So the news that the Angels are interested in CC Sabathia isn’t exactly the way I envisioned the Yanks’ starting Thanksgiving weekend. As Joe detailed earlier today, it seems that the Angels are looking to give up the Mark Teixeira chase and go hard after Sabathia. Outside of the fact that the Angels would emerge as clear favorites in the AL West for years to come, this has clear and lasting ramifications for the Yanks.
First, let’s dismiss the desire argument. As Wallace Matthews wrote today, some fans seem to believe that Sabathia’s silence indicates that he doesn’t want to come to New York. As far as anyone knows, that just isn’t true. Sabathia is waiting for other offers for two reasons. The first is that he knows the Yanks will up their offer significantly if the Angels do deliver a similar contract. It’s a smart business tactic.
Second, while Sabathia hasn’t jumped yet at any offer, we know he seems to prefer California to the East Coast. His preference is just that. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to play here; It just means he prefers over there.
As CC stews, though, the Yanks’ back-up plans are coming into view. Two Tyler Kepner articles kicked things off last night. First, he asked on the Bats blog if the Yanks have enough offense. Next, he looked at the Yanks’ lofty expectations for A-Rod and Robinson Cano next year. With a healthy Hideki and Jorge and a better season from Cano, the Yanks feel they can score a lot of runs next year.
To that end, as Ken Davidoff wrote today, the Yanks’ Plan B seems to be just that: score a lot of runs. If the Yanks actually do lose out on CC Sabathia, they will go hard after either Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez in an effort to shore up what should be a very good lineup. For obvious reasons, Teixeira is a better long-term fit, but having Manny and A-Rod at the heart of the order would lead to many a slugfest next season.
On the pitching front, the Yanks would entice Andy Pettitte to return and would look at a few other free agents. They don’t seem willing to go to five years for A.J. Burnett, but Bryan Hoch feels that Ben Sheets is a real possibility. Considering that Sheets would sign for fewer years and less money than any other big-name free agent, he would probably be the best fit of pitchers not named Carsten Charles.
So that’s Plan B. Score a lot of runs. Use the established pitchers, sign a free agent and ask either Alfredo Aceves or Phil Hughes to stop the revolving door in the fifth starter spot. Of course, the Yanks haven’t yet lost out on Sabathia yet, but if they do and can implement this plan, it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world.