Any more moves?

The Yanks have been busy this off-season. They signed Sergio Mitre. Then they signed Damaso Marte for three years. Next they acquired Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Teixeira for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez. Then they got rid of Darrell Rasner when they sold his rights to a team in Japan. Then BAM they signed CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. And then they also signed Kevin Cash. And now...what's left on Cashman's agenda? Let's take a look.

Get rid of at least one of Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Nick Swisher. The Yanks have a glut of corner outfielder/DH guys and wouldn't mind unloading one of their contracts.

Figure out the Pettitte Situation. The Yanks made a 1 year $10mm offer to Andy Pettitte. He's being stubborn and wants a $16mm deal. The Yanks don't particularly need him, and he will not be returning to the Yanks if he won't lower his price tag. I think the Yanks need to give him a time frame. They should tell him they need a decision by a certain time (one or two weeks from now) and then they will either sign him to the deal they offered or they will withdraw their offer.

Make a decision about center field. Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera are supposed to battle it out for the center field spot in spring training, with the winner getting the starting job. I'm a big fan of both of those guys, but I think Cash needs to make a final decision, either it's a battle between those two or he's going to try to acquire someone else. With the Mike Cameron rumors that flew around for a while, the Melkman and Gardner can't be sure if one of them will really be the opening day centerfielder. Cash needs to make his decision and tell them what is going to happen so that they can go into the season knowing exactly where they stand on the team.

Find a utlity infielder. Cody Ransom? Really? Sure he did well in his 43 at bats last year. And sure, utility infielders aren't starters because they aren't good enough to be. But, are we really going to have a guy with 183 career at bats be our only backup for A-Rod, DJ, and Cano? Ransom will be 33 by opening day, but will have only appeared in 166 games in his entire career. I don't see him as a guy capable of stepping in if one of the infielders go down, and there aren't any other minor leaguers the Yanks should expect to be capable of stepping in (not a single middle infielder made John Sickels's top 20 prospect list. The Yanks should see if they can sign a free agent utility infielder at a decent price. The market has guys like Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Miles, Mark Grudzielanek, Jerry Hairston Jr., Tadahito Iguchi, and Angel Berroa. Who knows, maybe former all-stars Nomar Garciaparra and Omar Vizquel would consider filling a backup role. Ideally the Yanks could get one of my personal favorite players, David Eckstein, to take up a role as a backup, but I know that's a little bit of a stretch as he'll likely get a starting gig somewhere else. The Yanks need to get someone to take over Wilson Betemit's old role, and hopefully they can get someone who can do so with speed and good defense, both skills that Betemit lacked.

Replenish the farm system with positional prospects. The Yanks have tons of young arms with Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon, Zach McAllister, and Andrew Brackman among others. They have some strong catching prospects with Frankie Cervelli, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine. They have some young center fielders with Melky, Gardner, and Austin Jackson. But, they don't really have any strong prospects for the corner outfield spot, second base, shortstop, third base, or even first base(unless you're someone who thinks that Jesus Montero will eventually wind up there). Now you might be thinking, "The Yanks have Tex for 8 years at 1st, A-Rod for 9 more years at 3rd, Cano's young, and the Yanks will never git rid of Jeter." And that's all true. But what about when A-Rod is 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42. At some point during that timespan he'll either get injured, or possibly be moved to DH. What about if Jeter's defense becomes a real liability and he's moved to either second base or the outfield? What about if Cano's attitude becomes a problem and the Yanks decide to deal him? What about if Tex gets injured over the course of his 8 year contract? It never hurts to have depth. Cash should try to get some positional prospects for whatever outfielder he gets rid of and he should think about trading some low potential pitching prospects for low potential positional prospects. The Yanks have a lot of depth at pitching, and little to none among their positional players. Cash needs to try and even that out.

Those seem like the big issues that the Yanks should focus on this winter. Any other thoughts? Let's see em in the comments.


J-Gao said...

I'm probably in the minority, but I don't think we need to unload one of the outfielders. There isn't much depth in the system if Damon or Matsui go down for a bit, so keeping Nady or Swisher on the bench as part of a rotation could work. I addition, 3 of the 4 guys will come the team next year, and that money would be spent well on Matt Holliday, and possibly, Carl Crawford. Besides, other than Damon or Swisher (who are the least likely to be traded) the others don't have much value due their impending free agency, and probably wouldn't fetch much in terms of prospects.
I don't have a problem with Ransom; his defense is fine, and the other bats in the lineup should hide his offensive deficiencies. If not, then the Yankees have other problems.
As for CF and Andy, I'd say just leave them alone. If Andy doesn't accept go in with Hughes or Aceves. And start Melky and play the hottest one after. So, if Melky struggles, put Gardner in as starter, and vice versa. If one goes on a mildly hot streak, ride it. Keep them on a short leash, though, keep them motivated (especially Leche).

Kevin S. said...

True, there isn't a ton of outfield depth in the system, but I think having some controllable prospects would be more valuable than Nady will be in 09. Plus, it clears payroll in case of the need for a midseason acquisition. The thing with Ransom is that if A-Rod, Jeter, or Cano get injured, and their bat in the lineup is replaced by Ransom...that is a HUGE downgrade. I like Ransom, but if we lost one of those bats that's so essential to the lineup I want us to be able to put in someone who can put up at least near league average numbers. In a perfect world that person would be Chone Figgins, but I don't know how likely that is exactly. I like Melky and Gardner in center, but I wouldn't complain if they brought someone in that would be a safer bet for consistent production, as long as it didn't cost too much in terms of dollars or prospects. I agree that having Aceves Hughes and Kennedy fight for the last rotation spot isn't the worst thing, but I think they need a final decision from Andy soon so they can decide if they want to spend that money elsewhere or keep the payroll as it is. There are so many things that CAN be done, it's a matter of how many things SHOULD be done and how many WILL be done.

J-Gao said...

Chone Figgins would be very nice for Nady.