Next years free agent class has some top of the line players in it, but i really think the Yankees need to get creative instead of just going straight for the best players. There's a couple reasons for that.
- Most of the Yankees position players are locked into long term deals. Jeter, A-rod , Cano, Posada, and Melky are all locked up. The Yanks also have a couple of hot shot outfield prospects that will fill in with Melky.
- Going after guys like C.C. Sabathia is going to cost you draft picks. The Yankees have shown in recent years what you can do with a first round draft choice. its also going to cost you a bajillion dollars.
- 1st base is really the only position where they have a hole, but i'm good with that because they're going to need somewhere to put Posada when he can no longer catch, they also need to decide what to do with Jeter, because they is going to come a time where he's no longer a adequete shortstop. I don't see him switching positions as a problem seeing as he idolizes Cal Ripken Jr, who had to switch positions later in his career.
Here's a position by position analysis.
- Catcher: they just gave Jorge Posada a 4 year deal that runs through 2011. For 2009 he should be alright behind the plate, as long as he proves he can still throw out runners.
- 1st base: A 2 or 3 year contract here would be best. they're going to need this spot in 2 or 3 years for Posada or Jeter. I would suggest either resigning Giambi, or finding someone to platoon against lefties with Wilson Betemit. It would have to be through trade because there isn't really a good platoon candidate on FA market.
- 2nd Base: Cano is locked up here. He'll be here for the next 10-15 years. no worries.
- 3rd Base: A-rod locked up for the next 10 years, ought to be fun to watch. no worries here.
- Shortstop: Derek Jeter, should be alright here for 2009, he needs to be, but after that i'd look for a guy who plays spectacular shortstop defense, and isn't a total liability at the plate and then move Jeter to 1st or DH him. An Adam Everett-like guy is ideal. Media hit taken by moving him won't sting as much if the new guy is a human highlight reel at SS.
- OF/DH: Matsui and Damon are both signed through 2009. they'll switch off in LF and at DH for next year. Brett Gardner should be called up to roam center, while Melky will slide over and play right for the departed Bobby Abreu. After 2009, I would hope A-Jax and Tabata would be ready to be called up playing center and left respectivly, while Gardner could become trade bait or a 4th outfielder.
- Rotation: let Mussina walk, resign Pettite if you can get him for under 10 million dollars. If not look for guys who can give you innings. If Moose keeps pitching like this, you might get a draft pick for him. Trust that Hughes Kennedy and Joba will become effective starters. hopefully Hughes or Joba can emerge as an ace, and let Wang slide back and become the #2. Slot Kenndy in at 4 or 5 if he gets his act together by the end of the season, if he doesn't, go after Jon Garland of the Angels. If you don't keep Pettite, and Kennedy still hasn't found his stuff, and nobody else from the farm is ready, try to make a trade. If you can't find one, i'd suggest Derek Lowe. Keep in mind, his ERAs may look good over the last 3 years, but they'll take a hit moving from the weakest hitting division to the strongest.
- Bullpen: Relievers are a playground this year on the market. The Yankees obviously need to retool thier bullpen, but not too badley. signing an 8th inning guy, and then expecting another guy from the minors steps up and establishes himself as a reliable 7th inning guy is not to overly optomistic. Melancorn perhaps? Guys i'd suggest for the 8th inning are Rafael Soriano, Brian Fuentes, Bob Howry, and Brandon Lyon.
Overall, i'd expect 2009 to be a long season. Trusting the young guys is going to be tough in Yankee land, but this team was built around aging players, and now we need to replace the foundation. We have to be able to trust the young guys, or else there's no point in having them, we might as well have traded them for Santana.
this plan would cut costs extremly. i would expect a 2009 payroll around 140-145 million. They could then pour that money back into scouting, the draft, and the farm system.