I usually don’t do one of these in the off season, but there’s just too much stuff that’s happened recently that I want to weigh in on, and the holidays keep getting in the way. So I’ll pack some quick thoughts into this piece and have some longer pieces on the same topics in the coming days. Here goes:
-The Yanks improved themselves in the rotation and bullpen yesterday, but make no mistake about it, the Red Sox staff is still better. Vasquez would have to repeat his career year to make it close, and he’s never been anywhere near that good in the AL. Joba reaching his potential could impact this as well, but the same could be said of Buccoltz. But the Red Sox rotation is not without issues of their own. 3 of the 5 Red Sox starters have injury concerns, and if they miss time and the Yankee rotation stays healthy, then the Yanks should outperform them in the regular season. But in a short postseason series, they’ll have an edge in most of the game by game match ups. The Yankee lineup, however, is still light years ahead of the Red Sox and is by far the best in Baseball.
-Few have brought this up, but if you thought Melky and Arodys Vizcaino was a bit much for one year of Javy Vasquez, don’t forget that Javy figures to be a Type A free agent next year. If the Yanks either can’t or don’t want to retain him, you’ll get the 2 draft picks. At 33 years old in 2010, for a pitcher of his ability in what figures to be a decent economy, they will almost certainly offer arb and he should decline.
-The Yanks don’t need a big Left Fielder and Brian Cashman is saying he doesn’t expect to sign one. Do you realize that if we signed Holliday/Bay/Damon that Curtis Granderson would be our #9 hitter? The late 90s teams won big with replacement level players (Gerald Williams/Chad Curtis/Ricky LeDee) in Left and I think the Yanks want to keep the position open for the Jeter, Alex or possibly Montero. You could also sign a big CF/RF in the coming years and move Grandy/Swisher to LF. Leaving LF open gives you enormous flexibility, it’s the smart move for a GM.
-Rest of AL East should just give up now-Kenny seems to like where we stand, huh?
-As much as it stings to give up Arodys Vizcaino, I’d rather give him up than someone like Zach McAllister. At 19 years old and with very little experience in pro ball under his belt, Arodys is still a lottery ticket. It’s not like we lack high-upside guys either in the system or on the MLB staff. We still have the Brackman’s and Betances’ of the world on the farm, Joba and Phil on the 25 man and CC and AJ in the rotation. If we were this year’s Twins, where you have a staff filled with 3’s and 4’s and he was the only high upside guy you have, then maybe it would be harder to do. Mcallister could help this team this year, he’s a few rotation injuries away from getting some big league starts. He may not be ace material, but he’s likely to provide some value to us this year and beyond. Much safer bet. If you have to choose between Arodys Vizcaino and Z-Mac to complete the deal, on this Yankee team it’s a really easy call.
-My buddy EJ should be pleased to see this, and the folks who were calling him crazy the other day might owe him an apology:
Brian Cashman said once again that the Yankees, “traded for Curtis Granderson to be our center fielder.” The Yankees don’t plan on moving him to left field and starting Brett Gardner in center, but there is one scenario in which that might happen. “That scenario would be only if Brett Gardner proves he’s the best center fielder on our club,” Cashman said.
-Apparently Brian Cashman tried to reacquire Javier Vazquez from the Arizona D-Backs after 2005 and from the White Sox after 2008. Tells me a lot about who wanted to trade him and who didn’t on the 04 Yankees. George was still running things back then, and Torre didn’t seem to be a big Javy Vasquez fan. I always thought the Yanks gave up too soon on Vasquez, and there were reports that he wasn’t 100% that season.
-Joel Sherman reports that the Yankee payroll is around 198 mil right now, which includes educated guesses on their arbitration guys. Unless they plan on moving someone to free up payroll, it appears they are done acquiring players of any significance. Brian Cashman has already had a terrific off season (his 2nd in a row) and this team is so strong that the bench can be populated with AAA players like Pena and the newly acquired Jaime Hoffman.
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