The Yankees still has a hole in left field and their options is getting thinner as the days passes by. Free agent slugger Jason Bay is off to the Mets, while utility man Mark DeRosa signed with the Giants. The Yankees are still playing cat and mouse with free agent Johnny Damon and they are not sure if Damon will give in to their offer.
So until now the Yankees still have an open slot in left field. Who will be that man?
Is Reed Johnson the answer in left? Could be. Johnson is not as good as Bay, Holliday or even Damon but he still can contribute. GM Brian Cashman declared that they have only few million dollars left to sign a left fielder ($ 4 million to be exact) and Johnson fits in that salary range.
Last year Johnson has a salary of $ 3 million with the Cubs.
Reed Johnson has no history of any serious injury during his 7 year career in the big leagues and is still on his prime (just turned 33).
Johnson is the right guy for the Yankees budget season in 2010. The plan is to sign Johnson for one year worth $ 2-3 million and let him go next year. Then they can go after Type-A free agent outfielders like steal base king Carl Crawford.
If the Yankees signed him, Johnson can platoon with speedy Gardner in left field and can start against lefties. Hitting against lefties is his specialty. He makes consistent contact and hits well with runners in scoring position. Johnson is an average .282 hitter with some pop.
With a lot of weapons in the Yankees line-up, Johnson just need to hit consistently.... not homers but singles will do to keep the ball rolling. He can be inserted in the 9th hole and give the top of the order guys like Jeter to score an RBI if he is on base.
Defensively, Johnson can play all outfield positions. But he is more suited playing in left and right field. He has range and speed to cover his designated field.
What the Yankees like about Reed Johnson is the way he hustles. His tenacity is exactly what the Yankees need to compliment their stars. Both Johnson and Gardner are hustle type of guys which will bring a new dimension in the Yankees left field position.
Last year the Yankees have Damon in left and his weak arm is a liability in their defense. This year things will be different.
The Yankees have a deep roster and they just need utility guys and 9 hole guys that are able to give "just enough" support to be competitive. Reed Johnson is the type of guy that the Yankees should look on to.
I know it sounds ridiculous for the Yankees to sign high prize free agent Jason Bay. The Yankees already said that they have "only $ 4 million" left to sign an outfielder and they are looking for Type-B free agents.
So far it's only the New York Mets that are really serious in getting Bay. The rumored offer stands at $ 15 million for 5 years.
I don't see the Red Sox to be involved in the Bay sweepstakes since they already signed Mike Cameron for 2 years/$ 15.5 million.
Will it be practical and reasonable for the Yankees to sign Bay. The answer is obvious, it's a no. But what are the pros and cons of bringing Bay to the Yankees. Let's make a study shall we:
GOODBYE TO MAUER AND 2011 FREE AGENT CLASS:
If the Yankees sign Bay they won't have any room to sign quality players like Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Carl Crawford, Jason Werth, Bronson Arroyo, Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb, and Huston Street.
Plus the Yankees have to bring back Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera who will be free agents as well.
The Yankees will have holes in the rotation and catching position in 2011. Left field spot is the least of their priority.
EXCEED THE $ 200 MILLION BUDGET:
The Steinbrenners said to GM Brian Cashman to stick with the $ 200 million payroll budget for the coming 2010 season. If they get Bay ($ 15-16 million annually) they will exceed their budget and will destroy their plan on cutting their expenses. That means the Yankees will go back to their old spending days which might turn their club to a over-prized and aging team.
They don't want to go back to that situation.
A POWERHOUSE LINE-UP:
Just imagine this line-up in 2010 (batting order 1-9): Derek Jeter will lead-off, followed by Curtis Granderson. Then you fill the heart of the line-up with sluggers Mark Teixeira at 3rd, A-Rod in the clean-up spot, and Jason Bay in the 5th. Complete the rest of the line-up with Jorge Posada batting 6th, Robinson Cano in 7th, Nick Johnson at 8th, and Nick Swisher batting last.
There are no holes and weak spot in that line-up. Everybody can hit and capable of hitting home runs. Opposing pitchers will definitely have a nightmare facing the Yankees.
ANOTHER WORLD SERIES TITLE:
The time is now! Win now while the Yankee icons like Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, and Posada are still on their prime. The club should grab this opportunity of winning another championship while guys like A-Rod, Teixeira, and Sabathia are still on board. This don't come around very often. If they have Bay, they definitely get a chance of getting World Series title no. 28.
Who said winning is cheap. If the Yankees want a serious run to another championship they should sign Bay. If things didn't work out they can trade Bay in the middle of the season or at the end of the 2010 season so that they can be active in the 2011 free agent pool.
Like I said, it's more reasonable for the Yankees to be economical and cost-effective. They still have a chance of winning even without Bay.
But the Yankees will have a bigger chance if they have the Canadian around.
If I am the Yankees, I will sign Bay see what happens then trade him if he is not successful. It's worth a shot. It wouldn't hurt to add another power slugger like Jason Bay.
Everybody came to love the "Melk Man" Melky Cabrera. His tenacious defense and strong throwing arm made him a regular outfielder for the Yankees. With Johnny Damon's weak arm and Hideki Matsui's incapability on playing the outfield due to his knees, the Yankees turned to Melky as their regular center fielder.
It's a good thing that Melky fitted well with the Yankees. His defense was there but his offense is just enough to place him at the bottom of the order. He usually plays in the 8th or 9th hole and he provided spark to the ball club. Melky doesn't need to hit home runs and have a high batting average and RBI production since the Yankees are loaded with sluggers that can produce some runs. That is why Melky is a perfect fit with the Yankees.
In 2009, Melky even added another weapon to his resume and that is being "clutch". Melky had 3 walk-off hits in 2009. On April 22, 2009, Cabrera hit the first walk-off hit in the New Yankee Stadium, a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 14th inning, to help the Yankees win 9–7.
On May 15, He hit a walk off single to win the game 5-4. And on May 23, Melky had another walk-off hit, this time a single driving Robinson Cano after Alex Rodriguez hit a two run home run to tie it.
Because of his amazing stellar play Melky won the Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Month of May.
Melky continued playing Mr. Clutch all the way to the post-season. In the ALCS against the LA Angels, he hit an average of .391 as he was one the Yankee who was responsible in putting away the Angels for good.
What will I miss about Melky is his "fun antics" out in the baseball field where he usually jumps for joy with a "jumping high five" whenever the Yankees make a stellar play or if they win the game. He and Robinson Cano started that "thing" which rub out to all the players in the roster. Melky brings a fun and relax chemistry to the Yankees. He will be missed.
But baseball is a business and the Yankees know for sure that they need to improve every year to remain competitive and hopefully win another World Series title. With the Curtis Granderson acquisition from a trade, the Yankees have an outfield logjam that has Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Jamie Hoffmann. The Yankees are thinking that they have flexibility to trade one outfielder (Gardner or Melky) for a starting pitcher.
So they did exactly that by trading Melky plus others to the Braves for Javier Vazquez and a reliever. It's a good trade for the Yanks as they strengthened their rotation to 4 reliable starters.
So why did the Yankees choose Gardner over Melky? For one Gardner is cheaper than Melky. Gardner has a better hitting average, also plays good defense in the outfield, and is also still young. But the one thing that made Gardner more valuable to the Yankees was Gardner's extreme speed. Gardner is so fast that he can wreak havoc in running the base paths. He is capable of stealing 30-40 steals in a season if he plays regularly.
It's a tough choice but the Yankees need to release one outfielder to get a stud like Vazquez.
It's been a good run for Melky. In some way he has help the Yankees in winning their 27th World Series title. Thanks for the memories Melky and good luck on your future career.
The Yankees earlier said that they are going to get somebody to boost their starting rotation. That somebody turned out to be former Yankee Javier Vazquez. The Yankees traded Melky Cabrera, left-handed pitching prospect Michael Dunn, and another prospect Arodys Vizcaino to Atlanta for starter Javier Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan.
Last year, the Yankees were walking in a tight rope by only using 3 starters (Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte) in the post-season. They got lucky as they won the World Series championship. This coming season the Yankees don't want to rely on pure luck. That's why they got Vazquez even at the expense of some good Yankee players.
Mixed emotions and reactions was experienced as the trade was announced. Some say that Vazquez can't handle the pressures in New York. Some say that Vazquez doesn't belong in the American league and he is much better off in the National league. Some say that Vazquez won't recover the disappointing loss to the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS where he gave up 2 homers to Johnny Damon including a grand slam in the pivotal game 7. Blah, blah and blah......
For me, this is a good trade for the Yankees. Here's why:
1.) SOLIDIFY THE ROTATION:
With Vazquez at the fold, the Yankees have a formidable starting rotation for 2010. The Yankees is right there with the Red Sox. The Red Sox will have a rotation of Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Dice-K, Buchholz, and/or Wakefield. While the Yankees counters with Sabathia, Burnett, Pettite, Vazquez, Joba, and/or Phil Hughes.
2.) A PRETTY DECENT PITCHER:
Vazquez might have a terrible season with the Yankees in 2004 but that is just one season. Remember that he suffered an arm injury in the 2nd half of that season.
But aside from that, Vazquez is a consistent pitcher. He has double digit wins for the past 10 seasons and has a decent career ERA of 4.19. Vazquez has ace tools, he has a nice repertoire of dominant fastball, good curve and an outstanding change-up. He can dominate as a strikeout guy, doesn't give up many walks, and is very durable.
Vazquez is a proven innings-eater, throwing 198 innings or more in each of the past 10 seasons, topping 200 in nine of those years. Vazquez has also struck out 200 batters five times in his career, including each of the past three seasons.
This image came from The Yankee Universe.
Okay the question is do the Yankee administration trust GM Brian Cashman? The answer is an astounding "Yes".
Why? Well since Cashman was promoted as the Yankees General manager the Yankees have won 6 American League pennants and 4 World Series championships. An incredible feat coming from an organization and city that expects nothing less than success and greatness. The pressure of managing a team like the Yankees is tremendous, knowing for a fact that your team has the biggest payroll and you have to prove to the fans and to the world that the high payroll is worth it.
Cashman started as an intern with the Yankees in 1986. In 1994, he was named as an assistant general manager. In 1998, Cashman replaced Bob Watson and was named Senior Vice-President and General Manager. Through the years he worked his way up and prove to the Yankees organization that he belongs.
Brian Cashman has made tough decisions in making the Yankees a championship caliber team. He traded promising Alfonso Soriano to the Rangers for Alex Rodriguez. Many critics did not agree with the transaction and Cashman should have stick with Soriano and said Rodriguez is just purely hype and cannot withstand the pressures of playing in New York. That seems to be case as A-Rod performance dissolves in the post-season every year. But Cashman stick with A-Rod knowing that he will deliver someday. That day happened in 2009 as A-Rod was one of the main clogs for giving the Yankees their 27th World Series title.
But it is not a smooth sailing career for Brian Cashman. There was also up and downs. There was once an instance where owner George Steinbrenner and Cashman had conflicts regarding the teams plans and directions. Some people wonder why did the Yankees signed Gary Sheffield over Vladimir Guerrero. And why did they signed Jason Giambi to a long and huge contract. We don't know who makes the call but I have the feeling that George Steinbrenner was making the shots at that time.
Because of the disputes, Cashman almost went overboard by talking to the Washington Nationals (a city where he attended high school). But instead, Cashman agreed to a new contract with the Yankees following the conclusion of the 2005 season which gave him more "authority" in personnel decisions and paid him an average of $1.3 million more over the following three years.
Today Cashman is receiving $ 6 million annually and is not yet due until the end of 2011. Cashman was also named to Crain's New York Business 40 under 40 list for 1999.
One of the biggest achievement of Cashman was the immense signing of free agents in 2009 where he signed big names like CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. He even took Mark Teixeira away from rival the Boston Red Sox. This big signings have indicated that the Yankees are going to make another mistake by spending an enormous amount of money.
Cashman and the Yankees proved to the critics and throughout the rest of the league that they made the right choice of "investing" and not "spending" on those Type-A players. The 3 new Yankee acquisitions (Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira) contributed extremely and help the team in winning the World Series championship. Cashman used the Yankees available funds in investing the right players.
This off-season, the Yankees want a cut back and wants to lower their payroll below $ 200 million. Cashman made a great choice by trading for Curtis Granderson and bringing back Andy Pettitte. He then signed former Yankee Nick Johnson for $ 5.5 million. Cashman is still not done and said they are still in the hunt for a starting pitcher and a utility player.
Indeed in Cash we trust! The Yankees made the right decision in having Cashman as their GM. Each transaction made by Cashman brings them closer in winning the World Series championship.
The Yankees need one more starting pitcher to bolster their rotation for the 2010 season. The Yankees are looking for a 4th starter through the free agency pool. One of their interest is Justin Duchscherer.
Duchscherer is a 2 time All-Star and had a record of 10-8 with a sharp 2.54 ERA prior to being waylaid by a chronic hip injury.
His recent injury is not much of a concern for the Yankees since he is not a strike-out pitcher. Pitchers that rely heavily on their fastball has a tendency to have more injuries because of their arms wear and tear. Duchscherer relies on other pitches and is a very good control pitcher with a low ERA and very few walks; just 34 last season.
Duchscherer is a Type B free agent and is still on his prime (32 years). The Yankees can afford him. He received a reported $ 3.9 million with the A's in 2009 despite missing the rest of the season. Look for the Yankees to offer him an incentive laden deal.
Why consider Justin Duchscherer?
For one his injuries is not that bad and the way that he pitches he can prolong his career to 3-5 years.
Duchscherer has proven that he can pitch consistently in the majors. He has a career ERA of 3.14 in the dreadful American League and he has experienced playing in the bullpen.
Duchscherer will fit nicely in the 4th starting position, providing stability and assurance to their rotation. It will be a wise move for the Yankees to get a pitcher like Duchscherer.
The Hot Stove is still burning and look for the Yankees to sign another starter. Justin Duchscherer could be that man.
Here is a sad fact. Damon and his greedy agent Boras wants no less than $ 13 million annually for 3 years. The Yankees made it clear that they will stick with the $ 8-10 million, 2 year contract proposal for Damon. And the way things are going it looks like that Damon will be shopping for a new team.
Personally, I think Damon and Boras are crazy. They will simply go nowhere with their contract demands. Damon's age, weak arm, and diminishing athletic skills is just proof that he can't play productively for 3 years. National League teams don't want Damon because of his liability in the outfield. DH is not in effect in the National league and they have no where to put Damon.
In the American League, teams are backing off because of Damon's pricey demands.
Which is why I am in awe as to why Damon doesn't want to take the 2 year deal with the Yankees. It's pretty clear the Damon and Yankees works hand in hand. Damon has homered more while playing with the Yankees, taking advantage of the Yankees stadium short right field porch. The Yankees on the other hand is comfortable with Damon in the top of the rotation. Both he and Derek Jeter is one the most feared 1-2 punch in the league.
It's really ridiculous to even think about Damon and Boras demands. The price ($13 million) is absurd and the number of year (3 years) is even funny. If I were the Yankees I would offer Damon/Boras a 3 year contract. The 1st year is $ 13 million and the following 2 years is for medicare and health insurance (no more salary). That would be a fair deal.
Normally baseball players slow down when they reach the age of 36 onwards. Injuries will increase, their speed and athletic capability will start to wear down, batting average and home run numbers will decrease. The list goes on and on.
The Yankees is doing the right thing of planning to get younger and be more athletic. Trading for the young center fielder Curtis Granderson was a good move plus they signed the old but reliable Andy Pettitte for "just one year". Hideki Matsui's knees will be a problem that's why they let him go. The proposal to Damon is a fair deal and Damon should take it or else....
As of today the Yankees are in serious discussions and is in near completion with free agent Nick Johnson. Pending a physical, Johnson will agree to a one-year deal with the Yankees worth about $5.5MM. And if this push through this might eliminate the chances of Damon returning. Nick Johnson is no Johnny Damon but he can still produce. Johnson is known for his patience and discipline at the plate, which have led to a high career on-base percentage of .402 through the 2009 season. This is not as flashy as the other Yankee off-season moves but it's a welcome one.
Is this farewell to Johnny Damon? If that is the case, the nickname "Idiot" (leaving the Red Sox and now the Yankees) will be attached forever in Damon's name.
You probably heard the bad news of Hideki Matsui agreeing to terms with the LA Angels (pending physical). The Angels offer to Matsui is a 1 year $ 6.5 million contract and he will most likely be the Angels designated hitter replacing the old Vladimir Guerrero.
Why did Matsui left the Yankees? Well, we can't blame him. The Yankees said they will first give priority in signing Johnny Damon since Damon can still play the outfield and has speed. If Damon is not a possibility, then the Yankees will negotiate with Matsui. Matsui once said that he is willing to take a pay cut just to return to his ball club.
The talks between the Yankees organization and Damon/Boras is taking to long. The uncertainty and the long period of time waiting force Matsui to look elsewhere.
The Angels now have a proven and powerful DH in Hideki Matsui. Both Matsui and Bobby Abreu (who was once a Yankee) will teach young sluggers like Kendry Morales and Erick Aybar to be more patient at the plate. Matsui will be a big addition to the Angels line-up. Matsui can still give the Angels a 20+ home runs and 80-90 RBI's. We just hope that the Yankees won't be seeing Matsui and the Angels in the post-season. We don't want Matsui cracking homers against his former team.
If I were the Yankees, I should have chosen Matsui over Damon. True Damon gives the Yankees more flexibility. Damon can be the Yankees DH, or play left field, can pinch run, etc. But Damon/Boras contract demands ask the impossible. There is no way the Yankees will agree with their absurd terms.
Matsui however is only asking for a 1 year contract and a pay cut from $ 13 million to $ 7 million. Matsui does not have the ability to play the outfield due to his knees but he can still be an offensive threat. Hideki might play in the 5 hole giving protection to A-Rod.
Now the Yankees are in danger of losing not only Matsui but Damon as well. If that happens the Yankees will be in a hole and it will be a big lost for them.
Curtis Granderson is an upgrade for the Yankees especially defensively but he can't do it alone. The Yankees still have a DH spot to fill. Yankees GM Brian Cashman once flirted with the idea of putting youngster Juan Miranda to the DH spot. Miranda may be good but we need someone better. One who can give fear to the opposing pitchers. One who is capable of producing 20+ homers and 100 RBI. One who is a clutch player and have patience on the plate. One who breaths fire out of his mouth...... Godzilla.
Not only did the Yankees lose Matsui's bat but they also lost revenues from the Japanese audience. The Yankees lost will be the Angels gain.... offensive and income wise.
This is the first "no-no" mistake from Cashman after making a trade for Granderson and signing Pettitte. The pressure is now with Cashman to do something to fill the DH spot.
Aside from those shaky knees, Yankee fans will surely miss Hideki Matsui. He compensates his silence of the field by making noise on the field. He lets his performance do the talking.
We will miss the saying "Upper Decki from Hideki" and "The Thrilla from Godzilla". # 55 is now gone and so is the Japanese spectators.
Godzilla has left the city of New York. Good luck to you Matsui and so long. Thanks for the memories. We will surely miss you!
Is Ben Sheets a bargain? I don't know, it's hard to predict the future. But the Yankees should consider signing the former Olympian if he is still available before spring training starts.
Sheets is a Type-A Free Agent. He is a four-time All-Star and was once a starter in one of the All-Star game.
Before he got injured, Sheets finished the 2008 season with 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 starts and 198 1/3 innings pitched. He went to 3-0 on only 2% of all batters he faced in the season, the lowest percentage in the majors. He also threw curve balls 33% of the time, more than any other starter in the major leagues.
Sheets works with a fastball that can reach the upper-90's, he keeps hitters off-balance by mixing in a hard breaking curve. He has tremendous control and can work inside. He is considered an Ace starter when healthy.
But health issues had always been a problem for Ben Sheets throughout his career. Sheets ended the 2008 season with a flexor tendon injury that prevented him from pitching in the playoffs. He has been on the disabled list five times in the past four years.
With Sheet's wealth of injury and durability issues, his value has went down. Now teams are considering of signing Sheets to more of an "incentive laden" type of contract. Sheets will get incentives for the number of innings pitched for the coming 2010 season. If he gets injured he gets nothing. Practically it is considerate to offer Sheets a 1 year contract with a basic salary ranging from $ 4-5 million plus incentive base on his performance and number of games played.
With Chien-Ming Wang being a free agent and might be going for a different team next season, the Yankees might give a look at Ben Sheets. If Sheets agrees to a 1 year low basic salary contract (with incentives), the Yankees might sign him. And if he turns healthy for next season then we could say that we got Sheets as a bargain. He is just 31 years old and is capable of shutting out games.
So far it's the New York Mets and Texas Rangers have expressed interest in signing Sheets. The Yankees however are being patient and waiting for Sheets to fall on their lap. If that's the case then the Yankees will have the former Olympian pitcher to complete the back-end of their starting rotation. It's a gamble I know.... but every time you gamble their is chance for you to hit the jackpot.
The New York Yankees now have a premium center fielder in Curtis Granderson. Defensively the Yankees' outfield is above average with the strong arms of Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher and the speed and versatility of Granderson and bench player Brett Gardner.
Offensively the Yankees envisioned Granderson on the 2 hole against righties or will slide to the 5th, 6th, 7th hole against lefties. Granderson has home run power and speed. He once lead the majors in triples (23) in 2007. Granderson will spice things up in the coming 2010 season. But still the Yankees GM Brian Cashman is still not contented. Something is still missing. The Yankees need more power in their line-up.
Is Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui is the answer to that? Well if your looking for a power bat, this two sluggers are capable of doing so. In 2009 Damon hit 24 homers while World Series MVP Matsui had 28 home runs. They are premium type of players and are known to deliver in clutch situations which includes the post-season. They know their role in the Yankees organization. Damon fits perfectly in the 2 hole giving the Yankees a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the line-up with Jeter playing lead-off.
Matsui played DH all season long and is normally placed in the 5 hole to give protection to A-Rod who bats clean-up. The Yankees made no secret that they still want this two amazing players however will it be practical to sign both of them.
The Yankees, even with the biggest payroll, is cost-cutting. Their budget says they can afford only one player. Will it be Damon or Matsui? Let's analyze.
According to the Yankees, Damon is their 1st choice because of his ability to still play the outfield (particularly in left). Damon still have some thread left in his old tires of his. He still runs well along the base paths and is still capable of stealing bases (Remember his amazing play in the World Series where he stole two bases in just one play).
Even with Curtis Granderson on board the Yankees still externalize Damon batting 2nd behind Derek Jeter. Their 1-2 punch is still considered one of the best in baseball plus Granderson's home run power and weakness against lefties is much suited on 5th, 6th and 7th hole. Damon will play DH most of the time next season but his versatility to play the outfield can give other positonal players like Posada, Jeter, Tex and A-Rod a half a day off.
Damon really loved the short right field porch at the Yankee Stadium. Damon homered a career high of 24 in 2006 and 2009 (both of them was done with the Yankees).
It seems like the Yankee Stadium was designed to Damon's desires and skills. Damon perfectly fits well in the Yankee Stadium. Both Damon and Yankees have express their desires to stay together.
However Scott Boras (Damon's agent) think otherwise. Boras is demanding an absurd $13 M, 4 year contract from the Yankees. Everybody knows that is exaggerated. No team will give Damon that kind of contract even with his great talent. Damon is 36 years old and is showing signs of diminishing speed and defensive skills. Damon's ridiculous demand on his contract will be a stumbling block for the Yankees to sign him.
The World Series MVP has everything going right for him. Winning his first World Series title outside of Japan and was rewarded the World Series MVP for his incredible performance. Matsui's face is almost everywhere. From TV guesting, newspaper and magazine, internet and radio interviews. Godzilla became an icon in New York.
The future however doesn't look good for Matsui. He is a free agent and might be gone if Damon signs with the Yankees. Matsui's shaky and unpredictable knees is the major factor why the Yankees choose Damon over him. Matsui can't play the outfield anymore and is more of a DH type of guy.
Matsui is still a force to reckon with offensive wise. When he is healthy, Matsui is capable of hitting .292, 25 homers, and 100+ RBI. Matsui is an RBI machine which could help the Yankees to be competitive all season long. He bats pretty well against right handed pitchers and has also showed some good signs against opposing left handed pitchers. Matsui is a patient hitter and use the field well. He is definitely a tough out.
The good thing about Matsui is he is willing to take a pay cut and take a 1 year deal with the Yankees. This is one factor the Yankees is strongly considering. The Yankees outfield is complete with the arrival of Granderson and Matsui fits well in their DH spot.
So who do you think the Yankees will pick? Will they go with the outfielder Johnny Damon or will they stick with their DH Hideki Matsui. If you're Brain Cashman who will you sign?
I think you guys knew about the 3 way trade of the Yankees, Tigers and the D'Backs. The Yankees now have a premium center fielder in Curtis Granderson. But the Yanks gave something away just to get Granderson. The Yankees gave Ian Kennedy to the D'Backs and top prospect Austin Jackson and lefty specialist Phil Coke to the Tigers.
It's tough to give a lot of young and promising prospects especially A-Jax but I think the Yankees won this trade because they got a center fielder who can help them win another World Series title now (and not in the future). The Yankees are thinking about the present situation and what Granderson can bring to the table. So what do we really get from Curtis Granderson? Well here it is:
Last season the Yankees outfield defense was just average because of Johnny Damon's weak arm. It's a good thing they have Melky Cabrera in center to compensates Damon's weaknesses. With the arrival of Granderson, things will be different. We could see a top defensive caliber outfield in Melky Cabrera in left, Granderson in center, and Nick Swisher in right. All of a sudden there are no holes in the Yankees outfield defense and all three are capable of throwing an out because of their strong arm. Granderson's speed covers a lot of ground in center field and has had exciting defensive plays in the past (remember the over-the-wall catch which robs Wily Mo Pena an home run). Granderson is truly a defensive upgrade.
HOME RUN POWER:
Granderson has power especially hitting in right field which benefits the Yankees because of their short right field porch. Last season, Granderson hit 30 homers and might be adding some more if Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long managed to teach Granderson to lower down his strike- outs and improved his batting average especially from a left pitcher (he struggles against lefties) . The Yankees will still play their own game, hitting the ball out of the ballpark (leading the league in HR in 2009).
SPEED AND YOUTH:
Granderson is still young (28) and has not reached his peak yet. He can still be productive for 6-8 years. His speed is one of his greatest talents. He can steal a base, run down a ball in the outfield, and hit triples. Hitting triples is his specialty. During the 2007 season, Granderson accumulated 23 triples, which led all of baseball. The American League and Detroit Tigers record is 26 triples, a feat achieved by the all-time triples king, Sam Crawford, in 1914. With Granderson coming in and maybe Damon too plus the help of the Yankees mainstay like Jeter, A-Rod and Gardner, we will be seeing the Yankees doing a lot of running next season.
The Yankees really made a wise decision in trading for Curtis Granderson. They were able to get a premium center fielder with power which will be receiving $5.5 M only for next season. That is still considered cheap. This transaction has not only helped the Yankees to maintain competitive for next season but has helped them as well in cutting down their payroll. Here is a rundown of Granderson's contract:
10:$5.5M, 11:$8.25M, 12:$10M, 13:$13M club option ($2M buyout) plus an option in 2014
PRESSURE FOR DAMON AND BORAS:
Oh yes! Now the pressure is thrown back to Damon and his greedy agent Scott Boras. The Yanks are probably now asking where is the 4 year deal to Damon that you are shouting about for several weeks now. With the acquisition of Curtis Granderson, the Yankees are not pressured to sign Damon and they will stand firm for their 2 year contract offer. If that 4 year offer from other teams are just "talks" look for Damon signing with the Yankees on a $ 8-10 M annually, 2 year contract leaving Boras ashamed and regretful.
Or the Yankees could go for World Series MVP Hideki Matsui if Damon goes elsewhere. There is still holes in the Yankees line-up even with Granderson on board. The Yankees might still need Matsui's power and RBI's skills and giving protection to A-Rod by batting 5th.
GRANDERSON WEARS JERSEY NO. 28:
Last year, Manager Joe Girardi said that his jersey no . 27 will help the Yankees bring them to their 27th World Series Championship. That joke turned into a reality. In fact Girardi continued his "wacky ways" by making indications that he will wear jersey no. 28 in order to win back-to-back titles. The question is will Joe Girardi allow his "new" center fielder to wear jersey no . 28 and let the young Granderson bring the luck to the Yankees and possible bring them to glory land next season. After all Granderson has served as an ambassador for Major league Baseball International and is known to have a good personality which would helped the Yankees clubhouse.
Welcome to the Yankees Curtis Granderson! We will be looking forward for an exciting season ahead.
Let's end this unfinished Joba debate. Where does Joba really belong?
Some say he is still considered as a starting pitcher, given time Joba will rise to the occasion and will be a Yankee starter for a long time. Others say he belongs to the bullpen and should be groomed as the next closer when the great Mariano Rivera retires. Critics assert their point that the Yankees have already maximized Joba's talent and skill and it is wise to include Joba in a trade package for a starting pitcher like Roy Halladay.
But before we go into a conclusion regarding Joba's status let's look at his strength and weaknesses and the pros and cons.
- He is still young (age 24) and is still considered raw despite having major league experience for almost 3 years. Joba has a lot of room and time to be an excellent pitcher in the future no matter if he is penciled as a starter or a reliever.
- When he is on, Joba has one of the best heat in baseball which clocked at 99 mph. He also has a nasty slider which is consistently registering at 87 mph. And to confuse the opposing batters Joba mixes his pitches with occasional change-ups and curve balls.
- He is still cheap at less than half a million annually in 2009. The Yankees can raise his salary slowly like what they did to Robinson Cano.
- Diminished velocity. The Yankees were concerned about Joba's performance in 2009 particularly in the second half of the season where he can't find his pitches and his once and powerful fastball have slowed down to 90 mph (which is hittable). His increased number of innings played as a starter might have something to do with that.
- To much hype. It's been 3 years already and the Yankee fans are tired of waiting for Joba to show his "good stuff". There is no level of consistency not unlike Boston's Jon Lester who in 3 years was able to bring the Red Sox to a World Series Title, considered to be an ace with Josh Beckett behind, and once threw a no-hitter against the Royals in 2008.
- Treated as a baby. The "Joba Rules" which should have helped Joba have hindered his immediate success. Joba was confused throughout his major league career as to what position he will play. The "starter or reliever" issue also bothered Joba which is also a factor for his mediocre performance.
Based from our analysis and observation, the Yankees should still keep Joba. He has a lot to prove and he has showed some signs of greatness which could be a sign of more great things to come if we only be patient with him.
In regards to his status, once and for all the Yankees "must" keep Joba in the pen. His poor performance in 2009 just told us that he is not cut to be a starting pitcher. Joba showed some flashes of brilliance in the first half of the season but faltered in the end as his innings grew larger.
If you look at Joba's past record, he is much better coming out in the pen where his precious arm is used on 1-2 innings only. With that he will be able to throw his 97-99 mph fastball and his late and sharp breaking slider. And besides Mariano Rivera won't be playing for 8 years. The Yankees need to groom somebody who will replace Rivera someday. Joba is one possible candidate.
The Yankees must look elsewhere for a starter for their 3rd, 4th and 5th spot. Andy Pettitte should be their No. 3 guy and guys like Gaudin, Aceves and maybe Hughes can fill the back-end of the rotation. Let Joba roam in the bullpen and build a strong bridge to Rivera.
The Yankees bullpen was excellent in 2009. It will be a dominating bullpen next season if they have Joba around.
People and Baseball fans are following the trade rumors thread of Roy Halladay. They are so attached to it that they forgot about what the Yankees need to sacrifice to get Halladay. As of today the Blue Jays are looking for a starter, a shortstop, and a catcher. I just don't like the idea of giving to much talents for just one player (even if I know that Roy Halladay will surely dominate in New York). And in addition to that Halladay would demand a salary like CC Sabathia (so much for the Yankees cost-cutting).
With so many hurdles and distractions for the Yankees to get an additional pitcher aside from Andy Pettitte coming back, I think it is better for them to go to a better route. A safer route....The Free agency.
And who better to go for than the top Free agent in 2010, former Angels Ace John Lackey. We all know that the Yankees are interested in Lackey but there are no serious talks yet.
The Yankees should consider getting Lackey than Halladay. Lackey is not as great as Halladay but he is not far behind. Lackey has good control of an excellent arsenal that includes above average heat, a slider, change and a great curve.
He is a top of the rotation workhorse and has been the Angels top gun for so many years now. What I like about John Lackey is his tenacity. He is a tough competitor and always wants to stay in the game to finish an inning. Remember that Lackey was upset when Angels Manager Mike
Scioscia pulled him out in the Game 5 of the ALCS. Just like Pettitte, Lackey wants the ball in his hands especially in crucial games. Lackey is a proven winner.
Lackey is looking for contract similar to AJ Burnett's ($16.5 million annually). The Angels only offered Lackey around $10-12 million. The Yankees should make an offer to Lackey somewhere in between of his demands and the Angels offer (maybe around $14-15 million) and locked him for 4-5 years. He is still at his prime and capable of playing competitively for another 4-7 years.
My only concern is why are the Angels not aggressive in signing their Ace. Remember that the Angels starting rotation would be thin if Lackey leaves. There might be a indication on the problem with his elbow. I don't know. I'm confused with the Angels' apparent willingness to let him walk, which some see as a sign that they know something about the health of his arm that others don't.
What is a Designated Hitter or DH? A Designated Hitter is a baseball player that is assign to bat in place of the pitcher. This allows the pitcher to concentrate on pitching and by this it speeds up the game (less bunting). This was adopted in MLB by the American League in 1973 and the game has never been the same ever since.
Although there are a lot of criticism especially from the National League where there should be no specialization in baseball, no division of labor and everyone should play the "whole game".
I would still be in favor of the DH rule. Why? For so many reasons. For one it reduces the injury of your pitchers. Imagine them running along the bases. Look what happened to Yankees former Ace Chien-Ming Wang who suffered a foot injury while running the bases against the Houston Astros. Since that injury, Wang has never been the same "double play" pitcher.
Another reason is who would want to see your pitcher strike out a lot or worse commit to a double play which would end the inning. It destroys the beauty of baseball. There would be less home runs, decreased hitting and more bunting. No wonder the American League always take the World Series home-court advantage because of their DH advantage.
The DH offers American League managers several options in setting their team's line-ups:
- They can employ a full time Designated Hitter like World Series MVP Hideki Matsui
- They can use left-handed hitting DH against a right-handed pitcher and vice versa
- It allows them to give a positional player a partial day-off
This coming season the Yankees are thinking what to do with their DH spot. Matsui is a free agent and the Yankees still wants him. However there are other Yankee positional players who needs to treated carefully (health wise) to prolong their career. Guys like Posada, Jeter, Damon (if signed), and A-Rod. The inability of Matsui to play the outfield gives the Yankees no choice but to go to another route.
I strongly suggest to bring up guys form the Farm system. Young stallions like Austin Jackson, Juan Miranda, Ramiro Pena, and Jesus Montero. They are still raw and a lot to prove. But this is the perfect time for them to see some action in the majors. It will be a good training ground for them while relieving old guys like Posada from time to time, giving them a partial day-off (DH spot).
For the Yankees who have several positional players creeping up on age "must" keep their DH spot open next season. And it is essential for them to bring up good sluggers from their Farm in order to maintain their offense intact. We will be seeing a new DH for next season.
So who would you want to be the Yankees' DH for the next season?
Two time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, San Francisco's Ace is considered one of the best starting pitchers in the game today. Often called as "The Freak" for his long stride and unorthodox pitching mechanics. He also has the ability to generate high velocity pitches (sometimes 98-99 mph) despite his small frame 5'11" ,172 lbs.
Lincecum is still young (25 yrs old) and still has a long way to go on his illustrious baseball career.
This off-season Lincecum will pursue a one year deal with the Giants around $ 10 million or more. Lincecum is expected to handle his arbitration year by year in an effort to maximize his earnings. The Freak could reach CC Sabathia's salary $ 23 million or his fellow team mate Barry Zito $ 18 million sometime soon. Lincecum salary of $ 650,000 is considered pocket change and his value has zoomed way way up.
Lincecum is still under contract with the Giants until after the 2013 season ( 4 more years). But the Giants must give their Ace a good deal year after year or else... The Yankees will come in and get him.
Yes Folks. Even with Roy Halladay trade rumors swirling in, when it comes to the Yankees pitching is never enough. Although there are no rumors regarding the San Francisco's Ace pitcher and I'm pretty sure that the Giants will do anything to keep their No. 1 pitching phenom in their rotation.
But guys like the Freak doesn't come available all the time and the Yankees being a powerful and wealthy organization must not let this things go overlook. We should at least consider getting the Freak. So from this day forward I will keep all the Yankee fans out there informed about updates about the Freak. Won't you like to have a starting pitcher who is still young but can pitch like Sabathia and Halladay.
The only concern about Lincecum is his health in long term. Pitching experts say that Lincecum can't pitch effectively for the long haul because of his small physique and his body might not able to withstand the long innings being played by a regular starter. He is simply not as big as Sabathia or as tough as Halladay. In Science that theory may be true but in the world of baseball anything is possible. How many times did we see a young pitcher dominate then later falter the following year. Or how many times did we witness a star pitcher playing in a All-Star game who is not prioritized in the draft.
What I'm saying is why are those people concerned about the future so much and not think about the present. Tim Lincecum is hot. He is today's sensation. He is a pure strike-out artist with an elite fastball, curve, and change-up. Being a two time Cy Young Award winner is not something to crack at. He earned it and is capable of getting some more.
And for me, I would love to see the Freak playing for the Yankees. I'm sure the Yankee fans would welcome him with open hearts and the Steinbrenners would welcome him with open bank accounts.
The Controlled Fury in New York. Let's see what will happen in the future. We don't know what the crystal ball holds for the Yankees but one thing for sure that the Yankees won't mind having another tremendous pitcher like Lincecum in their rotation.
I will keep you posted on the Freak's status. That is if you like to have him.