It was a year ago today that the Yankees stunned the baseball world by signing Mark Teixeira to an eight year deal worth approximately double the GDP of Chile. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Mark and his wife, Leigh, for choosing New York and stepping on John Henry's penny-pinching dick.
There is a ton to like about this move. Johnson fits the Yankees lineup like a glove. A left handed, elite OBP guy to hit behind Jeter and in front of Teixeira is exactly what this team needed to make it go. Though Damon had a great year, he was not your typical 2 hitter. He got homer happy in the new Stadium, and his contact rates didn't benefit. Add to that the fact that he didnt hit a regular season home run over the last 5 or so weeks of the season, and you can really get an idea of why having a contact-oriented two hitter can benefit the machine that is the Yankee offense.
I have also heard the argument that Johnson has value tied to his glove. WILDLY inaccurate at the point in his career. His UZR/150 last year was -6.6. Terrible. He also made 12 errors at a position where Kevin Youkilis didn't make any two years ago.
In the end, this is just a savvy baseball move. A year of Nick Johnson at $5.5mm beats the shit out of 3 years at $30mm+ for a guy that was forced to leave the clinching game of the World Series with a fucking leg cramp. I know Johnson isn't historically durable wither, but being slotted in as the DH will help that, just as getting 30-40 games off to utilize the DH position as a "weigh station" for Jeter, A-Rod, Posada and the like will.
In short: Great move. Helps the team while saving that few extra dollars to make another sizable move **coughMattHollidaycough**.
Now, keep in mind, that the Yankees have yet to make a move for another starter, but this bullpen is based off of my prediction for the 2010 rotation. Joba Chamberlain, as I said, is a long term starter - but solidifying the 2010 roster and moving him to the back of the rotation after Andy Pettitte retires is just fine by me. There have been a lot of named thrown around in connection to the Yankees, but I flat out do not see a reason to go outside of the organization for a bullpen arm at this point. Even if the Yankees fail to acquire Derek Lowe (or anyone else for the rotation, for that matter) I feel that Mark Melancon would deserve a shot the final bullpen spot.
There are a lot of blogs, writers, etc. that have pushed for the signing of Matt Capps, but I vehemently disagree. His splits against lefties are just terrible, and some other asshole is going to make him an offer to be there closer. In my mind, a righty specialist just isnt worth what Capps is going to make on the open market (plus, lets be serious, he just got non-tendered by the fucking Pirates for Christ's sake - there's a reason).
So yesterday was a pretty wild day. The Red Sox got an absolute steal with John Lackey, who is only getting A.J Burnett money. Plus there was the crazy ass 3 team trade that saw Roy Halladay go to the Phillies, Cliff Lee go to Seattle and a bunch of prospects go the Blue Jays. Personally, I'm glad that Roy Boy is out of the AL Beast, but with all this pitcher movement there is no dominant names left on the starter market. But there are still a number of of enticing pitchers who can be had for a low, low price.
Ben Sheets- The buzz around Ben right now is that he wants a contract in the $12 million range, which is absolutely insane. Once him and his agent stop huffing glue, they should try to land a contract around $3 million with incentives. Sheets would be a good pitcher to target.
Erik Bedard- Similar to Sheets, in that he is constantly injured but highly effective when healthy. The pros for Bedard are that he's a lefty with a track record of pitching good in the AL East, and is a high strikeout pitcher. The cons are He's an injury waiting to happen, and he is surly with the media. But still worth the risk.
Aroldis Chapman- The 21(?) year old Cuban phenom is expected to throw a pitching session today with teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox expected to attend. If all goes well, why not throw him a nice contract? He is young, throws gas and has a high upside. Seems like a worthwhile investment.
Justin Duchscherscherererscher- Justin D has experience as both a starter and reliever, making him a good fit for the Yankees. His versatility could net him a decent contract if he is injury free. He missed all of last season with an injury and depression. Well, a good cure for the blues is being paid to play for the Yankees.
Tim Redding- Just kidding. He's fucking terrible.
Check back later on as I take a look at some bargain hitters.
The Yankees need a left fielder. The Red Sox just spent a metric fuck ton on John Lackey, and look to be signing Mike Cameron to play left field. I don't know what it is, but I have a feeling that the Yankees will make a big push for Matt Holliday - mark my words, the Opening Day outfield will be Holliday, Granderson, and Swisher.
I can't even tell you how many panicky, whiny emails that I got from readers scared shitless because a couple of teams made a couple of moves. Let's be clear, here: the only reason the Red Sox, Phillies, or whoeverthefuckelse are making moves is because they are playing catchup to the champs. Also, if you'd be so kind to read The Fowl Balls roster construction (here and here), John Lackey and Roy Halladay are nowhere to be found. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Yankee fans shit themselves over this kind of crap. Didn't the team just go out and get Curtis Granderson in a three-way blockbuster of their own? I mean, I know Lackey is a good pitcher, but the Red Sox just replaced Jason Bay's bat with Mike Cameron.
So all I ask, as I have on other occasions, is take your head out of your collective ass Yankee fans. Everybody else is still playing Robin to the Yankees' Batman.
2 - A.J. Burnett
3 - Derek Lowe
4 - Andy Pettitte
5 - Phil Hughes
As I mentioned Wednesday, the Braves seem to be caving on their demands for an impact, ML bat for Lowe; plus they are willing to eat some of his 2010 salary. If the Yankees are able to acquire a horse like Lowe without coughing up a player the caliber of Nick Swisher, that would be a no brainer. The fact that the Braves would add cash is gravy at that point. He's quality, durable pitcher that will be more cost-effective than John Lackey (and not nearly as physically hideous).
As for the five spot, the general thinking is that this would be a three man race between Hughes, Creamy Goodness Aceves, and Joba Chamberlain, and I agree. Basically, I am anticipating Hughes coming out on top. It will be at that point that the Yankees will have to evaluate the Joba Chamberlain situation. As Brian Cashman would agree, Joba is a long term starter. That being said, in this scenario there just isn't room for him in the rotation. His trade value is not optimal, so I have no problem plugging him in to the back of the 'pen on the way to another championship. Unfortunately for some of the younger players, this isn't the fucking Pirates. Winning is a requirement, so trotting Hughes and Chamberlain out in the 4 and 5 slot is not a risk I am willing to take.
2 - Nick Johnson - DH
3 - Mark Teixeira - 1B
4 - Alex Rodriguez - 3B
5 - Matt Holliday - LF
6 - Jorge Posada - C
7 - Robinson Cano - 2B
8 - Nick Swisher - RF
9 - Curtis Granderson - CF
I will be constructing the entire roster, as I see it, over the next few days, but this is what I think the 2010 lineup should look like. Thoughts?
Update: I took this lineup and plugged it into the Lineup Analysis that Baseball Musings provides. This fucking moster lineup that I put together projects to score 6.269 runs per game, which would come in at just under 1,016 runs over 162 games. I realize that Bill James' predictions are far from perfect, and there is no way that this lineup would play all 162 together, but that's just insane. Fuck Johnny Damon, go get Matt Holliday. (h/t to BDD for the idea)
So pretty much, the Yankees got an All-Star CF in the middle of his prime. The Tigers got a bundle of cheap talent and payroll flexibility. And as Chip Carey would say, the D-Backs got 'Fisted" in this deal. I would like to know what the fuck their GM was thinking. Not that Edwin Jackson is terrible or anything, but he is 2 years away from free agency and due for a big raise. Max Scherzer is a very good young pitcher locked up for 5 more years. They could have held on to Scherzer and spent the money on the back end of the rotation. Maybe someone with high upside like Rich Harden (more on him in a bit).
But if you're a Yankee fan like me, you have to be happy with this move. Granderson is gonna be a stud in Yankee Stadium. I wouldn't be shocked if he hit 40 bombs this season. He is also locked up through 2013, making an average of a little under 10 mil a year. Very solid move by Cashman. He's really made all the right moves the past 2 offseasons.
And in less surprising news, the Yankees and Andy Pettitte reached an agreement on a 1yr/$11.75 mil deal. Even though everyone knew that he would be coming back, its still nice to see the deal get done this early. Andy should be good for about 15 wins and an ERA around 4.
Breaking News: As reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Red Sox are prepared to trade 2007 World Series MVP, clubhouse leader and all around good guy Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers for 25 year old catcher Max Ramirez. The Red Sox will also be paying nearly all of Lowell's contract. Good job, Theo. That's a nice way to repay a guy who constantly guts it out through various injuries and gives it his all every game. But I'm happy for Lowell. He gets to abandon the sinking ship that is the Boston Red Sox and go to a nice hitters park in Arlington.
And the funniest thing about all of this is that Boston supposedly wanted to get rid of Lowell so they could enter the bidding for the uber stud himself, the one and only Adrian Beltre. Yeah, that's really gonna strike fear into the hearts of your enemies. Beltre has only had one good season, a highly suspicious 2004 contract year for the Dodgers. The rest of his career has been very mediocre. Hopefully this is J.D. Drew part 2.
And kudos to Texas for being active. It seems they are about to finalize a couple of moves in addition to the potential Lowell trade. The first is trading Kevin Millwood to the craptastic Orioles for Chris Ray and a player to be named later. While Ray isn't anything special, the Rangers would save about 8 mil by doing this trade. And in doing that, they are prepared to use that money to sign Rich Harden to a 1 year deal. Solid moves all around. If the Angels don't improve in a hurry, I could see Texas making a run at the AL West next season.
So with Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Andy Pettitte as the only major unsigned players from the 2009 squad, here is a list of moves I would like the Yankees to make.
Sign Matt Holliday to a 6 year/110 mil deal
Sign John Lackey to a 5 year/90 mil deal
Sign Mark DeRosa to a 2 year/15 mil deal
Sign Aroldis Chapman to a 6 year/30 mil deal
Sign Mike Gonzalez to a 3 year/15 mil deal
Re-Sign Andy Pettitte to a 1 year/10mil deal
Trade Austin Jackson, Melky Cabrera and 2 B-Level Prospects for Curtis Granderson
Now obviously the Yankees will probably go easy this offseason after going bat shit crazy in free agency last year. But honestly, I would go for the kill and unleash Armageddon if it was my call. We could go from a great team to a legendary one if we made those moves.
All hat I ask is that they don't trade Jesus Montero. That kid is a stud and will be dropping bombs for the Bombers come 2011. Also, props to Joe Girardi for silencing all the haters out there and leading us to the promised land. He will hopefully pass Joe Torre on the ring count one day. So that about wraps it up. Hope you enjoyed this Review/Preview. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear some feedback in the comments section.
The Move: In a three way deal, the Yankees recieve Curtis Granderson, the Diamondbacks recieve Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, and the Tigers receive Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth.
My Take: The only debate will be whether the Yankees or Tigers got the best of the trade, as the DBacks got their colons poked on this one. They gave up two potential studs for Edwin Jackson, who put it together for half of a season last year, and Ian Kennedy, professional douchebag.
AJax is and has been overrated. Sure, he hit .300 in Scranton last ear, but he did so while striking out a ton and hitting for zero power. Granderson is a known commodity who hit 30 home runs while playing his home games in Yellowstone Park. I know, I know - he doesn't hit lefties. I'll take 35 bombs from a plus defender in the bottom third of the order all day every day. Cashman does it again.
The deal would send Curtis Granderson to the Yanks, along with a prospect or two from the D'Backs. Arizona would obtain Edwin Jackson from the Tigers and Ian Kennedy from the Yankees. The Tigers would obtain Max Scherzer from the D'Backs and Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yanks.
Seems fair to me, but Buster Olney is saying that "one team" is not satisfied...who do you think would hang up the phone on that trade?
In other news:
- The Yankees traded Brian Bruney to the Nats for the first pick in the Rule 5 draft. Who the Yanks will target with the pick is anyones guess, but at least it got Brian Fucking Bruney out of the bulpen
- Negotiations have started between the Yankees and Andy Pettitte. I will ruin the suspense for you: Andy is going to sign, and it will be for around $11 million.
- As expected, the Yankees are mentioned in rumors for just about everybody, so I am not listing them all here. 99% of the time it's just another douchebag agent trying to drive up the price of their client.
There should be a lot of activity on day 2, so stay tuned to MLBTR for all your offseason needs.
A.J. Burnett was his usual up and down self throughout 2009, looking great some days and sucking more dick than Brett Pedroia on others. Taken as a whole, his 2009 season was still a success, as he stayed healthy all year and posted quality numbers. He was pretty good in the playoffs up until Game 5 of the World Series, when he decided to shit the bed. My only concern with him is how he will handle things if Jose Molina isn't brought back in 2010. If Molina is gone, A.J. might have a Captain Willard like nervous breakdown.
Andy Pettitte had a rock solid season as the #3 starter, erasing the bad memories of his brutal second half of 2008. He stepped up his game in the playoffs, winning the clinching game during each of the 3 rounds of the postseason. There will be a spot for Andy in this rotation for 2010, assuming he does not retire. And I don't think he will.
As for the rest of the starters, they all had their moments. Phil Hughes was so-so as a starter early in the season, but really turned the corner when he was thrown into the setup role in the bullpen. He seemed to lose confidence in the postseason, but it's a good bet he will turn things around come 2010, whether he is a starter or a reliever. Joba Chamberlain was doing good as a starter for the first 4 months, but then the Joba Rules kicked in and the coaching staff started fucking with his head. The Joba Rules are some of the most retarded around, and he really regressed over the final 2 months. But Joba looked good out of the bullpen for the postseason, with an increased velocity on his pitches. Honestly, he looks more comfortable out of the pen. If the Yanks go out and sign some starting pitching, then that's where he will be. And as for Chad Gaudin, he was a very effective spot starter for the Yanks down the stretch. He would be good as a long man/spot starter out of the pen for the future. But there might not be room for him.
Bullpen- What can you say about Mariano Rivera at this point? He is by far the greatest relief pitcher to have ever played the game, and is still at the top of his game. Shit, he could pitch at an All-Star level well into his 40's and it wouldn't surprise anyone at this point. As automatic as automatic gets. The rest of the bullpen was solid as well, with Dave Robertson and Damaso Marte really stepping up big time in the playoffs. My only wish is that we never have to see Phil Coke on a Yankee roster ever again. I would have more confidence in a coke head named Phil than I would in Phil Coke at this point.
Center Field- It was a very productive bounce back season for Melky Cabrera, as he won the CF job out of spring training over Brett Gardner, and never looked back. He had a solid season, leading the team in shaving cream pies to the face. I would not hesitate to bring him back as the starter in 2010, but there are rumblings that the Bronx Bombers are looking into Curtis Granderson. Getting Granderson would be awesome, but it would certainly cost the Yanks stud prospect Austin Jackson. If the right deal was available I would pull the trigger. But you could do worse than have Melky keep the seat warm for Jackson for at least one more season.
Right Field- Going into the season, it seemed as though Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady were going to battle for playing time all season long. But thanks to Nady's shoulder injury, Swisher took over the everyday job, and had a good season, with lots of HR's and walks. While he will strike out a ton and never hit for a high average, Swishalicious will continue to show good power and have a solid on base percentage. He is signed at a reasonable rate through the next two seasons, so he should be a fixture in the lineup till at least 2011.
Designated Hitter- If 2009 was indeed the final season in Pinstripes for Hideki Matsui, he went out with a bang, winning the World Series MVP despite only starting 3 of the six games in the series. He was unstoppable at the plate, hitting .615 with 3 homers and 8 RBI's during the 6 game series. Unfortunately, his knees seem to be betraying him as Matsui is no longer able to play the field. It wouldn't be a terrible decision to keep him around, but we could use a little versatility on this team. Mark DeRosa would be the perfect fit here. He could play pretty much every position but catcher. Signing him would allow multiple players to rotate at DH, keeping everybody fresh. Plus it wouldn't break the bank to sign him.
Catcher- Jorge Posada had a great bounce back season, as his shoulder was able to hold up for the entire season. It was great to see him mash again at the plate, showing no ill effects from his injuries of a season ago. While Jorge might forget certain little things, like the pitch count or the number of outs in an inning, he is still a highly effective player at age 38. Yankees fans shouldn't take him for granted, as we probably won't see a catcher in Pinstripes as good as him for a long time (at least until we sign Joe Mauer).
First Base- Early last offseason, it looked like the Yankees were going to hand off first base to Nick Swisher, acquired in a trade from the White Sox for the immortal Wilson Betemit. But the front office was merely waiting for the right time to deliver a knockout punch to the rest of the league, swooping in at the last moment to sign All-Star slugger Mark Teixeira. Although he has made some questionable moves the last few years, you have to give a lot of credit to Brian Cashman for this one. He slow played the negotiations at the start, then swooped in to kick Boston in the balls and steal Tex away at the last second. I loved every minute of it. Of course, Teixeira went on to lead the A.L. in HR's and RBI's. On top of that, he plays some of the finest defense this side of Donnie Baseball. No worries here for the next seven seasons. Think Boston could have used him last year?
Second Base- I'm gonna give you two sets of numbers: Player A: .320 25 HR's 85 RBI'sPlayer B: .326 17 HR's 83 RBI's Looks pretty similar, right? Well, what if I were to tell you that player A wasn't even an All-Star in 2009, while player B WON the MVP in 2008? Could never happen in a million years, right? Wrong! Dustin Pedroia, the little weasel that could, took home the MVP in 2008 while Robinson Cano was snubbed out of an All-Star berth in 2009. So for any Boston fans that want to cry about a Yankee bias, please shut the fuck up. The media is on Pedroia's nuts so hardcore it's sickening. And, unlike Little Dusty, Cano is actually tall enough to ride on roller coasters. So he has that going for him. Plus, as far as I know, Cano doesn't have any older brothers who trick little boys into giving them a blow job for a bag of Skittles. Can't say the same for Dustin's brother Brett.
Third Base- After one of the most bizarre seasons of all time, Alex Rodriguez came out of it looking better than ever. It started when hack journalist Selena Roberts reported that A-Rod's name was on the list of 103 players that failed a drug test prior to the 2003 season. It got even worse when it was revealed that Rodriguez had a torn labrum in his hip, and would miss the first 6 weeks of the regular season. So suffice to say, A-Rod was pretty down in the dumps. When he came back, he started slowly. But once the weather warmed up, Alex got going. He finished the year with 30 HR's and 100 RBI's despite playing in only 124 games. And once the playoffs started, you knew he was going to be the "Centaur" of attention, whether he produced or not. Fortunately for the Yanks, he was superb. He finished the 2009 playoffs hitting .365 with 6 HR's and 18 RBI's. Without a doubt, he was the best player during the entire playoff run, and was able to shed the choker label once and for all.
Shortstop- Before the season started, there was much speculation about the supposed decline of Derek Jeter. All the assholes in the media were claiming that he was slowing down, that he was nearing the end. So what does the Captain go and do? He shuts them the fuck up by putting together an MVP caliber season and winning his fourth gold glove. Jeter is only signed through 2010, but it would be shocking if he were to ever leave the Yankees. He could play short at a high level for at least another 4-5 seasons.