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!
Posted by Chris Cue
8:00 am Sat, 11/21/09
Hello again! Having recently crawled out from underneath the rock I’ve been hiding, I thought it might be a good time to start talking Hot Stove Baseball. Now that all the free agents are allowed to discuss their future with teams other than the one they played for last season, getting some predictions in now before things start to happen seems like a good way to make a fool of yourself….sooo, being the glutton for punishment that I am, here you go.
Let’s start off with the Red Sox. I’ll be happy to tick off some of my evil empire friends later with some Yankees predictions, but for now I’ll tackle the hometown team.
I should mention that I’ll be impressed with myself (from a prediction standpoint) if
even one of these predictions comes to pass….(I don’t have a great track record in this dept. 🙂 With
that in mind, here’s what I think has a good chance of going down.
I think the ground work to resign Bay is already in place. The caveat
to the current situation is nobody is yet sure what else may be out
there for him. As long as years or dollars don’t get too stupid (the
Sox won’t go 5/85), I think he’ll be back in Boston. I have no
predictions regarding what may go down if that doesn’t happen except to
say I don’t think the Sox will be players to sign Holliday. He has the wrong agent, there is too much
money required, too many years and too many questions about what he may or may
not bring that will keep the Sox out of that race IMO.
2). Even if the
Sox do land Bay, I believe the FO thinks we still need another bat
(thus their pursuit of Tex last year). Therefore, I’m pretty sure that
they will go hard after Gonzalez if Hoyer indeed makes him available.
However, I DON’T think that they will be successful there. I think
there are too many obstacles in the way for that deal to go down. (I could
give a lengthy list but won’t unless asked) Because there appears to be a lack of
premium players with bats on the trade/FA market coupled with the fact
that the Sox currently have limited spots to put a player like that in,
I think the Sox will turn to another area that could be addressed to
strengthen the team and that’s Pitching.
3). While the Sox
starting rotation appears to be set, we have several issues going
forward that could be addressed now if they choose to do so. Becketts a
FA next year, There are uncertainties with Dice-K and Wakefield’s health
issues are all questions the Sox have to think about now and with an eye on
the future as well. No matter what, the Sox will be signing one or two
insurance pitchers that they hope will have bounce back years (Sheets,
Harden, etc…types), but I’ll go on record now saying that after their
interest in Gonzalez is shot down, they will go just as hard after Doc
Halladay. Lot’s of moving pieces to that kind of deal too, but in this
case I think the Sox may have a better shot at landing him as opposed
to landing Gonzalez. It may never happen, but I really think the
interest is there and that the Sox will be motivated. The big obstacle
with that one? LOL take a guess……The New York Yankees. I don’t think Cashman
will just roll over and let the Sox get Doc without making them pay big
time. In fact, I think the Yanks may have an even better chance to land
Doc if they should decide to go that route themselves. This could very well be the
big Sox-Yanks battle of the off season…..it at least appears to have
all of that kind of framework in place. We’ll have to see.
Once again (i’m sorry to say), I don’t see the Sox going long term to
fill the SS position. I think there may have been some interest in JJ
Hardy, but since he is now signed I think we’re looking at another stop
gap player. I’d like to think that Gonzo would be back, but from what
Ive read a sticking point may be that he’d like more than just a one year deal. I also think the Sox
would consider Marco Scutaro, but not for the length of time he’s
looking for either. There could be a trade out there that Theo is
looking at, but short of that I think Gonzo will be a Sox player in
2010. I say that only because the SS market doesn’t look like it’s
going to give him a 2 or 3 year contract so he may very well settle for
a 4MM one year deal in Boston….which is something I think they’d
5). Billy Wagner. I don’t think he’ll be back in a setup role.
I believe all the “I may accept arbitration” talk was only a rouse that
attempted to make the Sox gun shy in offing him that. Can’t say as I
blame Wagner or his agent for floating that one. Wagner is a lot more attractive to other teams if draft picks aren’t
involved, but I think the Sox will stick to their guns and offer him
Arb. At that point, he’ll turn it down and wind up closing for someone
at less than he would have made via arbitration…..It’ll be “Varitek
Part 2” if you know what I mean. I think the Sox will be content having
Bard and Oki for setup to Paps. The middle relief guys is where the
action might be. Tough to call who and what goes on there because some
of what we currently have may end up being trading pieces (DelCarmen
& maybe Ramirez). I’m fairly comfortable saying the back end of the
Sox BP will be Oki, Bard, Papelbon. Absent a trade, DelCarmen &
Ramirez will most likely be back so it’s guys like Wagner and Saito
that will be the possible holes to fill. That’s going to be a challenge
if our BP is once again going to be considered a strength. The glaring
hole I see is absent Masterson, the Sox don’t have a long man. We’re
going to need one.
I have more, but this is already enough hot air. For discussion purposes only, I’ll put my 2 cents in regarding The Yankees later. For now, let the criticisms begin 🙂
Cheers & Go Baseball!