Even after doling out huge contracts to Burnett and Sabathia, Cashman still has about 20 million dollars to spend. Their only real hole is in centerfield. However, both Damon and Swisher can handle centerfield, albeit poorly. Lets assume they`re not going to trade for a centerfielder like DeJesus which may ultimately be the best course of action.
We`ve already established Manny just doesn't fit on this team. He`d have a hard time squeezing onto the payroll and probably isn't worth the contract he`ll get anyway. That leaves two big hitters left on the market. Adam Dunn and Mark Texiera.
Mark Texiera is a fantastic hitter and a gold glove level fielder at first base. That combinations is pretty rare. He`s not quite on the level of the Albert Pujols and A-Rods of the world but he`s definitely on that next tier of players. He`s only 29 and has gotten big offers from the Angels, Orioles, Nationals, and Red Sox with the Yankees showing interest.
On the other hand, we have Adam Dunn. All three of us have been in favor of signing this guy for a long time. It still makes a ton of sense. This guy is also a great hitter, not on the same level as Texiera but he`s still a great hitter. The biggest problem with him is his glove. At first base he is on the same level as Giambi. That would allow Swisher to move into left-field though where he is very good. That makes them a wash but Damon in centerfield is a problem and will cost them a couple wins.
Texiera is pretty obviously the better player at face value. However, Texiera is rumored to already have an offer of 160 million dollars over 8 years (20 million per year) from the Nationals with the Red Sox, Angels, and Orioles not far behind. Normally, he`d be worth that type of contract, especially to the Yankees who are going to be on the brink of the playoffs next year. Their's also the added benefit of keeping him away from AL East teams (Boston and Baltimore) and rivals (The Angels and Boston). However, that keeps them from pursuing help in any other area. It means they will go into the year with a bench of Ransom-Gardner-Molina-Cabrera and they will be forced to again put Hughes in the Opening Day rotation.
Dunn makes much more sense to me. The only team that has really expressed interest in him are the Nationals, who are currently the highest bidders for Texiera and have Nick Johnson already at first. He's the backup plan of a few teams but not many. Dunn may have to settle for 3 years at 36 million dollars or maybe even less. He`s only 29 (same age as Texiera) and a 3 year deal would probably get him in the best years of his career at about 12 million dollars a year. For a guy with Dunn's bat, that's a bargain. It also lets them make a few other moves. First of all, they can hold their offer to Andy Pettitte. They also have enough cash to pursue some other interesting names like Rocco Baldelli, Ty Wigginton, Juan Rivera, and Joe Nelson for the bench/bullpen. Rocco Baldelli in particular interests me now that we know more about his condition.
Its a choice between Texiera as the first baseman, Hughes as the 5th starter, Kennedy/Aceves as injury fill-ins, and Brett Gardner/Melky Cabrera as your backup outfielders or Dunn as the first baseman, Pettitte as the 5th starter, Hughes as injury fill-ins and Rocco Baldelli/Brett Gardner as your backup outfielders. Signing Dunn allows them to make a deeper and better team.