Rumors abound about every available player (and some not so available). The question is - what should we do?
The 2 players in the free agent pool that would best satisfy our needs are obviously Mark Teixeira and the man-child formerly of the Dread Sox, Manny Ramirez. Tex will cost something in the area of 8 to 10 years and in excess of $20mm per; being significantly older and coming with a lot of baggage, Manny's market is somewhat more limited and therefore relatively cheaper.
The Dodgers have been reported as the most likely destination for Manny as his performance in LA post-trade was insane. Manny posted a .396 BA with 17 HR and 57 RBI in 57 games with the Dodgers; his .489 OBP and 783 slugging % translated into an obscene OPS+ of 219. Dodgers' fans are demanding Ned Colletti bring Manny back.
I believe that a 3 year, $70mm contract would be sufficient to get Manny to the Bronx.
Being represented by Scott Boris, however, makes signing either Manny or Teixeira an even bigger challenge than just the incredible dollars.
So the choices are Tex for 8 years and $165mm, or Manny for 3 years and $70mm.
Working in Tex's favor are his age (29 on April 11), and the obvious hole we have to fill at 1B. The downside to Tex is the length of the contract. An 8 to 10 year deal comes with significant risk both in terms of dollars and roster flexibility.
If we are looking at the short term, I think Manny would be the better signing. Bringing him in to NY, his home town, and allowing him the opportunity to help inflict damage upon the team that both embarrassed him and traded him away would motivate Manny to the performance level we saw in LA (330/45/140)...for at least the first year. Thereafter, if all we were to get the last 2 years was typical Manny production (300/30/120) I think we could live with that.
Imagine the lineup of:
Jeter - SS
Damon - CF
Arod - 3B
Manny - RF
Hmat - DH
Nady - LF
Posada - C
Cano - 2B
Swisher - 1B
The problem would be Damon's arm and defense in centerfield. A happy, motivated Manny along with an odd-numbered year Arod (check the stats...every other year Arod is MVP) could mean 100 HR and 300 RBI between our 3 and 4 hole hitters; more than enough to compensate for JD in center!
While I am a huge fan of Teixeira, and while I don't think Swisher is a plus answer at 1B, I think I would rather sign Manny. The flexibility and expected short term production make him a more attractive alternative to Tex.