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Cliff Corcoran’s Celebrity Hot Stove

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.


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!

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Hot Stove

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1 51cq24   ~  Nov 10, 2009 4:07 pm

are they really that low on wang that they'd non-tender him? that seems like a huge mistake to me.

2 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 10, 2009 4:24 pm

Jeter and Tex picked up Gold Gloves. I put no stock in the award whatsoever, but good for them.

3 FreddySez   ~  Nov 10, 2009 4:37 pm

The question is as much semantic as it is concrete, but: Is DH really a "hole" for the Yankees? You could just as easily describe it as a logjam, or at least an impending one.

[1] Agree that cutting ties with CMW seems extreme, though I'm struggling to separate sentiment from reason there. If he does go, I'll have to consider his Yankee story arc more than a little tragic.

4 monkeypants   ~  Nov 10, 2009 4:42 pm

[3] It's a hole if the logjam includes several players who did not hit well enough to play DH, and at the same time opens up lots of ABs for back up players who can't hit either.

5 Joel   ~  Nov 10, 2009 4:46 pm

[2] That caps off a year that was wholly consistent with Jeter's PECOTA projection!

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 4:52 pm

great stuff on SI, Cliff. I've only read the AL and NL East so far, but very thoroug, excellent work. Been wondering where you've been, and clearly you've been busy.
I think the Mets will be more involved in the Bay-Holliday sweepstakes than you and others think.
I agree with you that Torrealba, while no Mauer, is the best available catcher -- and I've been beating the drum here today hoping the Yanks might snag him to platoon with Posada. I'm worried about Posada's endurance for the next 2 years, and don't think Cervelli is up for the workload - if the worse case scenario arises.
Even if he costs the Yankees twice as much as they've been paying Molina, I think he'd be worth it in an emergency

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 4:53 pm

[6] i misspelled thorough... heh!

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 5:00 pm

[0] and I think you're right on the money about the Phillies going for Beltre instead of Feliz.
There's some buzz that they might package Hamels or Drabek in a deal for Halladay. Either way, they're going to be tough next year.

9 a.O   ~  Nov 10, 2009 5:54 pm

Seems like the second priority for the Yanks (behind figuring out the Damon-Matsui-someone else situation) should be keeping Lackey away from the Shit Sox.

10 patrick b   ~  Nov 10, 2009 7:52 pm

Hey Cliff: great stuff as always but can I ask you a favor? Is there actually a SI building that you guys show up at (doubtful I know)? If so, can you punch Joe Posnanski in the nose. Of all of the "the Yankees bought it" garbage his is really the worst. He actually managed to squeeze two articles out it -- the second contradicts the first on several points, but nevermind, he got to bitch about the Yanks payroll again. The best part is that he argues that baseball should adopt the NFL salary cap because the great thing about the NFL is that it prevents payroll disparity. Meanwhile the Raiders spend $150 mil (guaranteed Super Bowl) while his beloved Chiefs are at about $80 mil -- does he really not know this?

11 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 7:54 pm

Add me to the list of those who think the Yankees would be foolish to cut ties with Wang. If he is healthy, Wang would be a big weapon on this staff.

12 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 7:55 pm

[2] Both are good choices, IMO. For Jeter, I am glad that he has a gold glove that can (almost) be justified.

13 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 7:59 pm

One follow-up on a previous thread: the Mets did "make" money (tens of millions) in the Madoff scandal (although they may have to give most of it back), but Fred Wilpon still lost a boatload hundreds of millions). It's very unfair to say that the Mets made out well in the scandal because the Wilpon's wealth is now significantly tied to the baseball team.

For that reason, I do not expect the Mets to be heavily involved in big ticket free agent negotiation, but very active in the second tier bargain, which for them might actually be a better strategy. If Reyes, Beltran and Wright are healthy, they have enough star power. What they need is enough depth to keep the likes of Murphy and Pagan on the bench.

14 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 10, 2009 8:03 pm

I bet the Yanks will resign Wang after non-tendering him. They just don't want to pay arbitration prices for a gamble then have him flee for free agency.

15 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 10, 2009 8:38 pm

I don't understand Wangs position. Is he a FA this year? After missing most of last year, he wouldn't get much is arb. What's to keep someone else from getting him, especially if he is pissed that the Yanks are trying to save money on him.

Remember when Boras insisted JD would get 7/$100m? And Cashman got him for 4/$52m? I'm sure Boris will say Holliday is worth 8/$160m, but I don't think anyone will go near that. Does the guy want to win? Would he go for 6/$100m?

16 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 8:48 pm

[15] Almost as a rule, players do not get pay cuts in arbitration. In Wang's case, the arbitrator's decision is not whether his 2009 season was worth $4mn or greater, but whether players with his resume and service time are worth that much. A very easy case could be made for Wang, who despite losing 1+ seasons to injury has had some very impressive seasons (especially if you overvalue wins).

So, the Yankees options are
(1) Offer him arbitration and face the real possibility that he is awarded a salary greater than $4mn.
(2) Negotiate a contract with him before the filing period.
(3) Non-tender him and then try to get on the cheap if other offers aren't flowing in (and assuming Wang doesn't hold a grudge).

I think the Yankees should go for option #2. Instead of trying to get him as cheap as possible, I would offer him $2-3mn with a team option (maybe $5-6mn with a $1mn buyout). That guarantee Wang close to his 2009 salary and also give the Yankees some cost protection if he fully recovers. The Yankees haven't exactly handled Wang the best, so I think the Yankees should go the extra mile to keep him in the fold.

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 10, 2009 8:51 pm

From HanginChad at Lohud:
What will be done with the starters-turned-relievers? For the most part, general manager Brian Cashman has left all of next year’s questions unanswered until the organizaton’s internal meetings take place, but this afternoon he gave his opinion on Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.

“I look at them as starters that can relieve,” he said. “But I look at them as starters.

Again, Cashman stressed that nothing is set in stone until he meets with his pro scouts, but it seems a good bet that the two young right handers will at least enter spring training as rotation candidates. Any innings limits, Cashman said, would not be significant.

18 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 8:53 pm

The interesting dynamic with Holliday is Boras really can't play the Red Sox and the Yankees off of each other because of Bay. Whereas there was no viable alternative to Teixeira (who was younger and better), Holliday is not that much ahead of Bay. If Boston resigns him early in the process, the Yankees really wouldn't have as much competition or urgency.

19 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 8:55 pm

[13] We don't know how much Wilpon lost. This is from the NY Times Oct. 21:

The gains now reported by the liquidator appear to refute news media reports that said the Wilpons lost up to $700 million in Madoff’s scheme.

Fred Wilpon, the team’s principal owner, has said several times that he lost far less than was reported and that the finances of the Mets have been unaffected by Madoff.

“I’m fine, my family’s fine, my business family’s fine,” Wilpon said in August in a telephone interview. Wilpon would not say what he, his business, Sterling Equities, or his family had lost. But he said the estimates were wildly inaccurate and wildly high.

David Newman, the Mets’ senior vice president for marketing, said Wednesday, “As has been stated previously, this has no effect on the operations of the New York Mets.”

20 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 10, 2009 8:56 pm

[16] So of they non-tender him, he is on the open market? Is there a team in MLB that would not take a chance on him for $4m???? It seems the Yanks are skating on thin ice.

However, it was reported that Wang saw the 'Big Doctor' on Monday. I haven't heard a thing about results. Is it possible the Yanks got bad news? If the news was good, would they take a chance on losing him? And if the news was bad, wouldn't they release it to scare off potential suitors?

I don't get it. If he's healthy, he's worth $10m+.

21 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:03 pm

[19] No one knows the exact amount, but the circumstantial evidence still points to Wilpon losing hundreds of millions (but maybe not as much as $700mn) over various counts. Those hurt the most by Madoff were his closest friends and associates, and according to most accounts, Wilpon would definitely qualify as such.

[20] Right...if they don't offer him arbitration or negotiate a deal beforehand, he becomes a free agent.

According to Pete Abe (who wrote a book with Wang for the Taiwan market) as reported on Rotoworld, Andrews said Wang's shoulder looked great. If true, I would take the change and not let him hit the market.

22 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:10 pm

[21] Something is fishy. Why would the Yanks risk losing Wang over $1-2m? That's nuts... especially as we are a bit thin in SP.

23 ms october   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:11 pm

[20] to me the yankees have never really valued wang.

[16] i agree william. with your route 2 can they sign him to a minor league contract? although i would like them to re-sign him for fair money i don't think you can give him a 40 man slot right now.

24 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:22 pm

[23] Wang is on the DL, so that makes him exempt from being on the 40-man. However, once he comes off, I don't think the Yankees can simply remove him from the 40-man without exposing him. Probably the only way to sign him to a minor league deal would be to non-tender him first. I guess the Yankees could work out an arrangement with Wang, but that seems tricky.

25 ms october   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:28 pm

[24] is there a set date in the offseason where players come off the 60 day dl and go back on the 40-man?

chad at lohud asked cashman about the glut of middle infielders that may become rule 5 eligible and cashman alluded to the multi-player trade to get swish last year. would be nice if he turned some decent quantity into quality with the added bonus of freeing up 40-man space.

26 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:30 pm

[23] He's made almost $10 million for what amounts to about 3 seasons of work (100+ starts). That's not chump change, though they've definitely spent more and gotten less out of the likes of Pavano and Igawa-- but even though the Yanks haven't recklessly thrown money at Wang I think they've valued him.
YES used him in network promos. He was on the 2009 official team calendar. They wouldn't use him to market the franchise if they didn't value him.

I think he's someone they've had high hopes for, and liked, but at the same time, they've tried to make the most of his inexpensive years.
I'd like to think there are no hard feelings business-wise between the Yanks and Chien-Ming -- but who knows? I hope things work out and he sticks around. His would be a great comeback story for 2010.

27 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:31 pm

[25] There must be, but I am not sure when it is. If I can find it, I'll post it.

28 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:36 pm

[25] to your last point about trading quantity for quality: free Shelley Duncan!
not saying he's not quality, but I'd like to see the Yanks trade him away to a team that can use him. Bruce suggested the Mets, and I think that would be a great place for him to bring his energy. Though I'm not sure who we'd want back from the Mets. Can't remember the last time a player was traded across town either.

29 ms october   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:41 pm

[26] i guess by "value" i mean that to me the yanks did not seem to approach cmw as if he were in their long-term plans so they somewhat treated him on a 'get what we can for now out of this guy' basis.

[27] thanks william - no worries to find it - i did a very quick google search and didn't turn it up with the search terms i used

[28] yeah that would be a good start. surely some offensively challenged team could use shelley at least as a platoon.

30 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 9:57 pm

[29] true, I definitely detected the "get what we can now for now out of this guy" vibe -- but it's nothing personal. Sinkerballers who don't wiff batters left and right don't tend to get the big love (salaries, recognition) , especially early in their careers. Even though I've personally loved watching Wang do his thing, he doesn't have the overpowering "stuff" that makes GMs drool "lock this guy up at all costs."

I'd just love to see him find that heavy sinker again. In theory he's a perfect right hander for the new Stadium.

31 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:09 pm

Hat tip to RAB:
Damon won't give Yankees discount
"Boras argues that Damon has historic durability and “the body of a 30-year-old.” Damon has played 140 or more games in 14 straight seasons. The only players who have done that more frequently are Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson and Pete Rose (16 straight years) and Willie Mays (15).

Boras, hardly sounded like Damon was going to be a short-term bargain for the Yankees. Instead, he compared his client to Derek Jeter and sounded an awful lot like someone who expects a three- or four-year deal"

32 ms october   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:13 pm

[30] definitely love to see him regain form and throw those heavy sinkers.

[31] STOP paying attention to boras.
if boras somehow gets jd a 3 or 4 year deal, i wish damon well and boras is well worth his 10%

33 51cq24   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:16 pm

cliff, do you have a reason to think the yanks will non-tender wang or are you just guessing? seems to me it would be a lot smarter to try and sign him for a year with an option or incentives before arbitration. why risk having to outbid another team?

34 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:18 pm

I personally don't pay attention to Boras. Just reporting the news. However, I do believe JD can get 2 years, and possibly 3. Maybe 3/$24m. Actually, the Angels might want him.

35 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:23 pm

[34] The Mets too. The Yanks will probably have to overwhelm him and Matsui with dollars to keep a deal at 2 years -- and I'd be ok with that.

36 Just Fair   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:23 pm

[32] If Alex truly stiffed Boras after his opt-out fiasco, that was the first smart thing he did. And I sign of good things to come. : )
Damon needed 4 year love from Boston too, right. He's told cities he's loved to stay before. We'll see. I am all for a 1 year-2 year max contract from JD.

37 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:25 pm

[31] Didn't Boras want 6-7 years last time around? Boras is a great negotiator, so that sounds like a case of starting high. And, if he does insist on 3-4 years, then he'll make the Yankees decision easy.

38 RIYank   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:30 pm

Wow, great work, Cliff.
In your Red Sox section you don't mention that Theo seems very interested in Adrian Gonzalez. The rumor is they would be willing to part with serious young talent to replace their crappy A-Gon with the good one.

39 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:30 pm

Boras will soon be spinning that Damon just discovered he was was bred from the same line of centaurs that produced Alex -- but Damon's centaur uncles were late bloomers who didn't realize their full centaurian? potential until they turned 35.

40 Just Fair   ~  Nov 10, 2009 10:37 pm

39] I'm sold. 4 years for 52 million. : D

41 JeremyM   ~  Nov 10, 2009 11:04 pm

Boras' hyperbole "jumped the shark" (hate to use that phrase, but it applies) when he compared Rich Ankiel to Babe Ruth as the only pitcher to successfully transition to a position player or some nonsense. Now we're lumping in Damon with Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, and Pete Rose. Whatever.

42 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 10, 2009 11:19 pm

It doesn't matter what Boras says. We all know that at 2 years, a number of teams will go after JD... and there will be a few that will go 3. Nobody will go 4 years.

I say resign Matsui for 1 year OR Jim Thome for one year at $9m + incentives. Thome put up similar numbers to Matsui and can spell Tex 5-10 games/yr. He should rake at YSIII.

Let JD, Nady and Molina go. That's $20m
Sign Holliday at $16-$18m.

Same O as last year, slightly better D.
Our OF is solid for a while.
In 2011, we can go after any numbers of players for DH/OF.

Whew! Glad that's over with!

43 joejoejoe   ~  Nov 10, 2009 11:30 pm

Brooks Robinson, age 37-39 OPS+ 113, 58, 64

Boras should have left that one out if he wants a 3 year deal.

44 51cq24   ~  Nov 11, 2009 12:05 am

[42] good plan. definitely prefer matsui to thome at this point, especially since matsui is better against lefties. teixeira's one of the few players who don't really need much rest.

45 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Nov 11, 2009 12:28 am

[42] Jim Thome?? He's about 70 yrs old and weighs 400lbs...

46 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 11, 2009 12:44 am

Jim Thome IF we can NOT get Matsui for one year.
Jim Thome 2009: .249 .366 .481 .847, 118 OPS+
Jim Thome, younger then Mo
Jim Thome, svelter then CC
Jim Thome, 564 HRs

It's for one year. IF we lose Matusi. You got a better idea for a temporary DH?

47 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Nov 11, 2009 12:55 am

[46] Can't compare anyone to Mo, that's balsphemy.
Career dingers mean nothing now (though is swing at NYS is tempting..)
If they lose Matsui, then rotate Jorge Po, A-Rod, & Jete at DH. I really don't see the problem with getting them rest. The O will be fine even with a banjo-hitting fielder in the lineup.

48 joejoejoe   ~  Nov 11, 2009 2:32 am

I don't think the Yankees should ever pursue a full time DH. The team is always going to be filled with veteran stars so I'd rather they rotate position players at DH to give them rest and carry a strong 4th OF and/or catcher platoon who can suck up the DH ABs.

49 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 11, 2009 7:16 am

[46] I think the Yankees can do better than Thome if they lose Matsui, but if not, he wouldn't be an awful full-time DH.

[47] Rotating the DH means an everyday lineup with a well below average backup in the mix. No team can afford to simply punt a spot in the batting order. The Yankees would be foolish to take such a cavalier approach.

[48] The 2009 Yankees had a full-time DH. How did that work out? If the Yankees had a strong 4th OF and catcher platoon, it would make more sense to rotate the DH, but they don't.

Also, having a strong everyday DH allows you more freedom to completely rest players because his bat extends the lineup. For example, a Matsui (who has an OPS+ over 120) in the lineup everyday makes it easier to sit Jeter and have Pena take his place. Not only is the offensive impact the same as having Jeter DH, but the full rest is even more beneficial.

50 monkeypants   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:17 am

[47] Posada will rest two games a week, I imagine. But Jeter does not need one game off every week (i.e., one game in six) for 25 games off. A-Rod does not need 25 games off. etc.

The plan to not have a full-time DH would mean throwing a "banjo" hitter out there, seemingly for the sake of it, every day of the week...600 ABs for Peña/Cervelli. That is nuts.

[48] I would rather the team have a full-time DH who sits occasionally when Jeter and Posada take a turn, rather than not carry one at all and sacrifice a line up spot every night.

51 Paul   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:26 am

What's really interesting to me about this off-season?

If the Yankees simply replaced all of Pettitte (3.3 WAR), Damon (3.0 WAR), and Matsui (2.4 WAR) with in-house options (say, Kennedy, Jackson, and Montero), we're still looking at a likely playoff team (92-95 wins) and one with a payroll under the luxury threshold ($170 million). And that's assuming all of the kids are replacement level. And really, would any of us complain about the Steinbrothers stuffing $30 - $40 million into their pockets? In fact, I'd be excited to watch the kids full-time. Montero's bat is ready. And Jackson's glove is ready. Between the two alone, that's at least 2 or 3 wins.

That said, I absolutely love the fact that that strategy isn't in the Steinbrenner DNA. They'll spend. The difference now though is that the GM is in control for smarter spending. That's scary. The farm is just starting to produce again, they play in a ATM, and their biggest rivals are hamstrung by old, decrepit ballparks. It's a good time to be a fan.

I'd be fine with Thome. I really like how they handled Matsui this year. It was almost the perfect use of the position (450 ABs then rotate through others). Thome is the type of professional who would accept the same almost full-time status. The Yankees certainly have option

Damon in LF scares me. But I'd say pencil him out there and if Matsui gets hurt he's the DH. I just like the Jeter-Damon combo to give up on it a year too early. And on that score there's nothing else available.

52 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:27 am

Thome, is it?

Ahh, the game's afoot!

I'd take Thome in a heartbeat for a temporary, stop-gap measure.

He's one fuck of a hitter.

53 Paul   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:31 am

[50] Agreed. And I think the Yankees do too. It can't hurt that they saw how well it worked with Matsui and the rest of the lineup.

I'll actually be surprised if they don't sign all of Pettitte, Damon, and Matsui. It's the easiest path and probably the smartest given the market and the long-term flexibility it enables.

Either that or they make a deal. Chad At LoHud spoke to Cashman about the multiple middle infielders that are Rule 5 eligible (Russo, Corona, Nunez) and Cashman referenced the Swisher deal. Adam Dunn is the first name that comes to mind here.

54 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:34 am

[52] et al - If Godzilla goes elsewhere, I think Thome would be a fine, fine DH.

[51] I love Montero too, but the kid has hit poorly since coming back from his injury. I think the worst thing the Yanks could do is to rush him to the bigs now. The extra development time will help him - I think he needs it - and there's no place for him to play everyday. If they brought him up now, they'd be wasting his major league service time with him sitting on the bench and not developing!

I also think Jackson should start the year in AAA, though I do recall arguing that with Melky playing LF full-time and Jackson/Gardner in CF, the Yanks just might save enough runs on defense to survive the hit on offense.

55 Paul   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:38 am

[54] I'm not arguing for the kids, especially not with now cheaply a good DH can be had. I just think it's very interesting, and nice, that they have the depth to compete even if they went with the plucky, gritty, and cheap Sox route. But, yeah, they'll both start in AAA.

56 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:38 am

[53] Ozzie had no use for Swisher though, and he had a pretty awful year in 2008. I'm pretty sure there's no similar enmity between Dunn and the Nats, and Dunn had an excellent year in 2009.

I'd be great to get Dunn via trade, because he'd be the best DH, but I don't see it happening this offseason.

I'm also pretty sure that they have no problem exposing Corona (again) and Nunez in the Rule 5 draft. Russo they will keep, and it'll be easy to have a spot for him by letting Molina walk or dropping Guzman or Towers or Mitre. And with both Pena and Russo, they really don't need Corona or Nunez.

57 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:39 am

[55] A very fair point! And FWIW, I think you will see the Yanks go with the kids, and have a smaller payroll - in 2011.

58 Paul   ~  Nov 11, 2009 9:45 am

[56] Yeah, the comp of Swisher:Dunn isn't really good. I just have no idea what the Yankees could get for the middle infielders. And it seems, from a distance, like the Nationals could use middle infield depth in their organization. The Dunn contract could also be burdensome to them if they wanted to make a run at Holliday.

[57] I never expect the Yanks to go cheap. But with these prospects it would be a nice surprise.

59 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 11, 2009 10:31 am

I hate the hot stove. I'mma stay out of Cashman's kitchen for awhile.
I'm going to catch up with my wife, and my DVR, and teach my three sons to be high-OPS switch-hitting Gold Glove catchers this winter. That's the new plan.

60 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 11, 2009 10:44 am

[51] You are taking a lot for granted!
Posada. Jeter, Cano and Melky all did rather well in 2009.
But do you happen to remember what Posada. Jeter, Cano and Melky all did in 2008?

2008 and 2009 OPS+:
Melky: 68 and 99
Jeter: 102 and 132
Cano: 86 and 129
Swisher: 92 and 129
Posada: 103 and 133
Damon: 118 and 126 (but we have to replace him for 2010)

Does it really matter what ARod and Tex do if the SIX guys/slots above play like 2008? If they play like 2009, we can Win without an impact LFer. If they play like 2008, every with Holliday in LF, we don't beat Boston. And if 2010 is halfway between 2008 and 2009, how we replace LF and DH could be the differnce in maiking the Dividion/PS.

Frankly, with our money, I say: "WHY GAMBLE"?
Salary wise, we can trade JD and Nady for Holliday. I know if may be 6 years (but maybe Cashman can swing 5), but I still think it's a winning move.

Dump Molina, save $2m, and give Brains a shot. What can we lose? Maybe Brains will surprise us and post better numbers then Molina. Not that unlikely. And he sure will be better on the bases.

Hinske made $1.5m last year. Crazy NOT to bring him back for that. JHJr made $2m last year. He's better then Pena, but we could save $2m and go with Pena without that much loss.

I'd say there is a reasonable shot that Matsui will do a 1 year contract to stay with the Yanks. If not, Thome is 95% of Matsui, and may even be as good or better because of YS.

JD is ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NOT signing for one year. At 2, maybe... depending on other offers. As much as he loves being a Yankee, the guy wants to pile up numbers. He is eyeballing 3,000 hits. He is concerned with his legacy. If the Yanks really want one year of JD, they will have to overpay by $6m, and get him via Arb.

I say: Same team as last year except Holliday instead of JD, and Thome IF necessary.

Outside of AJax (who really should replace MelkyGardner), we have no OFers on the farm in the next 3 years. I would front load Holliday's contract a tad (20, 19, 18, 18, 17 and 16) which at least makes a trade possible (if need be) after 4 years. The guy is 30. JD is 36. There is no reason we should not get 4 or 5 fine years from Holliday.

P.S. Theo does NOT really want Bay, hence the rather MickeyMouse offer of 4/$60. Holliday is Boston's #1 target. Theo does NOT like Bay's defense, especialy compared to Holliday's. Tex made us better and hurt the Sox. Holliday will do the same thing.

61 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 11, 2009 12:31 pm

[60] OYF, you pay far more attention to the Boston media than I do, but I don't think Theo offered Bay 4 yrs/$60M because he really does not want Bay - I think he made that offer because that's right about where the Sox value Bay over the next four years. And if the Sox have proved anything over the last few years, they won't pay more than what they think a player is going to be worth. How else do you explain them letting Damon go over $4M dollars? Not signing Tex? Holding very firm on Varitek last off-season? Letting Pedro go? Quickly signing Youk/Pedroia/Beckett to pre-arb, reasonable deals? And so on.

No, the Sox would rather have a team filled with upside/value guys (like Smoltz, Penny, and yes Hermida) than overpay for anyone, even if that guy is arguably worth it. And for all the kvetching over the "failed" Smoltz and Penny signings, they still won 95 games!

Thus, if I had to bet, the Sox aren't really interested in Holliday, mostly because he's a Boras client and they know he'll come with a premium attached.

And speaking of toeing the line on value and not overpaying, I've heard some rumblings in Boston that folks are worried about the Sox letting Beckett go (he's a free agent after 2010) because they aren't going to offer him a contract longer than 3 years, or they won't pay him what he could get on the market, or both. It wouldn't surprise me at all to Beckett elsewhere in 2011.

62 RIYank   ~  Nov 11, 2009 1:12 pm

Just posted this on the new thread (Fool's Gold): Boston radio is reporting that according to Japanese media sources, the Red Sox are preparing a "multi-year offer" to Hideki Matsui.

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