When I’m trying to get to sleep, I solve little puzzles to wind down my brain. Lately, I’ve been working on how the Yankees could acquire the best player at every position. Quickly, it becomes logistically impossible. There’s no way to pry Tulowitski or Longoria or Kemp or Braun away from their current teams.
However, changing the criteria slightly to acquiring the best available players at every position, things become doable. Absurdly expensive, but doable.
At first base, Albert Pujols, that’s easy. Keep the rest of the infield. Cano is the best second baseman for me over the last two years anyway, and close enough to the best overall that there’s no reason to upgrade. Jeter is required to maintain the idea that this is indeed the Yankees we’re talking about. And Arod, even that close to dreaming I can’t imagine some other team wanting to deal with him.
In the outfield, Granderson and Gardner might be the best outfielders available for their spots. For the other outfield spot, I’d gamble on the Cuban star, Yoenis Cespedes, though I guess Beltran is the best established player available. For DH, sign Prince Fielder. Note, every acquisition at this point is just a matter of money.
Now the hard part. Catcher. Perhaps this is the result of a midnight haze, but I think the Yankees could get Joe Mauer with Montero and others (Nova, Banuelos, etc). Mauer is now ridiculously expensive, has never been an Iron Horse, and has, for the first, time, turned in a stinker of a season. I think that the Twins could be persuaded that his contract is no longer in their best interests.
So that lineup is now something like Granderson, Mauer, Pujols, Fielder, Arod, Cano, Cespedes, Jeter, Gardner. Teixeira will DH against lefties and have to learn how to play 3B again to back up Arod. Russell Martin will be the back up catcher. Swisher is the fourth outfielder. To back up Jeter and Cano, and eventually replace Jeter, sign Jose Reyes.
The rotation is even easier. Sabathia is back. Send the rest of the Yankees staff to the pen (figure Nova is headed to Minnesota in the Mauer deal) and sign Wilson, Darvish, Buerhle and Oswalt, or the four best pitchers according to you.
We already have the best closer and possibly the best set-up man in Robertson. At times, Soriano is among the top relievers in the game. Add in Heath Bell, I guess, if he’s any good. I am always asleep before I get to the bullpen, so this is not as well considered. The demoted starters will pitch in where they can. Too bad Pabelbon signed elsewhere.
The 2012 Yankees would cost around, what, $350 million? Why not? It’s not my money so I won’t lose any sleep over it.
[Picture via Onion Sports Network]