardinals and would also serve that purpose as a durable, trustworthy innings-eater.

I've always liked Wuertz's stuff and the A's are going to non-tender him.

Via Trade-RHP Felix Hernandez (Mariners); RHP Roy Halladay (Blue Jays); LF-Carl Crawford (Rays); OF/INF-Miguel Cabrera (Tigers); OF-David DeJesus (Royals); RHP Gil Meche (Royals)

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is saying that he's not going to trade Hernandez, but if the Yankees offer a package led by Chamberlain or Hughes, you can throw that bit of negotiation out the window. A Yankee rotation fronted by C.C. Sabathia and Hernandez would be devastating.

I still cling to the belief that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous isn't going to trade Halladay inside the division if he can help it. Nor do I believe that the Yankees are all that interested in paying $140 million plus Hughes and/or Chamberlain and a package to get Halladay.

Crawford isn't overtly on the block, but he's available and would be an all-too-perfect fit for left field and the top of the Yankees lineup. Miguel Cabrera's contract and that he royally pissed off the Tigers with his domestic incident with this wife on the last weekend of the season may have made him available. Whether the Yankees would want to deal with him is a question, but there's no discounting his talent and they could easily absorb his contract.

A lower cost solution for left field (or center field) would be native New Yorker David DeJesus. His contract is reasonable ($4.7 million in 2010; $6 million option for 2011) and he's a very good all-around player. They might have to take Gil Meche to get a favorable deal. Meche has $24 million due him in 2010 and 2011, but he had two fine, sturdy years for a bad team in the Royals in 2007-2008 before injuries hampered him in 2009. As a back-end starter, Meche could flourish with the Yankees.

  • And Bill Belichick as Barry Switzer:

What the hell was that?

It's interesting how Barry Switzer pulled a similarly stupid maneuver as Bill (The Resident Genius) Belichick did last night in the Patriots 35-34 loss to the Colts.

Going for it on 4th and 2 at your own 28 yard line with a bit over two minutes left and a six point lead?

Has Belichick lost his mind?

Switzer did a similar thing in Philadelphia in 1995 and was rewarded with universal ridicule, including being referred to as "Bozo the Coach". The Cowboys rebounded to win the Super Bowl and Belichick has accumulated enough respect in the bank to get a pass for one dunderheaded decision, but good grief!!! What was he thinking?

Hypothetically, say the Patriots had punted and Peyton Manning drove the Colts down the field for the lead score; did Belichick suddenly lose faith in Tom Brady after all he's done with clutch plays and drives to think that he couldn't do it again? All they would've needed was to get into field goal range in the worst case scenario of a Colts score.

It was lunacy.


She-Fan said...

I'd love Crawford in left field for the Yanks. Make it happen, Prince!

Jeff said...

If the Rays lose Crawford then that team is sunk. The public relations blow would be so devastating that Tampa Bay would take years to recover.

Gabriel said...

I agree with Jeff. The Rays need Crawford more than the Jays need Roy Halladay (and that's saying a lot).

Louise said...

The Yankees have achieved a level of success in the world of baseball that is so gaudy, so well known, and so storied picking a handful of players to call their all time best is no easy task. They should be always competitive enough to keep pace with the others. I used to attend their games even their tickets get sold out. Luckily I fond , now I’ll before compare prices before getting tickets. Go Yankees!!