After much thought I decided to make a ridiculously long post on my plan to fix the Yankees. I made this as realistic as possible. Which means I only suggested one relatively minor trade and it doesn't involve Jake Peavy coming over for Melky Cabrera and Phil Coke. Also, keep in mind that the Yankees can only sign two type A free agents I think. I`m not positive but I`m pretty sure. I would love some comments on this and I promise I`ll respond. First I`ll make a list of the moves I would make, then I`ll go through the roster position by position. If I were Brian Cashman here are the moves I would make:
- Re-sign Mike Mussina (unlikely)
- Re-sign Andy Pettitte (hopeful)
- Offer Abreu arbitration
- Pick up Marte's option
- Let Giambi walk
- Let I-Rod walk
- Leave Joba in the rotation
- Sign Adam Dunn
- Sign Casey Blake
- Sign either C.C. Sabathia, or Derek Lowe
- Trade Kennedy, Aceves, Wright, and Melky for David DeJesus
- Fire Bobby Thomson, move Bobby Meacham to bench coach
- Hire Willie Randolph for first base coach, move Tony Pena to third base coach
Catcher: The biggest question here is how many games Posada can play. Jose Molina is a solid backup with his great defense. They really don't have any other options. I`m worried about the long term situation here. Montero and Romine are far away from the majors. They could consider a trade for one of the Rangers' catchers. However, that`s unlikely and may not be a good move
Third Base: No worries here. A-Rod in a bad year is still amazing.
Shortstop: I`m a little worried about Jeter`s long term future but their`s nothing they can do. Jeter`s fielding is still awful and his hitting is in decline. Next year will be a big one for him.
Second Base: This year will be a big one for Cano. If he plays well then he could re-establish himself as a top second baseman. However, if he has another year like he did in 2008 we may have to look at him the same way we do Melky. However, his BABIP seems to indicate he will bounce back. Kevin Long adjusted his batting stance at the end of the year which also seemed to help. I still love his glove as well. It`d be a mistake to trade Cano right now.
First Base: Possibly the biggest question mark this offseason. Their`s a number of different combinations they could use which I will go over in more detail in a later post. I`m for signing Adam Dunn. People compare him to Giambi, which is fair. However, he`s a much better version of Giambi. He`s a slightly below average fielder and a top tier hitter. Adam Dunn would be a perfect acquistion.
Right-Field: Abreu should be gone now. He shouldn't get a three year deal. Nady can take his place. He`ll probably bounce back to earth from his career year in 2008. However, he`s still a solid player and is cheap.
Center-Field: Another huge question. I definitely think the Yankees need to trade for a centerfielder. I don't trust Gardner and Melky at all. Since I`m unwilling to trade Cano, David DeJesus may be the best option. Kennedy+Aceves+Wright+Melky should get the deal done. DeJesus is not a great centerfielder but he hits, is cheap, and until Austin Jackson is ready he should get the job done.
Left-Field: Damon should fill this role. Ideally, I would trade him while his value is high. However, they need him for next year. He`s a good leftfielder despite his arm and is a solid hitter. The only problem with him is that he`s guarenteed to miss time.
Designated Hitter: Matsui can't play left anymore. He`ll probably fit in here. This next year will be a big one for him, he`s a free agent after 2009. I think he can still hit fairly well. However, he`s also a major injury concern.
Backup Catcher: Molina is a pretty good backup. Its very hard to find a good backup catcher but Molina at least fields well. He showed signs of decline last year in extended playing time and he`s no substitue for Posada. However, he`s the best they have.
4th Outfielder: Brett Gardner is a good fielder and could be a pinch-runner. I don't have high expectations for him long-term. However, as a 4th outfielder he`s pretty good. At some point Austin Jackson may be able to move into this spot.
Infielder/Outfielder: I would advocate signing Casey Blake for this. He can rotate through the many positions he plays and get enough playing time that he`d be essentially a regular. Somebody is sure to get hurt and rather than let injuries kill you like last year, why not sign a backup you can trust for an extended period of time? If they gave him a few extra million dollars he could certainly adjust to rotating through different positions.
Backup First Baseman: Juan Miranda could be a solid pinch hitter off the bench. He kills righties and I really see no better way to use this roster spot.
SP1: C.C. Sabathia would ideally fill this spot. He could be the best pitcher to ever hit free agency. The Yankees should throw all the money they can at him. If he says no thanks then they need to try and get Derek Lowe. Lowe is a solid innings eater you can trust. Burnett and Sheets are flashier but not as trustworthy.
SP2: If Sabathia is signed then Wang could fill the role he should be willing, rather than be forced into the role of ace. He should be healthy and counted on for 200 solid innings. The only problem with Wang is that he`s reliant on luck as a ground ball pitcher. He showed signs that he could be growing less reliant on ground balls before 2008. If this is a trend then its certainly a good thing.
SP3: Joba belongs here. If the Yankees' doctors believe he can handle starting, I`m not going to argue. Also, does anybody seriously still think he`s more valuable in the bullpen?
SP4: I`d be surprised if Pettitte did not re-sign. He`s a valuable innings eater. The Yankees need that type of player. He seems to want to keep pitching as well.
SP5: Mussina I`m more doubtful about. Girardi said it seems like he`s leaning towards retirement. If he wants to come back I`d be willing to give him three years at about 7 million a year. He`s reinvented himself and could be a good pitcher for a few more years. If not, then they`re going to have to try Hughes again.
Bullpen: The bullpen is actually a strength for once. The Yankees need to continue trying out guys with good arms and seeing who works. Mark Melancon is clearly a guy to watch. Keep praying that Rivera stays healthy.