The Hot Stove

 

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There are rumors swirling already over what the Yankees might do this offseason. Some of the latest rumors have Curtis Granderson coming to the Yankees in a trade. Others have Chone Figgins and Mike Cameron coming to the Bronx. Yet another has the Yankees parting ways with Chien-Ming Wang and him heading west to Seattle.  However, those are just rumors. At this point that is all anyone is going to get. What I can do is examine what I think is best for the Yankees. I am sure once I give my opinions the Yankee brass will be able to sleep at night but either way here are my thoughts.

The Yankees first and foremost have to decide what to do with the three big free agents currently on their roster. Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Andy Pettitte are free agents and Brian Cashman has to decide what he wants to do.  Cashman wants to go younger and more athletic all the way around and that doesn’t bode well for the World Series MVP. Damon has a loud mouth agent who is claiming Damon is like Pete Rose and Willie Mays late in their careers. Andy Pettitte is coming off one of the best postseasons in recent memory and is a member of the “core four.” Big decisions to say the very least.

If Cashman was smart which remains to be seen he would resign Damon for one year with a possible team option in the second year. My good friend Mike Rook is more excited about this second year option then I am. I would say offer a one year deal first, somewhere in the five to seven million dollar mark. If Damon’s agent Scott Boras Balks then come back with the second year option. Damon still has a really good bat and Yankee Stadium fits him perfectly. He can DH more next year and play left field less and less.  As for Matsui, he is World Series MVP with out a doubt but his time in Pinstripes should be over. His legs are shot and next year it will be worse. This is the best opportunity to move him out and ease Posada into the DH role.  Posada is going to have to move out from behind the plate as his lack of defense was apparent towards the end of last season. Which on a side note is exactly why Molina needs to be resigned ASAP.  As for Pettitte, Cashman would be foolish to not resign him. Pettitte was 4-0 in the postseason winning the clinching game in every series.  I think that he will for another one year deal. The only thing that will keep Pettitte from coming back for another season is Andy Pettitte. Pettitte will come back though and will have another solid third starter type of season.  His ability in the postseason is invaluable.

Now that we have squared the current free agents away let’s take a look at the Market.  I am in the minority but almost everything the Yankees need is already on the team.  A ton of people say go get a Matt Holiday or Jason Bay and I disagree. Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner are perfect for this Yankee team. They are young and solid in the field. Melky was arguably the most clutch hitter the Yankees had during the regular season. Leave center field the way it is.  What the Yankees need to do is go out and get a serviceable outfielder. A Mike Cameron or Chone Figgins. Figgins could spell Alex Rodriguez at third as well as spell Johnny Damon in left. Mike Cameron would be ideal. He is cheaper and can play center field. This can shift Damon to DH while Posada catches and Left can be played by either Gardner or Cabrera. Perfect fit.

The pitching is another solid aspect of this Yankee team. Phil Hughes has found a home in the bullpen but the Yankees see him as a starter. The same goes for Joba Chamberlain. I think Hughes could be an effective starter for years to come. As for Joba, he should stay in the bullpen. At the end of the postseason including his perfect inning in game 6 of the World Series he got his fast ball back.  The fast ball was hitting 97 on the gun at that point. Hopefully the powers to be keep him where he belongs and that is bridging the gap between the starter and Mariano Rivera. If Wang can come back healthy and he has the go from Dr. James Andrews the starting rotation looks like this; CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte (if resigned) Wang, and Phil Hughes. That my friends could be one of the best rotations in baseball.

Hopefully the Yankees will stick to their guns and continue to bring along young talent and find the answers at home. They can’t break the bank every year and expect that to work. When the Yankees do that most times they end up with Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa and Jaret Wright rather then AJ, CC, and Teixeira. Last year they hit gold with their free agents. This year they need to take care of the free agents they have on the current roster and say goodbye to the ones they no longer need. If they do that they could easily be looking at back to back world championships.

By Michael “Genevosey” Genovese

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