At the end of this season Andy Pettitte, Jose Molina, Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui will all be free agents.
Phil Hughes will more than likely step into Pettitte's rotation spot. There will be free agent options like Erik Bedard, Justin Duchscherer, Rich Harden, and John Lackey, but all of them are fairly injury prone and will be rather pricey. With Hughes major league ready, and Ian Kennedy close we won't have to make a big push for another pitcher.
Francisco Cervelli should take over as Jorge's primary backup. Cervelli is phenomenal defensively, and he was able to hit acceptably during his stretch as the starting catcher with Jorge and Jose out.
Nick Swisher will be the full-time right fielder so losing Nady isn't too big of a deal.
Losing the bats of Damon and Matsui will hurt the lineup, but we have okay replacements internally. Austin Jackson could come up and play center, with Melky moving to left. And Shelley Duncan might be an option for DH. But let's remember...we are the Yankees, so we'll without a doubt be looking into the free agent market, and we'll most likely look at the following players...
Rick Ankiel-Ankiel will be 30 when the 2010 season starts. He made a DL trip this year while suffering from pain in his ribs. His stats so far are unimpressive as he has a .221/.299/.358 line. However last year he hit 25 homers to the tune of .264/.337/.506. Ankiel isn't extremely impressive, but if he gets back to what he did last year he'd be a welcome power bat to make up for the absence of Matsui, Damon, and Nady.
Matt Holliday-Holliday is a phenomenal hitter, with or without Coors Field. I watched him play for a long time at Coors, and the guy can just flat out hit. Power, average, whatever. He knows how to get on-base no matter what. Ben Nicholson-Smith at MLBTR took a look at Holliday's stock today. And he noted that Buster Olney currently thinks Holliday can only command a $30-35mm deal over 3 years due to the fact that he is only hitting .275/.368/.440. Now those aren't great numbers, but they're not bad. Add in that he hit .291/.416/.456 in May and it seems like Holliday hasn't really lost too much. His career line is .316/.385/.545, so he has taken the biggest hit with his power numbers (ie his slugging percentage) this year. Holliday has 7 home runs this year. He had 25 last year, 36 in '07, and 34 in '06. You might say he's declining, but he played in 139 games last year, compared to 158 in '07 and 155 in '06, so his power numbers were down, but not by as much as they appear to be. It's natural that Holliday would have a hard time hitting in Oakland compared to Coors Field. It makes sense. Despite the recorded dimensions of the fields (below) the layouts of the fields make Matt hit better at Coors than at the Coliseum. Oakland has much much much more foul territory than Coors, and thus more outs on balls that would otherwise be in the stands. The outfield fences at the Coliseum are rounded, rather than angular like in Denver, and thus there is more fair territory that doesn't go for a home run.
|Ballpark Name||Team||1st Game||Seats||LF||LCF||CF||RCF||RF|
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
|Coors Field|| |
At Coors, Matt hit a decent amount of home runs to right-center(15 of his career 50 at Coors). At the Coliseum though, right field is farther away(the dimensions don't show it but when you look at pictures of the two fields, because of the angles of the wall right at the Coliseum is much further than it is at Coors). Also, don't forget that huge difference in altitude (a mile above sea level in Denver to sea level in Oakland. Now, you may recall that Yankee stadium has a short right field porch, where Matt could launch some home runs... I don't want to sign Holliday to a 7 year deal, but if we could get him at maybe $20mm a year for 5 years, I'd sign that deal in a heartbeat. He won't be his 2007 self but expecting .315/.390/.500 and 30 home runs a year sounds about right.
Jason Bay- Bay has been phenomenal this year in Boston with 15 homers already and a .288/.415/.627 line. The main allure of signing Bay would be to take him away from Boston. Bay will cost more than Holliday, and honestly I don't see him being any more productive than Holliday. Bay has a career .283/.378/.524 line (compared to Holliday's .316/.385/.545) and Bay is a little bit older as well. I like that Bay has shown he can play under the pressure of the AL East, but it seems like Holliday will end up being the bargain. Both are great choices, but I'd pick Holliday over Bay if I had too.
Chone Figgins-I love Chone Figgins. That's no secret here at 6P8OBJ. He's fast, versatile, and he can hit. Chone's posted a .296/.378/.354 line so far this year. His one weakness, obviously, is his power numbers. He has no homers this year, and only 26 in his career. But here's why Figgins fits. He can do ANYTHING. A-Rod gets hurt, plug in Figgins. Jeter hurt? Plug in Figgins. Robby down? Plug in Figgins. Swisher's not hitting? Plug in Figgins. Jorge's on third, bottom nine, we need a sac fly and the runner has to score to win the game? Put Figgins at third to pinch run. The guy is extremly useful and could be a superb super-utility guy. I don't think I'd necessarily want him as our everyday left fielder, but he's someone that might be a very smart investment by the Yankees as we can always find a way to use him. I would like to see us sign an outfielder in addition to Figgins.
In a perfect world the Yankees would sign Holliday and Figgins, and our Opening Day team would look like this
C Frankie Cervelli
Util Chone Figgins
Util Ramiro Pena
OF Shelley Duncan
Chien Ming Wang
CL Mariano Rivera
SU Brian Bruney
SU Mark Melancon
MR Damaso Marte
MR Zach Kroenke
MR Alfredo Aceves
MR David Robertson
LS Phil Coke