Yankees off-season behavior will change with the year

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A year ago Saturday, the Yankees opened the free agent signing period by offering CC Sabathia six years and $140 million. It was an aggressive offer from a team that promised to be active in the free agent market. The Yankees had many holes, and as luck had it the free agent class featured a number of players who could fill them. Sabathia was the center piece, but it was known that the Yankees wouldn’t end with just one acquisition. Brian Cashman himself said he was bringing home two pitchers.

It was the perfect time for the Yankees. The free agent class was strong, with a few elite and otherwise high quality players. Because a few contracts had just expired, the team had money to spend. Other teams helped too, but restricting spending at a time when the Yankees freed up resources. It all came together, and the Yankees struck. That doesn’t happen all the time, and given the Yankees current situation and the strength of the market, it doesn’t appear that the Yankees will make a similar play this year.

Cashman recently commented on the free agent situation, saying that, “You won’t see offers right out of the gate.” It signals that the Yankees will be a bit more patient with this class, knowing that adding any of the top players means yet another long-term, high-salary commitment. Over the last two off-seasons the team has added four contracts of five years or longer. I’m not sure the team is ready to add another.

This means that the Yankees probably won’t sign Matt Holliday. On his newly minted Twitter account, ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Yankees “are not interested in signing Holliday.” In a different year, maybe the Yankees make a play for Holliday. But the Yankees already have $92.912 million committed to their 2013 roster. That does not include Derek Jeter, whose contract is up after next season and who will presumably sign a new, lucrative deal that will cover 2013. Adding Holliday (and Jeter) would put the 2013 figure close to $130 million.

Last year the Yankees took advantage of a robust free agent market. They had the money, and the players were right. Neither is true this year. The Yankees have some money coming off the books, but they also have holes to fill. While it’s nice to think of Holliday roaming left field in 2010, it means he’d also play there in 2013 and beyond. That doesn’t appear to interest the Yankees this off-season.

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  • Tank the Frank

    Yeah….no more 5+ year contracts please. At least not for a while or for anyone not named Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee.

    Last off season was a special case with special players IMO (although I was never thrilled with Burnett’s contract). CC and Teixeira are the kind of guys you can build the future of your organization around; guys in their primes; guys that you wouldn’t expect a precipitous decline from during the length of their contracts. I believe CC is simply a freak, the true definition of a horse. And I also believe he’s such a good pitcher, that he won’t need to have his old velocity as he ages in order to get hitters out.

    We here at RAB know what needs to be done. Sign Cameron for a year. Sign Damon for one year with an option or maaaaaybe two. Matsui is the icing on the cake. Get the goods in 2011.

    • CuNTER

      move montero to corner OF…

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Not until it’s 1000000% clear that he cannot stick at catcher at the ML level.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      I would be very hesitant to give Carl Crawford a five-year deal that covers his ages 30-34 seasons. I guess it depends upon the money.

      Cliff Lee though, sign me up.

      • Salty Buggah

        Yea, I agree with CC since a lot of his game depends on speed. I’d like to see if he can keep a .360+ OBP for more than season.

      • RichYF

        If it’s Holliday or Crawford, I’d much rather have Holliday.

        I don’t understand the logic behind “stop-gaps” this year (in LF in particular) just to go out and sign Crawford next year. What’s the difference? Both will demand 5 year deals for their age 30-34 seasons. Unless the Yanks prefer Crawford, there’s no reason to “save roster flexibility” for him.

        Now, Cliff Lee on the other hand, that’s a different story. I’m all for signing the best pitchers available.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I’d guess that the rough difference is that Holliday will require a 5-6 year deal at around an AAV of the 19-22M range, while most of the Carl Crawford supporters think he can be had for a 4-5 year deal of 13-16M maxiumum.

          So yes, their contract lengths and ages may ultimately be similar, but Crawford will probably be cheaper.

          • RichYF

            If this speculation is valid, then I suppose it all depends on the actual contract Holliday is willing to sign.

            If he can be had for 5/90, I’d sign up for that. If it’s going to be 6/120+, I’d pass. I like Crawford, but if the Yanks are willing to add another 5 year deal to the payroll, it should be for the better player, in my opinion. Is 5/70 really that much better than 5/90? Not saying those are actual figures, but $20 million over 5 years is not significant to the Yankees.

            As I said, if Holliday wants $22 per and Crawford is willing to do $13 per, that’s different. I think it’s going to be more like $18 and $14. POOMA, but those are both figures I’d live with if I’m Cash.

  • brockdc

    Though no one seems to agree, they need another starting pitcher. The Yanks might have to bite the bullet and sign Big Ugly, which probably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

    • http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/images/2008/05/04/melky_cabrera_cant_believe_it_phixr.png Drew

      I honestly have no idea who the hell big ugly is.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        Just guessing, Lackey?

        • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

          a.k.a. the Crimson Chin

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Why do they need another starter? If Pettitte is retained, they have five starters and plenty of depth after that. Why do they need another SP?

      • http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/images/2008/05/04/melky_cabrera_cant_believe_it_phixr.png Drew

        +1.

        I’d much rather have Ace/Gaudin/IPK/Mitre/Nova/Wang(?)/Hirsh as our 6th starter and go get A-rold then have us spend money on a sixth starter.

        • TheLastClown

          I really hope Wang remains a Yankee. If he comes back to form, this team will be unstoppable with no new pitching additions.

        • http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/images/2008/05/04/melky_cabrera_cant_believe_it_phixr.png Drew

          Oh, Z-mac probably fits somewhere down in the bottom too.

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          Nova? Ivan Nova? I nova heard of ‘em. Now Jason Hirsch, that guy I’ve heard of.

          • http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/images/2008/05/04/melky_cabrera_cant_believe_it_phixr.png Drew

            You picked the wrong guy. That’s your buddy sittin next to you, tryin to pull a fast one.

            • JMK aka The Overshare
              • Salty Buggah

                That cat does remind me of Francesa for some reason

                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  Liberty Medical saved Jason Hirsch from the diabeetus.

      • TheLastClown

        Because people have little to no faith in either Hughes or Joba, despite the fact that they’ll be pitching a full season with proper stamina at the major league level for the first time.

        They’ll all see, though. They’ll all see.

      • JGS

        you can never have too much pitching, so I’m not opposed to bringing in more starters for depth purposes. Lackey wouldn’t be that though–you can have too much expensive, signed-to-multiyear-contracts pitching

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          THIS: you can never have too much pitching, so I’m not opposed to bringing in more starters for depth purposes.

          And That: Lackey wouldn’t be that though–you can have too much expensive, signed-to-multiyear-contracts pitching

          With JGS.

          • Mike

            why not . .Have seen what Lackey has done to us the past 5 years or so. If they years are right. i hope the yanks grab Lackey.

            • Bo

              They def need another starter. The more great starting pitching the better. You cant expect great health to continue.

              And putting two young guys into the rotation out of spring training isnt the strongest move. Ie 2008.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                And putting two young guys into the rotation out of spring training isnt the strongest move. Ie 2008.

                2010: not 2008

  • Omar

    I believe that they have the money, but more importantly the players aren’t right.

  • Omar

    Chapman is IMO the must sign of the offseason, well him and Cameron. I think somewhere along the year a corner OF and a starting pitcher will become available via-trade that would be a much more attractive option than either Holliday for a big deal or Lackey. Other than that, keep scouring the trade market. I’d like to deal Chamberlain for another high ceiling asset that had a down year this season (Nick Markakis anyone ;))

    That being said, if they sign Holliday or Lackey I won’t complain. :)

    • Salty Buggah

      Well, I’d complain with Lackey and maybe Holliday, depending on how many years he gets.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      It would be great to get Chapman but he is by no means a must-sign. He’s a lefty with great potential, someone who if subject to the draft, would certainly be a top-5 pick. But he’s ultimately a prospect—not a guy who will make an immediate impact and it’s certainly possible he never materializes into anything.

      We don’t need another starting pitcher outside of Pettitte considering the depth we have, especially not one like Lackey, who’d command big money and years. It would ultimately hurt in the long run since you’d have three starting pitchers making huge money in their mid-30s. It’s a situation best avoided, particularly since we don’t have a real need for him.

      Holliday, while a good player, would similarly be a signing we don’t need—again, it’s a flexibility thing. He’d command 5 years, maybe more, for big money, and there should be better options next year (Crawford, though I have reservations about him and Mondesi is the only other RABer I know that has expressed the same hesitancy). We can certainly get by without him with what’s available in the FA market this year.

      I don’t see the Orioles trading Markakis. They’re rebuilding, he’s their most established player and frankly, I don’t think Chamberlain would get it done.

      • Salty Buggah

        “Crawford, though I have reservations about him and Mondesi is the only other RABer I know that has expressed the same hesitancy”

        Ahem. http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-688755

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          Goddamnit, you beat me by seconds. You and Ben. Sheeeesh.

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        *Correction regarding reservations on Crawford: Ben expressed concern as well, presumably because his game is predicated upon speed and defense, things that historically do not age well. He might not look so attractive at ages 32-34.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Correct. I certainly wouldn’t go beyond the age 34 season for Crawford. I might be convinced that he can keep the legs fresh, as Damon has done, through age 34.

          • Salty Buggah

            That and I’m still not completely convinced he could keep his OBP% that high (though his BB% has increased by over a percent in each of the past 2 seasons)

    • Salty Buggah

      And trading Joba for a “another high ceiling asset that had a down year” makes no sense at all. Markakis just signed a 6-year, $66.1 million extension through 2014 before this season so I’d doubt the O’s would want to trade him.

      • JSquared

        Yeah. I’d be willing to trade Joba and prospects for King Felix!!

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          I’d be willing to trade my parents, along with my prized mason jar containing bellybutton lint and back hair shavings, for King Felix.

          They might not want either, though.

        • Salty Buggah

          Yea definitely but he didnt exactly have a down year.

          • JSquared

            i was foregoing the down year comments just to make a point that i wouldnt think about trading Joba for a down year guy. but… i would trade for felix… anyone need a kidney? i’ll take King Felix in exchange.

    • Mike bk

      a potential stud who did have a down year is jay bruce and we all know the reds need someone to eat one of those pitching salaries in Harang or Arroyo. Harang is basically 1 year w a 2.5 buyout. Arroyo is similar but Harang has a better chance at not getting destroyed. doubt they would move bruce, but joba and unloading salary would make them listen.

      • Bo

        im sure Cincy would love to deal Bruce.

        Are you serious?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Harang is basically 1 year w a 2.5 buyout.

        Actually, according to Cot’s, Harang’s 2011 club option becomes a MUTUAL option if he is traded. So, Harang is not a 1 year with a 2.5 buyout, he’s a two year with no buyout.

        Two years at 24.5M for Harang. Pass.

        http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.c.....ds_24.html

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          But the Yankees could just decline their end of the mutual option. So, point moot. One year with a buyout it is.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but a mutual option works like this:

            Team has right to exercise option at higher dollar amount. If they decline, player has right to exercise option at lower dollar amount.

            So, no, it wouldn’t be a one year with a buyout, would it? Jason Varitek had a mutual option with the Sox this year. They declined it, but he exercised it, and he’s still stuck on that team.

            So, no, Harang wouldn’t be getting the full 14M of his 2011 option, but he would still be getting something (10M? 12M?) for 2011, because the club option converts to a player option upon Harang being traded.

  • JSquared

    If Damon wants a ridiculous amount of money… I can see the Yankees signing Mike Cameron and moving Melky to Left. That would upgrade the defense greatly.

    • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

      I’ve seen a lot of talk about Melky in LF but that makes no sense whatsoever. His bat is far too weak for LF. His value to any team is the ability to play CF.

      If we won’t need him there we should try to trade him for a better bat but worse defense outfielder at a club that needs CF defense. That is how trades are normally done – two players of equal value but which fill different needs at two clubs.

      • Nick

        I don’t think Melky’s weak bat in left would be a problem. The Yanks are plus offensively at nearly every other position, so Melky’s weak bat wouldn’t hurt them. And the defensive improvements of Melky over Damon (and Cameron over Melky) would help.

        If the yanks trade Melky, that just opens up another hole to fill. You’re not going to get a great player for Melky (Swisher trades are more aberrations than the norm), so that would only create more problems.

      • Stuckey

        “His bat is far too weak for LF. His value to any team is the ability to play CF.”

        Except that it’s NOT…

        NOT even considering the ridiculous offensive advantage the Yanks have over other teams at positions 2-7 and DH, Cabrera’s .752 OPS would have made him the 12 ranked LF among all LF’s who qualified with enough ABs.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Yankees “are not interested in signing Holliday.”

    ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Yankees “are not interested in signing Holliday.”

    ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Yankees “are not interested in signing Holliday.”

    ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Yankees “are not interested in signing Holliday.”

    Just in case anyone missed it the first 4 times

    ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Yankees “are not interested in signing Holliday.”

    • Chris

      They also weren’t interested in signing Tex last year.

      I don’t expect the Yankees to sign Holliday, but these statements are as much propaganda as they are a true statement of the Yankees intentions.

      • Bo

        Well what if Holliday says I’d come here for 3 yrs and 10 mil a yr? what if Damon signs in SF and Bay in Bost?

        Would they be interested now???

        Let the market develop before you put out proclamations about players and where they will end up.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Let the market develop before you put out proclamations about players and where they will end up.

          I don’t “need the market to develop” before I tell you, Bo, that there’s no fucking way that Holliday accepts a 3yr/30M deal. There’s no point in even mentioning ridiculously farfetched scenarios like that.

          Your post is dumb.

  • larryf

    Melky would be fine in LF. Did you see how he brilliantly backed off that foul ball that was a foot INSIDE the line against Mauer in the playoffs? :-) He is nothing great on defense but has a fine arrm and is an upgrade over JD but—almost anyone would be. Damon is proof that you don’t need a great defender in LF or CF (2004) to win if you’re strong enough elsewhere and the Yanks are.

    How about the issue of Cervelli who I like as a defender handling the pitching staff for 40-50 games???

    • chriskeo

      He proved to us this year he can handle a veteran staff. He should do fine as the backup catcher next year, and, in my opinion, he is an upgrade over Molina in both his speed and more importantly his bat.

      • Bo

        catching 20 games doesnt prove he can handle a staff. The guy did a great job filling in. But that doesnt mean he can handle the backup role. His minor league hitting stats leave something to be desired.

        • All Praise Be To Mo

          “Handle the backup role”? How hard is it? He’s shown in a small smaple being able to call a good game, the pitchers all loved working with him, and an armless person is better at the plate than Jose Molina. I’m all for giving him the backup job, think he can be a great backup over the next few years with (hopefully) Montero behind the dish, but more likely Romine or (pipe dream) Mauer.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Damon is proof that you don’t need a great defender in LF or CF (2004) to win if you’re strong enough elsewhere and the Yanks are.

      Irrelevant. The fact that you can win a title without having a great defender in LF or CF does not mean that you should be content with having a poor defender in LF or CF. You should still be attempting to rectify that shortcoming.

      • Bo

        Who’s a better bat than Damon right now?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I don’t know, but I do know who’s better at using the reply button properly:

          Every person in the world not named Bo.

  • Reggie C.

    If the Yanks really prefer Carl Crawford to Matt Holliday, the organization shouldn’t make a move for Holliday unless he was willing to take a shorter length deal. Holliday doesn’t want to come here that bad, so the fit is simply not there.

    I feel fairly confident that one of Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford will sign with the Yankees. However, if Werth signs an extension before then, the Yankees will have serious competition for Crawford.

    • Nick

      The Rays picked up Crawford’s option, so I don’t see how he’s even an option for next year. I looked on Yahoo, and Werth isn’t mentioned as a possible free agent, so that eliminates that option too.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        He’s talking about Crawford for next year. Werth will be a free agent next year, too.

  • Mac

    The Yanks have about 36 Million coming off this year….

    Sign Pettitte, maybe guarantee him a little bit more.

    I would love if they could flip IPK, Ivan Nova, and A-Jax for Granderson. He fits perfectly, they could even still go out and potentially sign Matsui or Damon (Split Melky/Damon LF Time, Use Damon at DH more). But if this can’t happen then signing Damon or Figgins makes more sense then retaining Godzilla.

    That still leaves some money to be in the bidding for Chapman and possibly some relief.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      “IPK, Ivan Nova, and A-Jax”

      Sorry, but Detroit is not taking this for Granderson. They’re only dangling him for a big return. They’re not going to trade one of their currently affordable players for a middling return. They can do that next year when he gets more expensive.

      • Mac

        What do you think it would take then?

        A-Jax, Russo, IPK, McCallister?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Why would Detroit take anything less than Hughes? Just adding guys to a proposal does not make it better. Detroit wants a big return, and this is not a big return. They can get that kind of package for Granderson next year.

          • CountryClub

            Because they want to get out from under his future contract (I know he’s still cheap for next season) and they know he’s not as good as the MSM thinks he is.

            Regardless, I’d rather the Yanks not trade for him.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          What do you think it would take then?

          Enough that you should stop asking, because you won’t want to give it up.

          • Bo

            hughes for granderson????

            I guess someone hasnt seen grandersons splits.

            All i hear is hes a great guy but that doesnt make up for his terrible splits. Hes def not worth hughes or chamberlain.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Bo, LEARN TO USE THE FUCKING REPLY BUTTON.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              No. He’s not. But I’m saying that that’s what Detroit would want. Otherwise, they wouldn’t trade him.

              You’re on a roll of failed reading comprehension this morning, Bo.

  • Mike

    Yanks DO need starting pitching. Yes Pettite is coming back, he’s another year older and we don’t know how he’s going to pitch. And Joba and Phil Hughes are question marks.

    I’m in big time favor of signing Lacky to a 4 year deal . I say NO to 5. In this market we may get away with 4.

    Now if we don’t go after Lackey, I hope the Yanks look at Bedard or Sheets. Sheets would be nice. Having an insurance policy behind Andy is the Yankees biggest need. NOT Left Field

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      And Joba and Phil Hughes are question marks.

      No, they’re not.

      Joba and Phil are the two least questionable question marks in the history of all interrogative statements.

      • Bo

        Joba had one of the worst second halves in the majors. His fastball was nonexistant and he didnt improve start to start. And Hughes has done nothing as a starter in the big leagues.

        I think they would certainly qualify as question marks.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I think they would certainly qualify as question marks.

          You’d be wrong.

          • Count Zero

            I don’t know — in Bo’s defense here, I could call Joba a question mark. He’s not saying, “he sucks” or “he will never be a starter” — he’s saying he is a question mark in the rotation.

            Objectively, Joba now has a career 1.374 WHIP in the show. 9.1 K/9 is awesome, but 3.9 BB/9 — not so much. Compound that by the fact that last year was worse — 1.544 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and an ERA+ of 90…so let’s not trip over ourselves to call him an anchor in the rotation.

            I agree that Joba breaks camp in the rotation because his ceiling (which he has shown to be realistic at times) far exceeds that of 90% of MLB pitchers and he’s still a kid. But I think it’s fair to question what we will get. Will he be the dominant Joba we have seen at times, or are his increasing BBs and reduced Ks a sign that the league has figured out how to hit against him? Is the velocity decrease real or just a function of increased innings? Can he really command three pitches, or is he strictly FB/SL?

            This will be a “show-me” year for Joba — whichever way it goes, that will be how we evaluate Joba as a long-term piece of the Yankees. Question mark is fair.

        • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

          All of these statements are false and mystifying, bro.

  • http://thetundrablog.blogspot.com/ Jake H

    I think that the Yanks will be talking to a lot of agents mostly just to keep tabs. 2 year deal max for Damon.

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    I would honestly get sick if the yankees signed another FA to a long term deal. The roster is going to get pretty old pretty quickly that way, and there won’t be any room for guys like Montero, Heathcott, etc.. I used to visit the Yankee MLB board all the time, but I want to slap myself everytime I go back there because some of the people are just ridiculous with their trades and FA signings, and many of them have no clue what is going on within the organization.

  • steve s

    I’d like the Yanks guiding strategy for the next 2-4 years to be simply the following: how do we maximize the last few productive years of Jeter/Arod. I’d say that strategy means you forget about getting younger and lowering payroll, go out and bring in guys in their prime (Holliday or Crawford to play left, Lackey or Halladay to start for example) and secure 1-3 more titles over the next 4 years. There will be a price to pay and a real rebuilding needed starting year 5 or so but cementing the Jeter years as the greatest period in Yankee history makes it worth it IMO even if there is a real down period immediately following the Jeter years.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Hmmmm… no.

      • Bo

        No team thinks this way.

        They feel they can still win titles while getting younger and more versatile.

        Thats why you have a farm system.

        • steve s

          Agreed; the conventional thinking is that a team needs to balance old and new with an eye towards getting younger and cheaper. The Yanks demonstrated last year that by bringing in a critical mass of very good to great players to an established talented but somewhat flawed team can get you over the hump. Staying over the hump, with this group, means more of the same type of push for next few years with an inevitable rebuild to follow. Personally I’d like that to happen. I’d take another couple of WS wins in the next 4 year period and a rebuild over the make the playoffs but fall short of a WS title that happened after 2000.

          • http://theyankeeway.mlblogs.com/ Keanu Reeves

            How about the Yankees just try to win every year? I think that’s okay too.

  • theyankeewarrior

    I think the idea behind skipping over Holliday and signing Crawford is because they believe Crawford will cost less, and provide more speed/defense to the lineup. Crawford will be about half a year younger than Holliday, so age isn’t much of a factor here. But I can easily see Crawford excelling through his age 33-34 season. (He will turn 34 at the end of his potential 5th season in NY) Holliday seems to be more prone to falling off a physical cliff (like Damon) after season #2 or 3 in the Bronx. This also gives the Yankees another season to monitor what they might need to do with Jeter.

    Crawford will be able to cover the football field that is LF in Yankee stadium much better than Holliday. Also, he slots perfectly into the 2-hole and can use that LH swing to park bad pitches.

    Sign me up for the Carl Crawford 2011 campaign.

    Sign up Matsui, Damon and Cameron for 2010 and keep one of them (probably Damon) around for 2011 to be the full time DH. He can sit the bench when the vets need a half day off and be the 4th OF. Also, his tendencies to have long ABs and fould off a million pitches make him a solid pinch hitter. He can find his groove throughout the AB late in a game.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I looked it up, for shits and giggles:

      Matsui, Career – .292/.370/.482 (.852), 3618 PA
      Matsui, as PH – .333/.417/.500 (.917), 36 PA

      Damon, Career – .288/.355/.439 (.794), 9433 PA
      Damon, as PH – .170/.270/.245 (.515), 64 PA

      Mike Cameron, Career – .250/.340/.448 (.788), 7435 PA
      Cameron, as PH – .167/.348/.444 (.792), 23 PA

      If we’re going to keep one of the three around for another year as a 2011 DH/PH, and we don’t really have a need for that player to play in the OF (because we’d already have some amalgam of Swisher/Melky/Gardner/AJax/Crawford/Werth/etc), it should probably be ol’ man Matsui and not Damon. Matsui is by far the best natural hitter of the three.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Why do you say that about Holliday? Breaking down physically, I mean. He’s never had any injury issues. However, his fielding has declined every year since ’07 (14.7 to 10.9 to 6.0), so that’s something to keep an eye on. Anyway, I’d say a guy who bases his game on speed like Crawford is more likely to break down just because of the wear that puts on his legs.

      • theyankeewarrior

        I see that side of the argument, but (and I’m assuming the Yankees do their HW and know more about this than we do) Carl Crawford seems more like an “athlete” than Holliday, who seems more like a bulky, power hitter than may lose his ability to run more quickly. As long as CC can still run, he will be the same player for a long time. 33 isn’t as old as it used to be, and even Damon still had league average OF legs at 33. Crawford has some of the best wheels in baseball. My point is that Holliday fits the description of an aging, DH-type whereas Crawford seems to be the kind of player that can delay his athletic decline until he’s on the wrong side of 35. Although it’s a SSS, I see the Matsui DH/PH argument. But it might take 2yrs to nab Damon and only 1 for Godzilla.

  • JohnC

    Sign Cameron, Sheets, and Chapman this offseason. And I would try and bring back Wang on a lesser 1 year deal. Would be a mistake to just let him go.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’d be all for signing Sheets, but I doubt he would want to sign here. He’ll go somewhere like Texas where they have a less settled starting rotation and he can slot right into a spot in the top 5.

      • JohnC

        He’d be the the number 4 starter here, assuming he is healthy. Slot him in behind CC, AJ and Andy. Keep Joba in the pen and Hughes becomes the number 5 starter.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          The only way the Yankees sign another SP is if Pettitte isn’t coming back.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Keep Joba in the pen

          NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

        • http://theyankeeway.mlblogs.com/ Keanu Reeves

          Joba is a starter until he proves beyond reasonable doubt that he cannot succeed in that role. You don’t just take a kid with his talent, give him two years as a starter and decide that he can’t do it.

      • Reggie C.

        This is adding ex-Brewers at eye-brow raising rate.

        Ben Sheets would do well to sign with a NL team. I can totally see St. Louis or the Dodgers make a play for Sheets’s services.

        • Bo

          Why would he leave the NL?

          Unless they offered more $ that is

  • Tubby

    The Yankees have the opportunity to build another dynasty right now. Now is not the time to look at stop-gaps, one-year solutions, and payroll cleansing. The champagne and caviar seats will sell next year, the economy will turn around, and money will flow at YS3. We should be using that to our advantage.

    This doesn’t mean we should go out and sign Lackey to a 5 year deal, but guys like Matt Holliday are the guys we should want to sign to long term contracts. Why wouldn’t we want him in the 2 or 5 hole for the next 5 years? I don’t understand the fear that a player of Holliday’s caliber will break down at age 33 or 34. I also don’t understand the fear of long-term contracts in general. We don’t win #27 without the long-term contracts and extensions that were handed over the past two years. The Yankees have the unique advantage of being able to recover from bad contracts. We dumped hundreds of millions into RJ, Vazquez, Pavano, Igawa, Wright, Brown, etc and, yet, had no problem committing a billion plus to A-Rod, Mo, Jorge, Pettitte, CC, Tex, and AJ. Let’s stop trying to save money that doesn’t need to be saved.

    The added bonus is that FA signings don’t need to come at the expense of youth development. Signing Holliday isn’t going to block Ajax. Re-signing Matsui isn’t going to block Montero. Re-signing Pettitte doesn’t take away a rotation spot from Joba or PHIL. We can have the best of both worlds, as we did in our last dynasty.

    • chriskeo

      But the Yankees can try to keep essentially the same team as last year so as not to have the entire infield, LF, 2 SP, and Mo, all locked up for a long time.

      • Tubby

        What is the downside to having a bunch of great players locked up for a long time?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          A) They won’t be great forever
          B) You will be wasting the young talent you have on the farm who can equal their production for a fraction of the price

          • Tubby

            No, they won’t be great forever, but there’s no indication that they won’t be great through the life of their contract. Even someone like Giambi, who seemed to be broken down for the life of his contract, was still a beast in the last year of his 7 yr deal.

            What young talent is being wasted? I’m not aware of any prospects who are being blocked by Jeter, A-Rod, Tex, or CC. The blue-chippers still have room to play on this team.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          When they’re all over or heading towards 30, it’s not all that great.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Matt Holliday isn’t wise on a five year deal because the Yankees will then have three corner spots locked in for the next 5-8 years, which kinda shoots their flexibility. There’s also signs he’s in decline:

      —His UZR/150 has dropped each year from ’07
      —His OPS is trending downwards
      —His IsoP is tending downwards
      —His wOBA is trending downwards
      —His HR/AB is trending downwards

      • Reggie C.

        How much of that decline can be accounted for his play in Oakland. Holliday was money in St. Louis.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Not that much, I don’t think. His only real trouble this year was in away games in the A.L. His SLG during away games in his time w/OAK was only .416 (204 PAs, 178 ABs).

        • Bo

          OPS trending downwards?

          Someone didnt watch him hit when he got to STL.

          Dont judge Holliday by his 3 months in hell/Oakland.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            No, I’m just looking at the last three years all together. He’s gone from 1.012 to .947 to .909. His BABIP also jumped 30 points from his career while he was in StL, so that could easily be corrected. I’m not gonna throw a bunch of money at a guy based on a 270 PA sample.

    • JohnC

      I’d stay away from Holliday. Boras will be looking for huge dollars and about 6 years and he is not worth it. He was awful in Oakland last year the time he was there.

      • Tubby

        How was Holliday awful in Oakland? His OPS+ was 120. Carl Crawford’s career high OPS+ is 117.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Carl Crawford is a completely different player than Matt Holliday.

          • Tubby

            I agree. He’s a player who’s not nearly as good offensively. I have no interest in signing a player to a long term deal just to chase down fly balls. Crawford doesn’t get on base enough to be at the top of the order. He’s not going to steal 50+ bases hitting in front of Tex and A-Rod. He’s not going to be able to take advantage of the deep RF corner at the Trop which allowed him to turn doubles into triples. He’s a great athlete who is going to make way to much money for his .335 OBP.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              First of all, I’ve never advocated for signing Crawford or trading for him.

              Second of all, no, Crawford doesn’t hit for a lot of power. That’s why comparing their OPS+ numbers is a little silly. That’s like comparing Tex’s and Jeter’s—it’s not going to match up for obvious reasons. Crawford’s value comes from his speed and his defense, not his power.

              Anyway, both of them carry reasons why they would fit the Yankees and why they wouldn’t. For 2010, I would not like to target either one of them.

              • Tubby

                My reply was aimed at the comment that Holliday was awful in Oakland. I used Crawford as a comp because he seems to be the most commonly mentioned alternative. I’ll concede that OPS+ doesn’t tell the whole story, but my main point was that Holliday wasn’t as bad in Oakland as many people seem to think.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  No, he wasn’t. He struggled in away games, that’s it.

  • Rob in CT

    I’ll believe that they’re “not interested” in Matt Holliday when Holliday signs elsewhere for more money than the Yankees offered.

    Could happen. Maybe it will. But Matt Holliday is a very good player that would improve the team. You can be against signing him at X years & Y dollars, sure, but without knowing for sure what those numbers are, it would be silly to shut off the possibility. And I don’t think Brian Cashman is silly.

  • MattG

    This date, one year ago: Matsui needed to be dumped. Damon was a huge risk. The top priority was a new centerfielder.

    Somehow, the Yankees won the world series despite doing nothing about any of those issues. All three worked out swimmingly.

    Odds of it happening again?

    Bringing back the same outfield is not the answer. It may be what ends up happening, + Cameron, but ideally Matsui would be replaced by a younger, comparable bat with at least average defensive skills in left field.

    Replaced when, though? The only men who fit this description are Granderson, and maybe Bradley (who has other issues). That won’t be all. Sometime between now and the end of July, 2010, there will be more options.

    Oh, by the way, Detroit might be more motivated to move Granderson than people in this thread believe. Sometimes teams love to focus on what a player can’t do, and Granderson has some pretty prolific holes in his game. If Detroit really wants to trade him, they will not ask for Hughes. Being that Granderson is owed $25.75M, that’s not even remotely equal value. Austin Jackson is a very reasonable centerpiece for a deal.

    • Bo

      I cannot take anyone seriously if they even suggest that this team trade for Milton Bradley.

      Thats a flat out joke.

  • Bo

    I could only see the Yankees Holliday signing if Damon wants a 3 yr deal+.

    I expect Damon to take a nice 2 yr deal and set up the Yankees for 2010 FA’s like Werth and Crawford.

  • Stuckey

    You know I agree that the Yanks have to give every chance for Montero to stick at catcher, but if there is legit significant concerns in the organization about that possibility, landlocking left and rightfield (with 1st base already locked) for years to come is probably not a good idea, which is I think perhaps partial motivation for the team not looking to make a multi-year commitment to a corner outfielder.

    His is the best bat they’ve had come through the organization in YEARS and had legit potential to be better than anything on the FA market right now I don’t think the want a guy who will probably be 21 or younger when he makes his debut locked into the DH spot.

    The catching question will likely be answered once and for all this year at Scranton, so I can see them wanting to retain some flexibility, particularly if there isn’t a NO-BRAINER option available, and I don’t think Bay, Holliday or even Crawford are non-brainer types like Sabathia and Teixeira were.

  • theyankeewarrior

    I like where some people are going with the whole “we have A-Rod and Jeter etc. now so lets win NOW” philosophy. But I think the 1 yr. stop-gap notion actually plays into that idea a bit. The Yankees may agree that Matt Holiday is a good fit for them, but even the Yankees have budgets. We don’t know what they are, but they do exist. They may have to choose between Holliday this year and a potential Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay deal next season. If signing 1yr deals this winter allows them to free up enough cash to sign Crawford and Lee next winter, then that’s what they should do.

    When Cashman says “this will be a long, drawn-out winter”, I believe him. He is going to sit back and see how much money he can save on 1yr deals before he puts big-time money down. In an ideal world, he gets 2 or 3 of Damon, Mastui and Cameron for 2010 and saves up big cash for 2011 when the large mouth bass will be hungry.

    Keep in mind that we still have an outside chance at nabbing Mauer, who would be the best player on our team come 2011.

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