Your 2006 New York Yankees
Obviously there are places where upgrades are needed. We'll address those first: centerfield and the bullpen.
Forget Torii Hunter. Forget Milton Bradley. Forget Juan Pierre (please!). Trade for Brad Wilkerson.
Wilkerson brings good CF defense, can play all 3 OF positions as well as first base. Flexibility is good especially with an older team who may be prone to injury. Wilkerson sees a lot of pitches, and gets on base well (.365 career). His BA is low, so the unenlightened (and let's hope Jim Bowden is a member of this group) don't value him highly. He's got some speed although isn't a huge SB threat (which is fine) but is a first-to-third type runner. Good clubhouse guy, not a problem maker. Career OPS of .817. Had a down 2005 due to a nagging injury (that will not need surgery) but is expected to return to form in '06. Will be a MUCH cheaper trade option than Hunter (injury question, defense not as good as it was, not a great hitter), Pierre (terrible offensive player, Tony Womack with better D), or Bradley (asshole). Wilkerson could probably be acquired relatively cheaply with a B level prospect or two.
Sign Hideki Matsui. I am fairly confident this will happen. Also, sign Brian Giles. I can't believe how underrated this guy is, still. He's one of the top hitters in the game, and his defense is good (at the corner positions. Can play CF but isn't a centerfielder). Career OPS of .955. Stats dipped the last few years because he plays in the anti-Coors in San Diego half of the time. Road OPS in 2005? 1.008. He's probably going to St. Louis or a California team, but make the push, Brian. Hard. Signing both allows Sheffield to move to DH, which is where he should be at this point in his career. He'd be healthier and his defensive liability wouldn't affect the team.
Barring Giles, the market otherwise is pretty thin. You could get a cheap Jeromy Burnitz (no thanks), or trade for Adam Dunn from Cincy (yes!). But unless you're able to extract Dunn cheaply, Sheffield will most likely see the majority of time in the OF. Should a Pavano for Dunn deal be offered, you'd probably have to take it.
DESIGNATED HITTER / CATCHER
Ideally, Sheffield would get the bulk of the ABs here. However should Giles/Dunn not come to fruition, here's a crazy idea: sign either a: Kenji Jojima or b: Ramon Hernandez. Posada gets half time at C, and will see a bunch of time at DH and (hopefully) first base. Jojima is a free agent catcher from Japan. Excellent defense, hit .299 with 30 HR last year in what was a down year for him. People like to say that the drawback is that he doesn't speak english, but he is taking English lessons and you don't need to know much English to talk with a pitcher about the game. He would be a cheaper option than Hernandez, and probably more willing to sit on some days. If his offense doesn't materialize, fine, Posada gets 2 days off from behind the plate per week and Jojima is still Flaherty+. He has to be a better hitter than John Flaherty. I am a better hitter than John Flaherty. Hernandez is the best combination of offense and defense in the FA catcher market. 29 years old, great defense and seems to make pitching staffs better (and they credit him for it) and yet still will most likely be cheaper than the vastly overrated Benji Molina. Hernandez's OPS the past 3 seasons: .772, .818, .789. Once again, he's played the past 2 years in Petco Park. Would split time with Posada behind the plate and DH. Both guys stay fresh. Torre would need a third "emergency" catcher I'm sure, but that shouldn't be too difficult to find.
There is only one SP worth acquiring: Daisuke Matsuzaka. However, the Seibu Lions do not appear to be willing to post him. If he's posted go after him hard. Otherwise, you alreayd have 7 SP-type players on the roster. Stick with them.
Robert Victor Ryan. With a birth name like that, maybe I don't want to know where the "B.J." nickname came from. Regardless, this guy is the #1 offseason priority.
Tom Gordon. Try and work out a cheap deal, offer him arbitration either way. Get the draft picks and let him walk if the asking price is too high. Chances are he'll walk and you can replace him with:
Kyle Farnsorth. He's not a fluke. Sign him.
Colter Bean, Sean Henn, Tanyon Sturtze, Aaron Small, Jorge DePaula: pick your poison and flesh out the pen with the rest + Jaret Wright. I'd personally go with Small, Bean, and Henn.
There are some options and flexibility here. I'm all for Andy Phillips as the "new Tino." I worry though that Torre won't give the kid a single at bat all year. I would have adovacted Bernie Williams taking over the "Ruben-Sierra-Switch-Hitting-Bench-Player-With-No-Defensive-Skills" role, but not sinc e Torre decided to return. Let's face facts - nothing gives Joe more wood than seeing guys he's won championships with in the past out in the field. Joe simply wouldn't be able to help himself and Bernie would be out in center again and that can NOT happen, so here's hoping Bernie retires and we see him in pinstripes on Old Timer's Day.
Tony Womack will be back, and should pinch run once per game, usually for Giambi, so Phillips canm play in the late innings. Torre drove me nuts last year by pinch running guys like Bellhorn insetad of Womack.
So I floated two possible rosters and have left some bench spots open because a lot of those guys are interchangable (the Miguel Cairos of the world). Here, ladies and gentlemen, would be my two possible combinations of Yankee rosters for 2006:
|Batting Order A|
|Batting Order B|
Now there's a team to be feared... don't you think? Also, with all of these plans, Cashman gets his wish to reduce payroll, improve the team, and only sacrifice minor prospects. These teams should win over 100 games.
Labels: i am smart, plans, predictions
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 10:38 AM