Here are this weeks top three…
teams on the rise:
- Seattle Mariners
- Baltimore Orioles
- Philadelphia Phillies
teams on the decline:
- Anaheim Angels
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Boston Red Sox
free agent signings:
- John Lackey to the Red Sox
- Chone Figgins to the Mariners
- Hideki Matsui to the Angels (edit: thanks to Evan Coleman for the correction.)
- Curtis Granderson to the Yankees
- Cliff Lee to the Mariners
- Milton Bradley to the Mariners
available free agents:
- Matt Holliday
- Jason Bay
- Ben Sheets
If you have any questions or comments on any of the picks I made, leave a comment on this entry and I’ll reply to you.
Bottom line: With Bruney and Coke gone and left field taken care of, the Yankees need pitching, and lots of it. With the bullpen thin, Chamberlain and Hughes need to stay there. So, as the rotation stands right now, there are only three guys there. Cashman has hinted that Lackey is too high of a price, so lets take a look at a smaller investment: Kelvim Escobar.
- He will come pretty cheap.
- He has a 4.15 ERA in 12 seasons.
- He has pitched in Anaheim, so he is used to big games.
- He has postseason experience.
- He is pretty young at age 33.
- He has started over 200 games in his career.
- He isn’t a type A or B, so the Yankees won’t lose any draft picks.
- There are better options on the free agent market.
- He was injured last year and had very limited playing time.
- He walked 7.2 batters per nine innings last season.
Chat or Chuck?
Chat. With three accomplished and reliable starters in Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte, a big game ace pitcher, such as Lackey, is just unnecesary. Escobar can be a reliable end of the rotation pitcher. Like I said, the Yankees need pitching. Every option is important, and Escobar is a very good option.
The holidays are approaching, so I think it’s a good time to put together a wish list. For the Yankees, of course.
- Resist the urge to sign Hideki Matsui. I’ve said it before, his knees make him useless. I really don’t like having a player sit on the bench and clog up that DH spot considering their are other fielding capable players on the Yankees who will need that DH every once and a while.
- Sign Damon to a two-year deal. It will be tough to do considering Scott Boras is pushing for Jeter-like numbers (yeah right!). Damon showed last year that he is doing anything but decining and is probably on the incline. He had way better power numbers and looked better in the outfield.
- Keep your top prospects. That means no trading for Halladay and no trading for Granderson. I can’t tell you how horrible it would be for me to see the future of the Yankees deteriorate without even giving it a chance.
- Sign Bay or Holliday. The Yankees are going to need one of these guys, but certainly not both. They are both great players and can both fill a spot on this team.
- Sign a starting pitcher. I don’t care if its Lackey, I dont care if it’s Bedard, I don’t care who it is. The Yankees are going to need a starting pitcher no matter what. CC and AJ are the only sure ones right now, and that is not enough.
- Resign Pettitte. Age has proved to be an obstacle that he can overcome. He powered them through the playoffs and to a championship. The Yankees need starters anywhere they can get them. Pettitte will be cheap and will pay huge dividends.
- Keep Joba in the bullpen. Alright, I’ll admit it. He wasn’t that good when he pitched out of the ‘pen in the playoffs. But, please don’t tell me you can tolerate another year of him starting. I certainly can’t.
- Give Robertson more of a chance. Robertson had few tough outings during the year and was pure dominant in the playoffs. He escaped the toughest of jams that without a doubt helped the Yankees win it all. You want to make this team stronger, make Robertson a regular out of that ‘pen.
- To MLB: Expand replay. For all that was made of all the bad calls in the playoffs, I’ll give them that none of them made a huge difference (although Mauers “foul ball” probably would have). But one thing is for certain: in the next 100 World Series, there will be a missed call that changes the outcome of the series. I would hate to see that happen knowing that MLB passed up on it.
That’s what I want. What do you want?
He hasn’t been talked about much, but he’s out there. Remember a couple months ago when the Yankees were possibly going to trade for Bedard? Well, he’s now a free agent. The Yankees have starting pitching at the top of their wish list this offseason, or at least they should, and Bedard is an option.
- He had a 2.82 ERA this season in 15 starts.
- He is an overwhelming strikeout pitcher with a career 8.8 SO/9 ratio. He led the league with a 10.9 SO/9 ratio in 2007.
- He is a type B free agent, so the Yankees wouldn’t need to give up yet another first round draft pick like they would if they signed a type A such as Lackey. Eventually, the Yankees are going to need to go for the prospects. Now may be the time.
- He is a bit injury prone, making only 30 starts in the past two seasons.
- He walks a lot of people: 3.6 batters per nine innings.
- He gives up more than eight hits per nine innings. He led the league in that category in 2007.
- He has only pitched for Baltimore and Seattle and may not be able to handle a big, competitive city like New York.
Chat or Chuck?:
Chat. Why not? Bedard is the best choice besides Lackey. If the Yankees get Lackey, it will come at a much higher price and they will need to give up another first round pick, which is starting to get on my nerves. In the end, Bedard is a very good pitcher. Hey, they almost traded for him on their run to a championship.
Here are the results to the first New York Meter of the off season. Thanks to all who voted!
Should the Yankees resign Matsui?
Yes 0% (0 votes)
No 100% (3 votes)
My Vote: No
Yes, he was the World Series MVP, and nobody doubts that Matsui is a great, great hitter. But his knees have handcuffed his ability, and this day in age, a player that can’t play the field is a bit of a liability on a 25 man roster no matter how good of a hitter he is. You need every bit of talent you can get to win this game these days, and a player that can’t play the field just isn’t good enough.
Should the Yankees resign Damon?
Yes 75% (3 votes)
No 25% (1 vote)
My Vote: Yes
The 37 year old has shown zero signs of slowing down. The new Yankee Stadium has played right into his strengths, and may be a great reason to bring him back. His 24 home runs this year tied a career high. Unlike Matsui, Damon can still play the outfield — quite well he proved this year — and if needed, can still fall back on the DH.
Should the Yankees resign Pettitte?
Yes 100% (4 votes)
No 0% (0 votes)
My Vote: Yes
It was the same debate last year, and was a very questionable signing in the end. This year, it seems pretty obvious that the Yankees should bring him back. He won every clinching game for the Yankees in the postseason, and was a HUGE part of this championship. Pettitte should come at a cheap price with huge rewards for a 3rd or 4th starter.
What should the Yankees do about their backup catcher?
Resign Molina 20% (1 vote)
Go with Cervelli 80% (4 votes)
My Vote: Go with Cervelli
This may end up being a long, tough decision for the Yankees. With Molina, the Yankees get a great defensive catcher, but a terrible hitter. With Cervelli, the Yankees get a younger, more athletic player who is a much better hitter. Tough choice for the Yankees, but getting younger always seems to be the better choice, no matter what.
What position do the Yankees most need to fill in the offseason?
Left field 0% (0 votes)
Right field 0% (0 votes)
Starting pitcher 100% (4 votes)
Relief Pitcher 0% (0 votes)
Center field 0% (0 votes)
Catcher 0% (0 votes)
Other 0% (0 votes)
My Vote: Starting pitcher
Starting pitcher wins by a landslide. The biggest question marks remain in left field and right field, but if the Yankees will compete, they are going to need another starter. I have talked about Lackey, and I hope it will happen. But, either way, the point is that the Yankees will need something to go with CC, A.J., and maybe Pettitte. At most, the Yankees have 3 starters at the moment (assuming Joba doesn’t start PLEASE!). They need someone else.
I agree, there’s going to be a point where the Yankees are going to need to chill out and leave some of these stars behind. The last two years, the free agent markets have been very tempting and full or players willing to play for the Yankees.
Last year it was the huge investments in Teixeira, Burnett and Sabathia. So far, they have certainly worked out, and look to have been all good signings.
If there is something the Yankees need to look at first this year, it’s starting pitching. A three man rotation in the playoffs was risky but worked out. But with Pettitte aging, the Yankees are looking at just two solid starters going into the 2010 regular season.
So who’s out there? Well, the best is Lackey. The Yanks faced up against him in the ALCS and he pitched great. The 31 year old has a 3.81 ERA in eight career seasons.
Then the down side. Lackey is yet another type A free agent, which means the Yankees would lose yet another draft pick to the Angels. If you remember this years draft, the Yankees didn’t get a pick until very late in the draft due to the signings of Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira, all of which lost the Yankees first round picks.
But, then again, you play for now. You live in the moment. You play and sign players as if this season were your last. The Yankees are a championship team, the defending champions, and in no possible way a team in the rebuilding process. So, you go out there and make a team to repeat.
Chat or Chuck? Chat
Poll of the Day:
- Swing Early: This regular season, opposing hitters hit .354 on the first pitch from Lackey.
- Think Under the Ball: When the ball is hit on the ground against Lackey, opposing hitters are batting just .188, so focus on keeping the ball in the air.
- Work the Count: Lackey throws 64% of his pitches for strikes. That’s good, but nothing special. So, for the Yankees, don’t be afraid to take some pitches, there’s still a chance you won’t fall behind.
- Bobby Abreu makes his return to Yankee Stadium in the postseason. It will be interesting to see how the crowed greets him. I bet they will greet him nicely.
- Lackey has a ERA of a little over 2 in day games and a little over 4 in night games. That should help out the Yankees.
- When Lackey throws to Napoli, opposing hitters are batting .308 as opposed to .237 when he throws to Mathis. Hopefully, that will keep Napoli out of the lineup. He has always killed the Yankees.