So I had this blog post written up with what I would do if I were the GM of the New York Yankees during this offseason. I was ready to post it when the big 3-team deal was announced involving the Yankees, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers. So some changes were necessary. I'll post it as I wrote it with the additions reflecting the trade. Here goes.
1. Thank the team for winning the World Series and by default saving my job.
2. Re-sign Andy Pettitte. This more than anything else is the most important thing that is needed by the Yankees this offseason. Pettitte provides a balance in the rotation behind Sabathia and Burnett and a reliable buffer in front of Chamberlain and whomever is the #5 starter. He’s a pitcher that you can count on to give you his all every 5th day and the fact that he wants to pitch in New York is important.
3. Re-sign Hideki Matsui. Never mind his MVP performance in the World Series, I’ve always said that if you were to teach little leaguers the art of playing the game you should start with Matsui. He is the model of professionalism. Matsui never showboats on the field. He never complains at pitches and is respectful of his teammates and opponents alike. Though he has been injured the last few seasons, like Pettitte, he is someone that you can count on to give you all he can when needed.
4. Let Johnny Damon walk/Make Brett Gardner a starter. Well, here the post is changed with the big trade but I’ll give my opinion pre-trade and address the trade at the end. Damon was a big part of the Yankees since he came over from the Red Sox. Similar to Matsui and Pettitte, Damon is a professional who gave his all for the team. Realistically, time and age has started to catch up to him. Though his power seemed to rejuvenate in the new Yankee Stadium and his loss of speed has been minimal his loss of arm strength is a major weakness to both Damon and the Yankees outfield. Opposing players ran at will against Damon on anything hit in the outfield often scoring on plays that Damon would have made 2 seasons ago. Brett Gardner provides similar speed and a developing bat that can more than replace Damon giving the Yankees a younger outfield than they’ve had in a number of years.
5. Resolve the Joba/Hughes rotation/bullpen issue once and for all. I personally believe Joba should be the heir apparent at closer for the Yankees. Having Joba start has tempered his emotions since his fist pumps have virtually become non-existent. His stamina is an issue since it seems as if he loses it after the 5th inning and even though in today’s baseball a 5 inning starter seems more the norm than the exception, the Yankees need someone with more depth as the #4 starter. That’s where Hughes comes in. Though Hughes performed admirably during the season as the 8th inning reliever, his repertoire is wasted in the bullpen. Hughes has 4 or 5 pitches and a nasty curve that when its on, is virtually untouchable. As been mentioned many times, Hughes has the stuff of either a number 1 or 2 and he should be on that path rather than in the bullpen. Damaso Marte should move into the 8th inning role.
6. Let Jose Molina walk/Promote Francisco Cervelli. As well as Molina played for the Yankees the last number of years, its time to promote Cervelli. His youth and exuberance fits the demeanor in the Yankees clubhouse. He’s earned his opportunity to play on the big team by not only his performances with his glove but with his bat. He has a take charge attitude as was seen earlier last season with his dugout interactions with Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte but he provides the Yankees with a suitable replacement for Posada to get more rest either in the DH slot or an off day.
7. Re-sign Jerry Hairston Jr./promote Shelly Duncan. Duncan in specifically is important, as it seems that he’s wasting his talent away in Scranton-Wilkes Barre. He’d also provide suitable options at both 1st as a backup to Teixiera and in the DH slot and outfield. Hairston also shows his value with his versatility by playing the outfield as well as 2nd, SS and 3rd base.
8. Do not trade for Roy Halliday, or sign Jason Bay, John Lackey and Matt Holliday. Don’t rock the boat and utilize the youth that the team has as was done in previous championship years.
Now, here’s the trade. The Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks have agreed on a 3-team 7-player deal that would send to the D-Backs: P Edwin Jackson (DET)and P Ian Kennedy (NYY). The Tigers would get P Max Scherzer (ARI), P Daniel Schlereth (ARI), P Phil Coke (NYY) and OF Austin Jackson (NYY). The Yankees would receive OF Curtis Granderson (DET). Granderson hit .249 with 30 home runs, 71 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 160 games for the Tigers in 2009 and provides the Yankees with more than enough speed, power and defensive skill to replace Damon. At the age of 29, Granderson is signed for the next 3 years being owed $5.5 million next season, $8.25 million in 2011 and $10 million in 2012. Granderson would take over CF for the Yankees while Melky Cabrera moves to Damon’s old position of LF.
Also the Yankees traded RF Brian Bruney to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later, showing that the Yankees are making a big effort to change their bullpen for next season.