The Yankees future for 2011 and possibly the forseable future is up for grabs in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. If the Bombers sign Lee their rotation looks solid and one would think there is a chance that Andy Pettitte returns. With Lee in the lineup the rotation is solid. You have co number one starters C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee with Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett who has to have a better year than 2010 and you could bring back Pettitte as a 5th man in the rotation to keep him fresh come playoff time. That rotation would look a stellar against a reenergized Red Sox lineup that added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford over the course of the past week. Without Lee, if I was a betting man I would bet my house that Andy retires. What does that really leave the Yanks? C.C. at the top of the rotation would look nice on any team. Phil Hughes and A.J. are big question marks. After them rookies to fill out the rotation? I don’t like my odds against Boston with that rotation. And we all know that Yankee baseball is about two things: beating Boston and winning the World Series. To do B you have to usually do A. If we did A do you really like plan B of the Yankees rotation against Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Colorado, in a World Series matchup? I don’t either.
I just realized I have not posted a blog since Christmas Eve of last year. Guess I really have been busy. Hot Stove season is in full affect. With Carl Crawford signing with the Red Sox, and the Yanks according to Crawford never making an offer, it appears all the Bombers eggs are in Cliff Lee’s basket. It could be coal in Yankees fans hot stove stockings if the Yanks are not able to land Lee. With Cash playing the waiting game on Lee this puts the Yanks in a tough position should they not land Lee. Boston made themselves signifigantly better by trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Crawford. The Red Sox continue to get younger and better while the Yankees sit idle. I hope Cash has a magic trick up his sleeve should Lee return to the Rangers.
After acquiring starting pitcher Javier Vasquez in a trade from the Atlanta Braves, it appears that the Yankees rotation is about set for 2010. Count them out of the Ben Sheets market. While I really thought they would be in the running to sign Sheets, they now appear content with a starting rotation of CC, AJ, Andy, Vasquez, and a 5th starter of either Hughes or Joba. I think Joba will remain in the pen and Hughes will be the 5th starter. Cashman also stated this week that filling the hole in left field will “not be a big name.” So with that said will the Yanks agree to terms with Damon? Will it be DeRosa? The Yanks seem content not spending this holiday season even with big name free agent Matt Holiday still available. Is this a sign of the times that even the powerful Yankees are not spending? Is it in preperation for next season when the Yanks will have to give big money to Jeter and Mo and make a run at possible free agent Cliff Lee? I guess we will have to wait and see. One thing is clear however, the Bombers seem content to not spend this holiday season.
With Roy Halladay apparently headed to the Phillies and John Lackey inking a 5 year deal with the Red Sux the Yankees will have to look at Ben Sheets if they hope to add another starter this off season. Sheets is a risk coming back from injury but could bring big rewards if he returns to form. Sheets was the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team in 2008 but spent last season on the shelf. It appears Mike Cameron who the Yanks were looking at to fill a hole in left field should Damon not resign will sign a two year deal with the Sux. As for Damon, it appears highly unlikely that a deal will get done with the Bombers since the Yankees are in the 2 year 7.5 million per season range and Bor “***” seems to think Damon should get 3 years at 13 million per season. 13 million is a whole lot of money for a player that doesn’t seem to have any interest from any other clubs. And from the DH front it appears Hideki Matsui will sign with the Angels for small potatoes. Surprised that the Yankees didn’t offer him 7-8 million and I believe the Angels will give him a one year 6.5 million dollar deal. Wear does this leave the Yankees? Will they get involved in the Holiday market now that they seem to be in need of a bat? One would have to think that the Yanks aren’t done dealing yet…time will tell.
On Saturday the Yankees failed to offer starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang a contract which made him a free agent. What does this hold for the Yanks rotation? Will Hughes be a starter or will the Yanks look to free agency? This move could pave the way to make the Yanks a player in the John Lackey sweepstakes. Will the Yanks spend money on the free agent pitcher of trade a package of pitchers and prospects to the Jays for Roy Halladay? I don’t know how much I like a trade for Halladay unless the Yankees can sign him to a contract extention. In other news, the Yankees reportedly are offering free agent LF Johnny Damon a 2 year contract worth 18 million but Damon reportedly wants 3 years at no less than 13 milllion per year. With the two sides miles apart I don’t expect to see Damon in pin stripes in 2010. I think the Yankees are a sleeper in the Holliday market and I expect to see them come out of the woodwork in January and sign Hollday to a contract in the 180 million dollar range.
The winter meetings are now in the rear view mirror. It appears my favorite Yankee blogger Jane Heller was right a few weeks ago when she responded to my blog on the Yanks holiday shopping list when she speculated that the Yanks should trade for Curtis Granderson. With the deal official and me having time to digest it I like the move. At first I wasn’t to thrilled about giving up Austin Jackson but tis the price of doing business and winning 27 rings doesn’t come without a price. The Yanks acquire an all-star CF with some power and above average fielding to help bolster the outfield that would look a little bleek if Damon doesn’t return. Rumor has it the Yanks are now negotiating with Damon via Boras but this deal will come at the Yanks price or nothing it seems. Boras can talk all he want about how signing Granderson ups Damon’s value but if the Yanks are going to spend big money don’t you think it will go to Holliday, Lackey, or a sign and trade for Halladay? I think as the days go buy the price of Holliday or trading for Halladay might just come down for the Yanks. One would think the Yanks will also be playing for next hot stove season when Derek Jeter will get a new contract, Cliff Lee will be a free agent, and Roy Halladay if he doesn’t sign a new deal will also be available to the highest bidder. As the Yanks found out from 2001-2008 sluggers are nice but pitching wins rings. It would be pretty nice to introduce the rotation for 2010…CC, AJ, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay. That would give opposing hitters, managers, and most importantly Red Sux fans nightmares!!! In closing, Pettitte resigning is huge. Unless the Yanks sign or trade for another starter Pettitte is the glue that keeps this rotation together. He was huge in the playoffs and we aren’t the same team without him.
Congrats to the Yankees on their 27th World Series Championship. But everyone knows as a Yankees fan that is not a reason to be satisfied. In the words of the Boss “the quest for 28 begins.” The Yankees have some issues to address this offseason. Once again starting pitching is at the forefront of these decisions. The biggest hole will be if Andy Pettitte decides to retire. Andy was huge for us this October and it would be a large loss if he doesn’t come back. Will Wang be back and if so will he be the dominate Wang or last years awful Wang? Does Joba stay in the pen or is he a starter in 2010? Where does Phil Hughes figure into things? Does he start or remain Mo’s setup man? Will the Bombers jump into the free agent pool and snatch up Lackey? Will they surprise everyone and sign Ben Sheets? After pitching Damon and Matsui must be addressed. Damon is rumored to be looking for a 4 year contract and the Yanks are unlikely to give him more than 2. Will they be able to come to an agreement? Damon was awfully big for the Yanks down the stretch. Matsui the World Series MVP also must be addressed. Will they be able to come to terms on money that makes sense for a guy with bad knees? I tend to think Matsui will be back and Damon will be gone. That leaves a big hole in left field but one that could be solved with my “Holiday” wish. Bring Matt Holiday to the Bronx. Could you imagine pitching to Jeter, Holiday, Tex, A-Rod, Matsui, Cano, Posada, Swisher, and Cabrera? Who would you pitch around? Holiday would make the Yanks solid lineup a dynasty line up a Murderer’s Row type lineup. No one could match up with that. And to think we have Austin Jackson in the lineup as our Center Fielder of the future who hit .300 with 24 SB, 65 RBI, and 67 runs scored at AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barro this year. Its good to be a Yankees fan.