As part of SI.com’s big Hot Stove kick-off package, I’ve broken down the offseason outlook for all 30 teams, identifying the big holes and targets for each team as well as listing their pending free agents and minor leaguers on the verge of cracking the big league roster. For example, here’s my take on the Yankees:
New York Yankees
PENDING FREE AGENTS: LF Johnny Damon, DH Hideki Matsui, SP Andy Pettitte, OF/1B Xavier Nady, 4C Eric Hinske, UT Jerry Hairston Jr., C Jose Molina.
PLAYERS WITH OPTIONS: None.
PROSPECTS ON THE VERGE: RP Mark Melancon, SP Ian Kennedy, CF Austin Jackson, SP Zach McAllister, C Jesus Montero.
BUILDING FOR: Their 28th world championship.
BIGGEST HOLES: Left field, designated hitter, the back of the rotation.
TARGETS: LFs Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, DHs Matsui and Damon; Pettitte.
BREAKDOWN: The Yankees’ focus this offseason will be on how — and whether or not — to replace World Series heroes Damon and Matsui. They’ll certainly be in the mix for Holliday and Bay, but after their spending spree last winter, could back off on long-term deals given that those two are just five and four years younger than the incumbents, respectively. Bobby Abreu‘s signing set the market for defensively-challenged, soon-to-be 36-year-olds who can still get it done at the plate at two years, $9 million per, though Damon and Matsui’s increasing fragility may bring them in for less. Consensus is that the Yankees will only re-sign one of the two. As for the rotation, another one-year deal for Pettitte seems like a given, and one can’t rule out a run at John Lackey, but the Yankees have shown commitment to their home-grown pitching prospects, which likely means Phil Hughes will return to starting chained by an innings limit while Joba Chamberlain will finally be fully unleashed. Expect the Yankees to also keep arbitration-eligible Chad Gaudin, who greatly improved his slider under pitching coach Dave Eiland, as insurance on those two, but to non-tender Chien-Ming Wang, who is coming off shoulder surgery that could have him rehabbing past Opening Day. As for the remaining free agents, Francisco Cervelli is ready to replace Molina. Hinske and Hairston would be worth keeping on the bench. Coming off Tommy John surgery, Nady is an afterthought and should be headed elsewhere.
The 30 capsules are broken into six articles, one for each division. Here are the links:
Crank it up!