Posted by: Chris Cue
5:30am Tues, 11/24/09
If there is one thing that can be said of Baseball’s off season it’s that it’s filled with questions. “What will my team do?”, “Will we pay what is needed to land that guy?”, “Will they try to resign that player?” “Can we trade for so and so?” and on and on and on. There’s plenty of speculation to be sure. Equally as sure is that most of what we read is nothing more than that….speculation. So, at least during this point of the non-playing season, we all have equal ground to work on when it comes to “What I think will happen” types of conversations. With that in mind, let’s take a look at several area’s that may or may not affect the Red Sox and other AL East teams.
We’ll start out with an article that perked my interest in where the Red Sox and Yankees might stand in the hunt for Doc Halladay’s services. The article (HERE) in today’s Herald by John Tomase states: “The Yankees and Red Sox are expected to be at the forefront of trade
discussions (for Halladay) with rookie general manager Alex Anthopoulos. The Sox have
more to offer, however, because they can dangle potential
front-of-the-rotation starter Clay Buchholz.”
Now, being the Red Sox homer that I am, I would love to believe that is the case. However, when you step back and attempt to take a non-biased look at the situation, I’m not sure the Sox do have it over the Yankees because of Buchholz. Personally, as of today, I would take Clay over either Joba or Phil Hughes, but just because Clay may be considered a notch above (for now), you have to remember it’s going to be a package of players that lands Halladay….not just a single pitcher. The Jay’s needs for next season if they move Doc are going to be: Starting Pitching, a Catcher and a Short Stop. While the Red Sox can fill the Starting Pitching spot with Clay, we fall a little short in the Catcher and Short Stop positions as far as ML ready players go. Of course, it may not be necessary for either team to fill immediate needs for the Jay’s. It could be a matter of what the Jay’s see as future needs too. It appears to me that both the Sox and Yanks may be a little closer in available talent then Tomase gives credit for. As always, it will boil down to which team is willing to give up the needed talent to land Halladay. Recent history tells me that both Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman are rather shy about giving up the kids they develop, but for the opportunity to sign Halladay long term (if the Jay’s provide such a window to negotiate an extension ), we may see more of a willingness then we have in the past to trade some kids. Stay tuned to this one.
The other curiosity I have also is in regards to Starting Pitching. While the Sox do appear to have a set rotation already in place, there’s no doubt that Theo is going to want to add depth to it in case of injury or flat out ineffectiveness. But will he (or the Yankees) be interested in a front of the rotation starter this off season?
I started wondering how much next years crop of available Starting Pitchers will
determine what we do and don’t do this year. I think a case could be
made that both the Sox and Yanks made decisions long before last years off season
that allowed each team to be in the Teixeira race when he became available.
So, I’m wondering how much the crop of available starting pitchers next
year will determine what teams do this off season.
Take a look at a few of the names that are slated to become Free Agents next off season
and there are a number of 2nd tier guys available too like:
Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez and others
By the way,
not only are all of those guys slated to become Free Agents next year, that list doesn’t include some guys that may be available via trade. For
instance, the Marlins by their recent actions may have opened up the possibility that Josh Johnson
could be available via trade next off season. Of course the Marlin’s didn’t come
right out and say he would be available, but they failed to sign the kid to an extension
and opted to go year to year for his last 2 Arbitration eligible seasons that
they have him under control (2010 & 2011). That would appear to
make him trade bait next off season, so we may be able to throw his name on that list too. We’ll have to see about that
because Marlin’s have been known to hang on to guys and just get draft picks
when they leave instead of trading them. However, it seems safe to assume there is at least a
very good possibility he’ll be shopped.
That’s a pretty good
crop of potential available starting pitchers next year which is why I’m
wondering if teams may have an eye on that and be a little shy of
locking up someone less desirable long term this year. In other words,
let’s say that neither the Red Sox or Yankees show interest in John Lackey this
off season, I’m thinking that next years available pitchers may have
something to do with it.
Just a thought…..and of course, it adds more questions.
Cheers and Go Baseball!
Posted by Chris Cue
6:05am Sun, 11/22/09
OK, here’s my long awaited 2 cents on who and what the
Yankees may do this off season…
(OK, I know nobody was really waiting, but my Mother in
Law may read this and she likes to think I’m important, so go with me on this one OK? 🙂
Keep in mind, I’m no expert on all things Yankee and I’m not
trying to pretend to be one….(heck, I don’t think I’m the definitive “go to
guy” on the Sox either for that matter), so this is just an outsider
looking in and taking a rookie stab at what my gut tells me so others can
ridicule it. Here we go…..
The Yanks don’t have a lot of holes to fill, but the one’s they do have are
1). Left field would seem to be the priority, but #2 IMO is close….depending.
The Yanks have 3 options to them for LF the way I see it. They could resign
Damon on a 2 year deal, They could promote from within (seems doubtful this
year, but maybe next?) or they could go the FA route and make a run at
either Holliday or Bay. My gut tells me Damon is option #1 as far as preference
goes, but they aren’t going to be shy about telling him “take this or we’re
moving on”. The point is, the Yankees are not going to allow Boras to drag this
on so that he can use the Yankees name in conjunction with Holliday. The Yanks
are going to want to nail this down before the other options are signed. In the
end, Damon will go where the money is no matter what he say’s. You have to
remember he won a title in Boston and was reportedly happy there too…..and he
still left for the payday the Yanks provided. I see no reason for his attitude
in that department to change. Still, unless a team like the White Sox gets
involved and offers him more, I’d bet the Yanks offer will be the best one he
gets and he will return. I’d also expect that move (if it happens) will be
made long before Holliday or Bay signs else where.
My prediction: Damon returns for a 2 year deal because the Yankees will
make the best offer and Boras will have to play the Holliday field w/o the
Yanks being involved. (a sparsely attended pity party for him then ensues…:-)
2). Setup Man. If Andy returns and if the Yanks are content with both Hughes and Joba in
the rotation (there is a good case for that one being debatable.), then
I think priority #2 will be on getting that bridge to Mariano….at least IMO it
should be #2. I don’t have a particular player in mind to fill that role,
mostly because the FA market (Soriano, Gonzalez, etc,.), the trade
market and even a promotion from within could deliver any number of guys who could end up with the Setup role in NY.
I have the feeling that if the starting rotation above is acceptable, then this
is where Cashman may spend a good deal of time. Until Hughes was brought up last year, the BP was a weakness for the Yanks and I’m sure they will try to address that if Hughes now ends up in the rotation.
My “outside the box” prediction: (get ready to laugh) I’ll throw
a long shot out here just for giggles……After Wagner declines the Sox offer of
Arbitration (which he will) and after he sees the money he may get from
other teams considering they are surrendering draft picks, I don’t think it out
of the realm of possibility that the Yanks could make him an attractive one
year deal to set up for Mo. I know that’s a stretch, but I think if that option
was out there the Yanks might be able to talk Wagner into it. Like I said….it’s
a long shot….but what good is a crystal ball if you can’t make stupid predictions
3). Pitching, Pitching, Pitching. The 64 thousand dollar question is: Do the
Yanks feel good enough with what they already have in place or are they looking
to buy or perhaps make a deal? Well, they did fine with what they had last
year, but expecting health for an entire season with your starting staff is a
gamble. There may also be other factors at work here that I alluded to in the
Red Sox predictions I made. For instance, if say the Sox get seriously involved
in the Doc Halladay sweepstakes, then I don’t think the Yanks will stand idle
and let that happen w/o putting in an offer or 2 of their own. Let’s take that
one step further and pretend the Sox do indeed manage to land Halladay. Does
anyone think that the Yanks will just let that go w/o a counter move? What if that
happens and Lackey is still out there unsigned? I’m not convinced that the
Yanks are interested in giving him the years and money he’s looking for, but
I’m also not stupid enough to think that they can’t do it if they want. We
could just as easily turn that entire situation around and play the “what if”
game on the Sox should the Yanks land Halladay, but this is my sillyYankee’s
prediction so I’ll save that one…for now 🙂
I’m also not sold on the idea that
the Yankees feel comfortable with both Joba & Hughes in the rotation even
if Andy does return. Personally, I think both of these kids deserve a shot, but I’m also
sure that if the Yanks go that way, Cashman will be looking for some quality
insurance to back it up, so he may very well be in the Sheets, Harden type hunt
My prediction: All hell breaks loose as soon as the Sox show clear
intentions to trade for Halladay. Absent of that, I think the Yanks will go
with what they have in CC, AJ, Andy (who I’m betting returns) and give
the kids a shot w/some veteran back up plans in place just in case.
4). DH. Will Matsui return? My gut say’s no and here’s why. I think the Yanks
have plenty of options to work a rotating DH into their plans for next year.
While I’m sure they will have someone on their bench that looks like the
everyday DH, my gut tells me that whoever that is will have on the field duties
assigned to him as well. With Damon back, with Posada behind the plate and the
option to rest guys like A-Rod and Tex by letting them DH, the Yanks don’t need
to clog the DH spot with somebody who can only serve in that limited role.
My prediction: Too bad for Hideki. He’s one of the guys that play for the Yanks that I can truly say I like and respect. I have the feeling Matsui gets thanked for his time and the Yanks make no
concerted effort to fill a FT DH spot.
I’m sure there is a lot more that can be covered, but I think I’ve probably ruffled
enough feathers with this….
Enjoy and as always, Go Baseball!