Yanks order of operations starts with Pettitte

Budget? The Yanks don't need no stinking budget
Yanks plans don't include Jason Bay or Matt Holliday

This isn’t too much of a surprise, but as word gets out about the Yanks’ off-season plans, the team is going to focus first on Andy Pettitte. According to a Mark Feinsand report, “getting Andy Pettitte back in the fold” is “the team’s first order of business” this winter. After securing Pettitte’s services, the Yanks will turn their attention to Johnny Damon and the left field vacancy. Hideki Matsui, meanwhile, seems to be the odd free agent out.

As far as strategies go, this is a sound one. If Damon heads elsewhere, he won’t sign until after Jason Bay and Matt Holliday have their deals. The Yanks have some calendar leeway in that regard. By focusing on Pettitte first, the team will know what pitcher cards they hold heading into 2010. If Andy opts to go home, the Bombers brass can turn its attention to John Lackey, Roy Halladay or a plethora of other pitchers. If Andy sticks around the Bronx for another season, the team doesn’t have to worry about securing a mid-rotation starter in a market low on good pitching.

Where I disagree with this approach though is in the hunt for a designated hitter. Numerous comments by team officials over the last few days suggest that Joe Girardi will use a rotating DH to rest his regulars. Thus, a utility player will have to be in the lineup everyday. Unless the Yanks sign a versatile Mark DeRosa-type who can also hit, their offensive production, as I explored last month, will suffer. Still the winter is young, and there are still many, many moves to make.

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Budget? The Yanks don't need no stinking budget
Yanks plans don't include Jason Bay or Matt Holliday
  • kenthadley

    how about Felipe Lopez as an all around 10th man?

    • Rose

      All around 10th man can be plugged with a cheap Ramiro Pena type guy for now…Lopez would be expensive for a 10th man. I’d rather use that money to sure up Matsui at DH

  • Rose

    I don’t like this new proposed “budget.” This may confirm the worst…and our fear that this “revolving DH door” or “Mets Platoon” as TSJC calls it…may actually be a reality.

    If that’s the case…the confidence level ticks down a notch or two.

    • OldYanksFan

      One has to remember that even if healthy, Posada will only start 100 games at C. That leaves him 50 games at DH. Without a 2nd surgery, it can’t hurt to give ARod a dozen or so games at DH. Throw in a few for Jeter and the DH slot is almost 1/2 used.

      Whether we have a DH or not, we will see our BUC and UINF start some games. The same will be even more true in 2011, when ARod, Jeets and Po are a year older. This is the nature of keeping players for their whole career.

      Miranda will be 27. His position is DH. He’s free. Why not give him a shot at a few ABs?

      I believe Cashman does want to trim payroll. NOT because he has to, but because he wants to. If so, DH is the position to compromise on. There is no problem going into April ‘lean and mean’, and touching up at the ASB IF necessary. I’m sure there will be plenty of cheap bats to be had in July.

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

        There’s absolutely no reason for Cashman to trim payroll unless he has to. As long as the Yanks can afford to spend the money to win, why wouldn’t they? That argument — that he wants to and doesn’t have to — just doesn’t fly.

        • bkight13

          They probably banked an extra $50m by winning the Series. Now is not the time to have a budget. They already have about $40m coming off the books if they lose Damon, Matsui, Pettitte, Wang, Nady and Molina. If they bring back Pettitte $8M and sign Damon or Matsui $8m they have plenty of money to fill LF/DH and the bench.

  • Rose

    If Andy opts to go home, the Bombers brass can turn its attention to John Lackey, Roy Halladay or a plethora of other pitchers. If Andy sticks around the Bronx for another season, the team doesn’t have to worry about securing a mid-rotation starter in a market low on good pitching.

    I had said this same exact thing before…but people disagreed. They had said that the Yankees would focus on Roy or Lackey or SP regardless of signing Pettitte or not. I disagreed. With this new “budget”…if we sign Pettitte…I would keep our rotation as is…and continue to focus on Damon and Matsui…then things should be set.

  • Bob Stone

    Sign Pettitte, Damon and Matsui. This team can win it all again.

    • Rose

      Agreed. I do worry about relying on Joba and Hughes pitching all year for the first time in their careers…but I think we can afford to gamble on that for now…and see what we can do to deal with it during the season if (heaven forbid) we need to and that happens.

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

        Did you miss Joba pitching all year in 2009?

        • Rose

          Without Joba Rules

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

            Even if he had “Joba rules” for ’10, he’d be able to pitch all season w/o hindrance. If the Yankees went more conservative than they did in ’09–that is, a 30 IP increase rather than ~60, Joba would be targeted for ~180 innings in ’10. As a fourth starter, he could very easily reach that w/o skipping or shortening any starts.

            Even if Hughes has a limit, he’ll be around 140 or so innings for that limit and, as we saw with Joba, that is very reachable.

            • Yank Man

              Before you start to worry about “Joba Rules”, Joba has to start pitching past the 4th inning when he starts. Until then, don’t worry about any rules.

              • Rose

                Good point.

              • Steve H

                Bad point. He went at least 5 innings in 18 starts, and had 7 more end of year starts when they were intentionally keeping his innings down so he had no chance of going 5. #5 starters don’t throw 200 innings a year, they don’t go 6+ innings every time out. Add in he’s a 23 year old on an inning count, what do you expect?

            • Rose

              Even if Hughes has a limit, he’ll be around 140 or so innings for that limit and, as we saw with Joba, that is very reachable.

              He pitched about 157 innings in 09…you think it would go down in 10?

  • pat

    Order of operations is usually dictated by PEMDAS.

    • Accent Shallow

      Once wonderfully phrased by a friend of mine in sixth grade or so:

      “Please eat my dog, Aunt Sally.”

  • Rose

    If they do decide to go for this horrible revolving DH door…you either need to make up for it with a DeRosa type…OR you need to shore up a better rotation…Halladay or (please no) Lackey would have to be on the radar…

    Having a rotation of CC, AJ, Pettitte (assuming he even comes back) and Joba and Hughes (neither of which has started a full season) while worsening your offense by a good amount…just doesn’t seem to be all that smart.

  • Steve H

    What about Delgado for DH? The only way the rotating DH works is if Melky is your 10th guy (and playing regularly obviously). This would would work if you sign Damon and Cameron, and is the only way the “rotating DH works”.

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

      +1

      Delgado wouldn’t be a bad idea, but I’d prefer Matsui and Damon at DH first.

      • Steve H

        I would prefer Damon and Matsui, but at what cost? I think those two will be much more expensive than Delgado at this point (with good reason). If we can get Delgado cheap, and he doesn’t pan out, we can pick up a DH type bat at or before the deadline. A guy like that shouldn’t be too hard to pick up in a trade. In fact, with all of the DH types on the market this year, it wouldn’t be surprising for some of them to get 1 year deals, and if their team is out of it in July, they’d likely be willing to trade. Look at the Thome trade last year, I think finding a DH midseason if the 1st DH doesn’t work out won’t be tough.

  • pat

    Fuck this rotating DH noise. The regulars aren’t nearly old enough to warrant sitting one every day.

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

      Well, to be fair, Jorge probably is. However, w/o a competent hitting back up catcher (see: Zaun, Gregg), it becomes hard to put him at DH and not lose a lot of your offense.

      • Rose

        Especially when on other days…you’re putting Arod, Jeter, whoever else in there…and inserting a similarly horrible bat in Pena, etc. Constantly having a really horrendous bat in the lineup…in place of Matsui’s extremely above average bat…is lunacy

      • Brian Cashman is Watching

        If the back up catcher was a good hitter, he would be starting. Besides, back up catcher is the least of any teams worries.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    Haven’t we all learned never to trust what the GM says?

    • Steve H

      You mean like when Theo said Lugo made so many errors because of his oustanding range? I know a TON of Sox fans here in Boston that bought that one hook, line and sinker.

      • Zack

        Sox fans take everything Theo says as straight from the baseball bible.

        • Steve H

          Didn’t Theo write the baseball bible?

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

            The baseball bible was written by the divine hand of Mo YOU HERETIC

            If these were simpler times we would drag you in front of the Inquisition

            • Steve H

              Sorry, I was speaking from the perspective of a Sox fan, they truly believe Theo wrote it. Though, after the Scutaro signing, I have one friend pining for the days of Dan Duquette (who brought in Manny/Pedro/Lowe/Tek, etc.)

      • Rose

        Sox fans are the worst…they’re the most hypocritical bunch of morons in all of sports fandom. The big excuse was payroll for years…until they started buying everybody in sight too…then that went away…then when we stepped up and they starting moving backwards…now it’s the payroll issue again. Payroll isn’t an issue when you have over $100M than the Pirates…it’s only an issue if you have more money than the Red Sox.

        And don’t get me started on the whole steroids thing too. They actually thought there was no chance any of their players were tainted with it…then it comes out and instead of continuing their stance on the issue…they just stay silent and pretend it never happened.

  • dch

    Guys- Posada needs to start DHing-If he can catch half the week 80-90 games and DH 50-60-it improves our team defense and offense. Same with Damon. You use the other 40 or games to give Jeter and Arod a rest every 10-12 days.

    • Steve H

      So who do you bring in as a backup catcher? You cannot run Cervelli out there 70-80 times a year.

      • Zack

        Agreed, I like Cervelli for 20-30 games, not 70-80.
        Unfortunately the only FA C are Barajas, Kendall, Molina, Olivo, or Torrealba, and are probably looking for full time spots and most guaranteed money they can get.

        • Brian Cashman is Watching

          Exactly. If the catcher is a good hitter, then he will want to start, or at least be paid like a starter. Cervelli is fine if you accept him for what he is: a good defensive back up catcher.

          And the Yankees will let Posada catch around 120 games this year. They are not going to drop back to 80 games unless Posada gets hurt, in which case we might be seeing Montero sooner than expected. . .

  • crawdaddie

    Let me be the first to suggest that I think the Yankees will sign Matsui before Damon. I think he’ll be more agreeable to coming to terms while Boras leaves Damon out their dangling for some dumb team to come to his rescue.

  • ultimate913

    If Pettitte decides to retire, doesn’t that give the Blue Jays leverage in any trade talks for Halladay? Me no like.

    • Steve H

      I don’t think so. Either way, the Blue Jays are going to take the best offer, the Yankees will either offer it or not, regardless of Pettitte. A guy like Lackey signing might increase the Jays leverage as there could be multiple teams in on Lackey, Pettitte affects the Yankees only. If, for instance, the Yankees, Sox, and Angels all were big on signing Lackey, and he went to Seattle, Toronto could then gain some leverage for those three teams. The Pettitte decision I don’t think increases the package the Jays will get for Halladay.

  • BringBackWillieRandolph

    Have the Yanks given any thought to resigning Nady to play left? Seems like he’d be reasonable in cost, and probably on a shorter term deal due to his health issues. I’d also see what it would cost to get Adam Dunn from Washington-he’d be a perfect DH for us, and you could use him in left every once in a while if you want to DH Jorge.
    I’d love to have Pettitte back, but he needs to make that decision soon. If he doesn’t want to come back, I’d try to sign two of Sheets, Harden and Bedard, and see who pans out and can stay healthy. That way, you’ve got little long term money tied up, and you have a lot of flexibility.

    • Zack

      Nady is coming off his 2nd TJS, there should be no thought as him as your starting anything, way too big of a chance of ending up with Melky/Garnder in LF/CF.

      Dunn had a ridiculous asking price last year, he’d be perfect for DH but should never be in the field.

  • dch

    Molina and/or Cervelli or a free agent-listen I love Posada. I personally think his contribution to the Yankee success over all these years has been greatly under appreciated. He is still an offensive force and resting him more but keeping his bat in the lineup as a DH will help us more than catching him 135-140 games a year. Same with Damon-his defense and throwing is getting scary. DH Posada-50-60 games, Damon a little less and split the remainder with Jeter and A-rod getting the lions share. If Matsui could still play a regular LF the decision would get harder-but honestly I don’t think he can. He is Class A player and guy. He had a great year and he had a great World Series-but so did John Wettland in 1996.

    • Steve H

      Molina and Cervelli cannot be in the lineup 50-80 times a year. They just can’t. If you have a FA catcher in mind, let me know, but Molina/Cervelli isn’t the answer. What they bring defensively over Posada they lose a lot more offensively, making them a weaker team.

      • Rose

        Exactly. No way in hell. And no way Posada takes DHing full time quietly either. Posada is behind the plate…Cervelli is the backup. Take it easy, Molina. At least you’ll always go down as the last player to hit a home run at YSII

  • Brian Cashman is Watching

    Again, why do we jump to the conclusion that the rotating DH automatically means utility player starts often? They just want a DH that can play the field, such as Damon. Matsui, Johnson, Dunn, all are nice choices if plan A doesn’t work. But wouldn’t you rather have Damon as the DH and let him play 80 games in the field, with Cameron, Posada, and Swisher spending some time at DH? Think about the potential lineups:

    Jeter SS
    Damon DH
    Teixeira 1B
    Rodriguez 3B
    Posada C
    Cano 2B
    Swisher RF
    Cameron CF
    Cabrera LF

    This is your strongest defensive lineup, and still a very good lineup. Damon+Cabrera will not be “too” expensive and will likely come with shorter term contracts if the Yankees were to resign them.

    Now, say Posada needs a day off:

    Jeter SS
    Damon LF
    Teixeira 1B
    Rodriguez 3B
    Posada DH
    Cano 2B
    Swisher RF
    Cameron CF
    Cervelli C

    Your offensive drop off is Cabrera to Cervelli. Not that large. You can also shift Cabrera around to center with Cameron DHing, or right for Swisher. All outfielders and your catcher get plenty of rest. Every one worries about Rodriguez, Jeter, Teixeira getting days off. But under this configuration, the Yankees can do that and not take the offensive hit because Cabrera would sit with Damon in the field. Besides, I none of those three is going to play 162 games this year, and this configuration gives the most flexibility.

    Now, admittedly, this depends on Cameron/Damon, but there may be other outfielders out there that might work just as well. But having a set DH, like a David Ortiz, hurts the teams ability to keep its older players in top form. Let’s not just assume this means Ramiro Pena will start 50 games a year.

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

      What you have presented here, though, isn’t the rotating DH situation. Rather, it’s the situation where the Yanks sign Cameron to play center and retain Damon to serve as the DH/4th outfielder. That’s not what the Yanks mean when they talk about rotating DH.

      But having a set DH, like a David Ortiz, hurts the teams ability to keep its older players in top form.

      Hideki Matsui and the 2009 Yankees beg to differ.

      • Brian Cashman is Watching

        Your point is valid. I just have a feeling this is more what Girardi means when he says “rotating DH”. At least that is more in line with his recent statements, rather than giving Ramiro Pena and assorted scrubs make up the bottom of his lineup every day.

        Point on Matsui is well taken as well, but all year long we heard multiple stories about Matsui’s knees and other assorted aches and pains, such as Rodriguez. They are also a year older. If they can’t find another outfielder, then a full time DH makes more sense. But I think Girardi prefers a DH that can play the field.

  • dch

    Touching on what somebody else said-Damon DHs-Posada catches Cabrera in LF. Posada-DHs-Damon LF-Cervelli-Catches. The drop off is from Cabrera-Cervelli (for now). And the defense is better.

  • pon

    To All:
    Tell me why Girardi cannot be as wise as the posters on this page?