With the Winter Meetings behind us, baseball has a few weeks of activity before everyone settles in for some family time around Christmas and New Year’s. While the Yanks have seemingly wrapped up some of their shopping, I don’t think the team is done yet. With that mind, what’s on tap for the next few weeks?
1. Mark Teixeira — Outside of Manuel Aristides Ramirez, no hitter will make a bigger impact on his new team next year than Mark Teixeira. He’s a premier player with a legitimate Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger, and now that he’s shown he can hit outside of Texas, he’s due for a big pay day. Since mid-November, Teixeira has hoped for a pre-Christmas resolution to his free agency, and now it seems as though the Yanks are emerging as prime contenders for his services. No matter the outcome, you can bet that Scott Boras will call the Yanks one last time before Teixeira signs on the dotted line.
2. Manny Ramirez — Right behind Tex is Manny. He is arguably one of the top five right-handed hitters of all time, and his presence in any lineup improves the guys in front of and behind him. He comes with significant personality issues and poor defense, but that hasn’t stopped his teams from winning two of the last five World Series. His teams have made the playoffs in five of the last six years as well. Manny will come with a higher salary but fewer years than Mark Teixeira. He doesn’t come with the stellar defense either, but Hanks wants him.
3. Mike Cameron — Joe wants Brian Cashman to wait on the Cameron trade, and I agree. Cameron should be something of a last recourse to improve the team’s center field option. While better than Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner, Cameron isn’t enough of an offensive threat to justify acquiring him over Teixeira or Manny. If the team lands one of the other two bats, they can afford to try out Brett Gardner in center and revisit a Cameron trade later on, if need be.
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So what’s my take? I think Teixeira signs before Christmas; I think Manny doesn’t; and I think the Cameron deal ends up being more smoke and mirrors than anything else. The Yanks still have some money to play with, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tex or Manny land in the Bronx. The team, after all, could use another bat to go with their new-found pitching, and if the Steinbrenners and Cashman are going all in for 2009 as their pitching expenditures seem to suggest, then signing Mark or Manny is just the next logical step.