Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Centerfield Issues- A Guest Post

Now that the Yankee’s have shored up their starting pitching with two great talents, and signed a true first baseman for the next eight years I have been wondering what we are planning on “really doing” about our glaring hole in centerfield?  We have more than enough corner outfielders but no true centerfielder to patrol that so important area for us for the next year and the many to follow.  I realize a lot of us are waiting for a prospect by the name of Austin Jackson to be our regular centerfielder, but I also realize he is young and is still developing his trait.  Personally as a Yankee fan I don’t like seeing prospects rushed through the system per say in order to fill holes like we did with Cano and Wang; which we must ALL ADMIT AS YANKEE FANS that we were EXTREMELY LUCKY with!!!  I keep reading that Jackson should be ready to deliver for the big club by ’10, but I still don’t see that being an absolute certainty.  Plus I must admit I am one who likes to have options, and at this point I don’t see any other option in our minor league system at this position but him!  Wouldn’t it behoove us to possibly trade some of our corner outfield talent and possibly some our pitching talent (which we get good reviews of so often these days) and trade for another centerfielder/centerfield prospect.  I know this would make me feel a LOT MORE COMFORTABLE about our situation going ahead!  Personally if I had my druthers I would be pursuing a player such a Cameron Maybin from the Florida Marlins who are ALWAYS willing to deal players, but I do realize they are much more willing when they are due their “pay day” than while still being under their control!  I think we have more than enough talent in terms of developed/experienced players and prospects to make such a move, and secure our future centerfielder for the next ten years with such a bold move.  Thus making it more and more of a smarter move as the clock ticks closer to spring training for us!  Then again perhaps I am just another “over worried” Yankee fan/fanatic who wants/expects too much of his team???

Jason

OH NO? More Like - Yeah, Right!

NEWS FLASH!!!!!

RED SOX INTERESTED IN TRADING FOR HANLEY RAMIREZ, ALBERT PUJOLS, THE 2000 VERSION OF RANDY JOHNSON AND IN REINCARNATING TED WILLIAMS CIRCA 1958.

C'mon! What an obviously lame attempt to placate the fan base!

Update - Even Bosox butt-boy Peter Gammons admits that the conversation lasted about 20 seconds and was shot down immediately by the Marlins.

"Ten days after the GM meetings, Epstein called Marlins GM Larry Beinfest and asked him if he were interested in trading Hanley Ramirez for a package including Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz. "No," replied Beinfest. End of discussion. "The entire conversation," says one club official, "lasted all of 20 seconds, a week before Thanksgiving."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Yankees and Homegrown Talent

The backlash from the signing of CC, AJ and Tex has been pretty severe and the argument I hear from many Mets and Red Sox fans is that the Yankees simply are buying a championship. Also, they say how could it be enjoyable with no homegrown talent on the Yankee roster? Well perception is not reality;

Yankee Rotation - CC, Wang*, Burnett, Hughes*, Joba* - 3 homegrown starters
Mets Projected Rotation - Johan, Lowe, Pelfrey*, Maine, Perez - 1 Homegrown starter
Red Sox Rotation - Beckett, Dicek, Lester*, Penny, Wakefield - 1 Homegrown starter

Yankee Lineup - Damon, Jeter*, Teixera, Arod, Matsui, Nady, Posada*, Cano*, Melky* - 4 Homegrown Regulars
Mets Lineup - Reyes*, Castillo, Beltran, Wright*, Delgado, Church, Murphy*, Schnieder - 3 Homegrown Regulars
Red Sox Lineup - Ellsbury*, Pedroria*, Youkilis*, Ortiz, Bay, Drew, Lowell, Varitek, Lowrie* - 4 Homegrown Regulars

Yankee Bench - Swisher, Molina, Ransom*, Gardner* - 2 Homegrown Backups
Mets Bench- Tatis, Castro, Anderson, Evans* - 1 Homegrown Backup
Red Sox Bench- Lugo, Bard*, Van Every*, Cora - 2 Homegrown Backups

Yankee Bullpen - Rivera*, Marte, Bruney, Veras, Ramirez, Robertson*, Coke* - 3 Homegrown Relievers
Mets Bullpen - KRod, Putz, Sanchez, Feliciano, Robertson, Smith*, Stokes - 1 Homegrown Reliever
Red Sox Bullpen - Papelbon*, Delcarmen*, Okajima, Lopez, Aardsma, Ramirez, Masterson* - 3 Homegrown Relievers

Total Homegrown Players
Yankees - 12

Mets - 6
Red Sox - 10

So even "buying" three players this offseason the Yankees will have significantly more homegrown players on their opening day roster then the Mets and a couple more the the Red Sox. It just shows you that perception is not always reality.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

DEAL WITH IT

So our plan for utter world domination is complete - signing Teixeira adds the last piece to the '09 puzzle and the Canyon of Heroes should once again be awash in Yankee confetti this November.

Let's get one thing straight - this is not simply the Yanks trying to 'buy' a championship. This is NOT the Stein-crew opening the wallet for a free agent frenzy. As much as the rest of MLB and the media whine and cry about it, the Yanks' signing of CC, AJ and Tex is nothing short of superior money management. Replacing the $80+million of past-their-prime declining stars with $60-ish million of players aged 28, 29 and 31 is not a spending spree, and it certainly is not recklessly throwing money around.

The Yankees, through an awesome game plan and exceptional execution, have replenished their team with higher quality, YOUNGER players while spending LESS money then last year's payroll.

Is it pure chance that we have all of this payroll coming off in a talent-rich free agency year? I think not.

Bask in our awesomeness all you lesser minds and managers. Prepare once again to be dominated by the hated Yankees - as our plan is complete and all of your whining and calls for a salary cap won't help your team now!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Manny or Tex?

With the pitching portion of our off season plan for world domination nearing completion (pending only the inevitable Pettitte re-signing), it's time to turn our attention to the offense.

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. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yankes Still in on Texiera and Manny?

According to the NY post they are;

"According to several baseball officials, the Yankees remain in the Mark Teixeira hunt. But the same connected voices insist if the Yankees don't land the switch-hitting first baseman, they will turn their money toward controversial slugger Manny Ramirez.

"If they can't get Teixeira, they are right there on Manny," an official with knowledge of the Yankees' plan said yesterday. "

This is good news. The Yankees need another bat. I would prefer Tex but Manny can flat out hit.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Remaining Moves Seem Obvious

The Yankees now have 4/5 of their rotation set with CC, Wang, AJ and Joba. Also, 2b, SS, 3B, LF, RF, DH, and C are all set. The bullpen is also set with Mo followed by a cast of thousands. So the three remaining spots are a starter, 1b and cf. The way I see it the Yankees have two options;

Option 1 - Total Additional Cost 20 million(1o for Cameron and 10 for Andy)
Trade for Cameron, Use Swisher at 1B and sign Andy Pettite(12m)

Option 2 - Total Additional Cost 20 million (all for Texiera)
Use Melky/Gardner, sign Texiera and let Hughes, Kennedy and Aceves fight it our for the last spot.

So the cost is equal so which would be more productive? Lets compare the offense first. I am going to use Bill James' projections for 2009 for the comparison.

Option 1 - Cameron(.237/.325/.759) and Swisher(.240/359/.810)
Option 2 - Texiera (.299/.397/956) and Melky(.271/.337/.731)

Now I understand how bad Melky was in the second half but if you substitute Gardner for Melky at times a CF with an OPS of low .700s with good defense is reasonable to expect. Even with that poor production in CF the Texiera/Melky combo is far superior with better defense.

And the pitching-
Andy Pettite - 12-10 3.90, 192 IP
Phil Hughes - 9-5 3.35, 125 IP
Andy is a safer bet but Hughes has more upside for next year.

One other thing, the ages
Option 1 Andy(37), Cameron(36) and Swisher(28)
Option 2 Texiera(28), Melky (23), Hughes(22)

So for about equal if not better production and the same cost you get a group with more upside that is far younger. So why are the Yankees out of the Texeria sweepstakes? The fear of having too many long term contracts should be offset a bit by Matsui and Damon coming off the books next year. Also, the Yankees have no 1b prospects to speak of and the free agent market in 09 and 2010 and completely void of potential answers.

The answer seems obvious to me. Let's hope Cashman sees the light before its too late.

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