Have Patience

I've been to multiple Yankee blogs and talked to lots of fans and everyone seems to think that we need to sign Mark Teixiera, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Derek Lowe, Manny Ramirez, and Adam Dunn. I have one thing to say "Have Patience." The team has taken the first steps towards a great system of using homegrown players as cornerstones of the franchise by refusing to trade pitchers Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy last off-season. Now, obviously not all prospects pan out, but we need to be careful not to deal players away who have lots of potential. So many fans are incapable of looking beyond 09. But here's my prediction....no matter the outcome in 09, fans are going to want to win again in 2010, 2011, 2012, and every year after that. 
So if we sign the 36 year old Derek Lowe to a four year contract, not only do we have to deal with him at age 36 moving from baseball's weakest division to arguably the strongest, but we have to deal with him at age 37, 38, and 39. Do we really want to commit a $12mm or greater salary to a pitcher for that long at those ages? The correct answer is no. We don't. AJ Burnett is Carl Pavano 2.0. He's got better stuff and more potential, but if he signs a 5 year deal he will most likely be injured for 3 or 4 of those years. Burnett has a history of problems with his throwing arm. Almost all of the injuries he has had in the bigs have been on his right arm, and that is not something that the Yankees should take on, especially at $16mm a year and for five years. So I would say that both Lowe and Burnett are bad investments. 
Teixiera is a great defender, a great slugger, and he hits for average too. He is a great player, there are no doubts about that, but we don't need a long term first baseman, and we don't need another guy in it for the money. GM's have called Teixiera the definition of a Boras client. In case you don't know, that is not a good thing. Sure, the Yanks have the cash to get him, but wouldn't you rather have a guy who is going to help the clubhouse, or a guy that is cheaper? Jesus Montero, a Yankees' catching prospect, projects to be a great offensive player, but scouts have questioned whether he can stay behind the plate. If he can't he'll be a first baseman. And with Teixiera signed, he'll be blocked at the big league level. You might recall that the Yankees have an All-Star catcher named Jorge Posada who missed a lot of this year due to injury. It is a lot less stressful for a player to play first than to be crouched behind the plate all year. If in order to avoid injury Jorge needs to be put at first, with Molina catching, we wouldn't want to have Teixiera blocking him from moving positions. The Yankees have a young first baseman who can hit, just not against lefties, named Juan Miranda who could play 1st. They also already got a firstbaseman this offseason in Nick Swisher, but luckily Swisher can also play all three outfield postions. Basically, morale of the story is we don't need to sign a long term deal for a first baseman. That means not Mark Teixiera. 
For those of you Manny supporters...I'm dissapointed. Did you not watch Manny take himself out of important games, make horrible blunders in the field, attack a traveling secretary, and force his way out of Boston, saying he hated how much the media was all over him? Or did you forget about it? Manny is old, slow, terribly defensively, and a poor clubhouse presence, and you want him on your team? He is everything the Yankees don't want to be, and the only reason we should be involved in talks with him is to raise his pricetag so that whoever signs him can't get CC Sabathia. 
Sabathia is the cream of the crop when it comes to this year's free agents. He's lefty, durable, a great teammate,relatively young, and from a marketing perspective could bring us a larger African-American fan base as the only black Yankee currently is Derek Jeter. Sabathia will only be 28 when the season starts, so on a six year deal he would be gone at age 34, right before the time that most pitchers decline. Now, there are obviously some concerns with CC. He tends to not really reach his top form until May, he's logged over 500 innings in two years, and he has never played for a big market team. However, everything I've heard about CC says that he is a great teammate, and that is something that helps in New York. He's had no big public blunders with the press, which means he should be able to deal with the New York media. I assure you, CC will be injured at some point in 2009. I'm not sure for how long, but logging that many innings will take a toll on your arm. But, if CC misses a few starts it would actually be okay. His arm would not be as tired come playoff time, and he would come back in 2010 with a more well rested arm by logging 150-200 innings instead of 250 in 09. Hopefully, he won't be drastically injured, as he does not have a history of hitting the disabled list, but the Yanks should make sure they have enough depth to have a quality replacement, something they lacked this year when Wang got injured. So, to all fans don't get overly excited about all of these free agents, we have to not only contend next year, but in the following years as well. And every year there will be a nice new batch of free agents. Next year even, we might be trying to sign Carl Crawford, Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Rick Ankiel, Victor Martinez, Justin Duchscherer, Erik Bedard, John Lackey, Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, Cliff Lee, and others. Who knows, maybe there will be some great Japanese players posted. We can't get worked up about players just because they are available now, we have to assess their value to the team for the entirety of their contract.

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