Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How to Fix the Yankees

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.

27 comments:

Nate said...

I mostly agree with you, but here is where I disagree. I don't think we need to trade for a centerfielder, and I also don't think DeJesus is a true centerfielder. Austin Jackson is about a year away, and I think it would be better to just sign Mike Cameron. Preferably it would be a one year deal, but I would gave him two if we had to, and he should come fairly cheap. He strikes out a lot, but he also walks a lot, and hits 20-25 homers a year. Basically, he's an average hitter and an above-average fielder, which is really all we need until AJAX is ready. Also, I like the idea of having a versatile bench guy who can hit, but I don't think Casey Blake would settle for a bench role, however if he would I would advocate signing him.

Anonymous said...

Cameron gets hurt to much

Mike NYY said...

Anpnymous is right, Cameron will get hurt. Which means for a significant part of the season we will be relying on Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera. Camaeron, Damon, and Matsui all on the same team? Its tough to prepare for that many guys who will almost definitely get hurt. Cameron is my Plan B but they should definitely explore a trade. Also, its hard to count on a prospect to be ready in a year. I expect him to be ready in 2010 but setbacks are not unheard of. DeJesus is a good hitter and can hold his own in center. If/when Jackson is ready Dejesus can move to a corner spot where his glove would be much better. He`s not that old and he`s under team control at low cost for a while.

Blakes role for me would be semi-regular. He would get as many starts as any other starter. The only thing he would have to adjust to is playing a few different positions. If they gave him a few extra million dollars then he could adjust fine.

Mike NYY said...

Anpnymous is right, Cameron will get hurt. Which means for a significant part of the season we will be relying on Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera. Camaeron, Damon, and Matsui all on the same team? Its tough to prepare for that many guys who will almost definitely get hurt. Cameron is my Plan B but they should definitely explore a trade. Also, its hard to count on a prospect to be ready in a year. I expect him to be ready in 2010 but setbacks are not unheard of. DeJesus is a good hitter and can hold his own in center. If/when Jackson is ready Dejesus can move to a corner spot where his glove would be much better. He`s not that old and he`s under team control at low cost for a while.

Blakes role for me would be semi-regular. He would get as many starts as any other starter. The only thing he would have to adjust to is playing a few different positions. If they gave him a few extra million dollars then he could adjust fine.

Jack said...

Any idea on what DeJesus might cost in terms of prospects? The Royals GM said he wanted to "win now." Could Marte or even Damon get involved here?

Nate said...

Trading Damon for Dejesus would kindo of defeat the purpose of trading for Dejesus.

Jack said...

Now that I think about it your right

Peter Lacock said...

Mike,
Explain how a .247 career hitter that K's once every 2.6 AB's and is a poor defender 'would be a perfect acquistion'?
Also, do you believe this kind of player fits the mold of the type of player the Yanks and Brian Cashman are looking for?
Last question. When you offer your ideas about how things might play out, do you just throw a bunch of things out there or do you think and consider what might actually happen?

Mike NYY said...

Dunn hits. His OBP makes up for his poor BA. He also has a ton of power.

Cashman is looking for a "real firstbaseman" who will help them win. Dunn`s poor defense is exxagerated and he hits very well.

Yes I do consider this. Dunn makes more sense than anone else available. Texiera wants a contract way to long, Abreu may not be useful after three years and Dunn is better anyway, Ramirez would force an outfielder to move to first base (which Cashman doesn't want) and costs to much. Dunn is the best option and I believe he will ultimately be the guy that Cashman signs.

Nate said...

Cashman hasn't really said anything about who he is targeting in the offseason so everything you see is just speculation. I agree with Mike that Dunn is a good fit.

Peter Lacock said...

These are my last comments on this subject.
Your Welcome.
I don't believe that Adam Dunn is a true (or real) 1B. The general consensus amongst 'experts' is that he should move to the AL to be a DH. His .984 fpct as a 1B and .969 fpct as an OF are poor. Not to mention that he is slow of foot, with little range and will clog the basepaths when he makes it on. You want to call this 'exaggerated'? I call them facts. Just the fact that he's played so much OF (10 times as much as 1B) speaks to his lack of position.
I would say calling him a 'great' or 'good' hitter (or hits very well) is an exaggeration. After 8 seasons, a .247 BA with a .225 RISP isn't anything but a bad hitter. A good OBP doesn't cancel that out, he just becomes a bad hitter with a good OBP. I'll give you that he's a 'good' or 'great' HR hitter (just like Dave Kingman) but if you take away his HR's, he's Melky Cabrera.
I would call the value of his BB's exaggerated because when he's up there with RISP and he BB's leaving it up to someone else or more often K's and the fans boo, that this is not what I believe Brian Cashman wants to imagine.

Peter Lacock said...

Not to start another debate but....
Bret Gardner is as good as David DeJesus right now except he's younger, faster, cheaper, better defensively and will steal something like 30 or 40 more bases. DeJesus just ain't that good, has little power and doesn't project too well as a corner OF.
and....
Bret Gardner is as good as Nate McLouth right now except he's younger, faster, cheaper, better defensively and will steal something like 30 or 40 more bases. McLouth will probably hit more HR's (he's only done it 1 yr) but might have less 2B's & 3B's. He does project better (than DeJesus) as a corner OF (if the power wasn't a fluke).
Either guy would be more interesting if they were FA's but any trade would have to be very favorable. Not likely. They'll want too much.
I think Gardner showed enough in Sept to get a shot at CF. With Damon, Nady and Melky still around and AJax (he's in the AFL for a reason) getting closer there's no reason to panic and use the trade chips on a minor (if at all) upgrade.
Keep in mind, to build a core like the Yanks of the 90's, you have to give guys a chance and try to raise the kids up right. The days of trading away the farm and plugging the holes with money are (supposed to be) gone.

Charlie said...

Peter,

It is good you get your ideas out. Even if you disagree with our writing it makes a better blog when our readers comment

so keep it up

Mike NYY said...

Didn't the Yankees of the '90's pull off smart trades as well. Could you imagine them without Paul O`Neill? They gave guys chances but they also were willing to give up guys from time to time.

Nate said...

Wow, citing fielding percentage and batting average as legitimate stats, then a "clogging up the bases" mention? Impressive.

Peter Lacock said...

Interesting you bring up O'Neill. I was kind of thinking Xavier Nady could be like him. Not great at anything, but solid, all around competitors. They're at similar points in their careers and their numbers are also somewhat similar. We got O'Neill for Roberto Kelly straight up so if we can get McLouth or DeJesus for Gardner or Melky straight up, heck throw in Igawa, then I'm all for it but as I said, they'll want too much. Maybe Cashman can put something together.
In the interim, I can be OK with Gardner playing good defense in CF and if he can learn to hit above the Dunn line (not hard), he'll steal 50 bases and score 100 runs while batting 9th (not too bad).

Anonymous said...

Pretty good opinions but the yanks do not need to sign blake or dunn. I would concentrate on signing CC and Lowe. I would find a stopgap at first base if Tex can't be signed ( i don't think throwing all that money is a great idea anyway) I would like to see them wait until next year and give pujols a signed blank check. I would also like to make an attempt at prying Sizemore away from the Indians. Its a long shot but if they wanted hughes and Kennedy I might do it. there's a possibility that the Rockies would move holliday for a package includine Cano, but then you need a second baseman and I don't think Hudson is the answer.
I nderstand that there is NO WAY that all of these moves could be done but the yanks definately need to make some of them.

Anonymous said...

Roberto kelly at the time was valued more than Brett Gardner is now, be reasonable man.

Mike NYY said...

Brett Gardner is a guy who generally projects as a Juan Pierre type player with more plate disciplince. DeJesus or McLouth are MUCH better. I agree with the Nady/O`Neill comparison (although O`Neill was better). However, you`ve got to give to get. Kelly was a good player and Tabata is still a good prospect, along with the other lesser prospects. Not every trade is an Abreu type salary dump where C.J. Henry is the centerpiece to the deal.

The Pirates will demand to much for McLouth (Cano) but the Royals may be reasonable with DeJesus.

Can gardner steal 50 bases if he can't get on base? Again, he projects as Juan Pierre. Gardner is not going to hit 40 homers and get an above .400 OBP. To compare Brett Gardner to Adam Dunn is just ridiculous. You can;t have a hole like that in the outfield. Also, you need to consider depth. Matsui and Damon are sure to get hurt. You want Melky back in the lineup? We saw what it was like to go with a defense first guy for a year in Melky and it didn't work out that well.

Mike NYY said...

Anonymous, I disagree with a lot of those things.

First of all, who is that stop-gap? Juan Miranda is the best they have in the organization and you don't want him for a year.

Grady Sizemore isn't coming to New York. You can forget about that.

I don't know why you would do a Holliday trade. Essentially you`re pishing Damon or Matsui to first base. Why not just sign Dunn or Texiera?

Peter Lacock said...

Who is comparing Gardner to Dunn? Why would anyone compare Gardner to Dunn? One is CF, the other a beer league reject.

Charlie said...

Peter,

Are you really J.P. Riccardi?

Paul said...

Hm, a couple thoughts. First off, McLouth is a very talented prospect - much better than Melky or Gardner. I'd enjoy seeing a guy with his fire in pinstripes, I'm a big fan of him, but he isn't coming here anytime soon unless we part with a good player.

Secondly, I don't think Dunn is the answer. I don't understand why we part with Giambi to go after Dunn. Do I think Dunn is better than Giambi? Definitely. But do I think Dunn is the solution at first base? Nope. He's another sub-par defensive player who I wouldn't trust with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth or ninth inning. I watched the ALDS with particular interest because of Teixeira being a free agent, and I really respect the guy. I know he won't be cheap, but I think he's the right guy for the job. He has all the tools, both with the bat and with the glove.

I think LF can be Damon's territory, and he can share it with Gardner if he needs to stay fresh as he gets older. I think Nady can hold down RF. I worry that he won't be great - he was way above his career averages last year - but I think he'll be good enough to hold a spot in the bottom half of the line-up and improve defensively over Abreu. And as for CF? I don't think Cameron's a major health concern, but I don't think he's the best option. I like the idea of getting DeJesus until Jackson's ready, but I'd rather grab an inexpensive FA and hold onto the prospects, if possible. I don't know who'd they get besides Cameron, and I don't love Cameron much anyway, but I think out of the FA pool, Cameron would be the guy.

Lastly, for the SP, I think CC ends up in the Bronx, but I'm not sold on Lowe like the rest of you are. Lowe's last two years in Boston ended with a 4.47 ERA and a 5.42 ERA. Yes he looked good this year, but he's old and he feasted on offensively atrocious NL West teams. I'd rather grab a guy like Burnett, who would probably be cheaper, younger, and better than Lowe. And I think Burnett is coming around health-wise. A rotation of CC, Wang, Joba, Burnett and Pettitte with Hughes in the wings is a great staff.

So, in conclusion, I'd sort priorities this way:

1. CC
2. Tex
3. Burnett
4. Cameron

Giambi goes, Pudge goes, and while I do like him, Abreu goes too.

That's another $200M payroll though...

Mike NYY said...

Burnett's injury troubles worry me. Lowe`s periphereals were very good in the AL East. He appeared to be getting very unlucky. The Yankees have been killed by iunjuries the past few years. They`ve always overcome them up until this past year. However, they need to either get younger or get a better bench. For now while they`re transitioning, they need both.

Cameron is absolutely a mjor health concern he`s gotten injured year after year. He`s also mediocore at this point. I definitely like the idea of trading for a cheap, fairly young guy like DeJesus. Sometimes they need to give up a few of those question mark prospects for a sure thing like DeJesus. I just don't see how they can get back to winning with a major hole in centerfield again with so many injury risks on the team. Gardner will certainly get playing time. Their will be injuries and Gardner can fill the holes they leave.

Generally though, I agree with you. Its hard to believe but with so many bad contracts on the team its hard to get the payroll to where the Yankees want it.

Paul said...

Hm, I'm looking at Lowe's two final years in Boston...

In 2003, in 4 starts against the Yanks, the team hit .317 off of him. In 2004, in 5 starts, the Yankees hit .354 against him. In 2003, in 4 starts the Blue Jays hit .366 off of Lowe. And, in 2004, in 4 starts the Orioles hit .355 off of him.

I'm not questioning the numbers you're looking at, but those numbers aren't pretty, and I can't see how five years of age would make them look any better. Hitting 200 IP in 5 of his past 7 seasons is awesome, but I still think that Lowe would be a 10-10 pitcher with an ERA around 5 and he's going to cost a lot more than what numbers like that should cost. He's past his prime, I think the Yanks should pass.

Mike NYY said...

Yeah but BA is heavily affected by BABIP (which means luck)

Look at his DIPS stats like K/BB or GB%. They were very good.

I would see him pitching around 200 innings with an ERA either slightly above or below 4.00 with the Yankees.

Anonymous said...

Very nicce!