I see a report from ESPN that Jake Peavy has given the Padres five teams he would approve a trade to. All five are NL teams. See my comment in a previous post about the DH and why the NL would appeal to pitchers. Why would any pitcher leave the NL to come to the AL?
One comment I read from Manny Ramirez is funny, in which he downgraded the NL and wants to go back to the competition of the AL.
Forget about Alvaro Espinoza replacing Bobby Meacham as 3B coach. Espy, who coached 3b for AAA SWB, got the axe yesterday. Espy of course, played with the Yanks 1988-1991, and was their starting SS from 1989-1991. The good-field, no-hit, never walk (OPS+ 80, 50 and 73 in his three years as the Yankees full-time SS) Espinoza hit .254 (OPS+ 66) in a career that spanned 1984-86, 88-91, and 93-97 with the Twins, Yanks, Indians, Mets and Mariners. He saw one WS, with the 1995 Indians.
George King writes that if the Yanks can’t get Bowa back (which I don’t believe they will) that the Yanks could get someone who replaced Espinoza on the Yankees—Mike Gallego. (Funny in how that works, as Espy basically replaced the .236, 73 OPS+ Meacham, with Wayne Tolleson and Raffy Santana in the mix as well, and later Spike Owen). I always liked Gallego when he played. He was a guy who got the most out of his ability (although, like Espy, Gallego was another good-field, no-hit SS). Hopefully Gallego, a heads-up player, would do the same for Cano. Gallego got in three WS with the A’s, 1 title, playing for LaRussa from 1988-1990. He came to the Yanks in 1992 and was with them from 1992-1994. His best year with the Yanks (and in his career) was 1993, when he went .283-10-54 (OPS+ 112). He went back to the A’s in 1995, and back to LaRussa when he finished his career in 1996 and 1997 with the Cardinals, playing in the 1996 postseason. He only hit .239 in his career, with an OPS+ of 81.
Two people I always have felt the Yanks should go after as far as coaching (if they want to) were David Cone and Robbie Alomar. Cone threw a variety of pitches, and is well-spoken—both attributes I believe could help him as a pitching coach. 194 wins, a winning pct. of over 60%, a CYA. Twice a 20-game winner. Knows NY through the Mets and Yanks. 3.46 ERA (ERA+ 120). Five WS rings, four with the Yanks, one with Toronto. Eighteen postseason starts, 3 more relief appearances, 8-3, 3.80. He may be too comfy in the booth, however.
As for Robbie, his father Sandy has been a long-time coach, and Robbie was considered by his peers to be one of the headiest players in the majors. A five-tool guy. For a 2b, good power. Great on defense. Great speed. .300 hitter. Hopefully he would bring a good rapport with the Latin American players. .300, over 2700 hits, 210 HR, 474 SB, ALCS MVP, 2 WS titles, .313 postseason average with 20 SB. 116 OPS+. 10 Gold Gloves. 4 Silver Sluggers. Cone probably won’t make the HOF, Robbie should be a shoo-in. Who better for Robbie Cano to learn from? One the best 2b ever.
Gut feeling. Not what I want, but what my gut tells me. The Yanks get AJ, not CC (King reports that he told people in Milwaukee that he isn’t keen on playing in NY and that his top preference is the Dodgers. LA upgrades from Lowe to CC?). King reports that at the end of the month that the Yanks expect to hear from Mussina that he will retire. If so, that opens the door for Lowe. Lowe does come with questions. His age. 35. I would probably go two years with an option (Lowe is asking three years and would prefer to stay in LA, but LA may want that “upgrade”). The fact he would be returning to the AL East. That NL/AL difference is huge. Since going to LA, Lowe’s ERA’s have all been below 4.00. His last two years in Boston however, 2003 and 2004, saw ERAs of 4.47 and 5.42. He is a horse, having gone 200 or more IP five times since 2002, but beware.
King reports that they have an interest in Ben Sheets. Again, beware. Like AJ, there are injury issues. The Yanks have to be very careful in choosing between AJ and Sheets should they not get CC. A.J. Burnett will be 32 in January. Sheets is 30. Both are similar in their 162 g. average. Burnett? 13-12, 3.81, ERA + 111. Sheets, who hasn’t pitched in the AL as Burnett has, 13-12, 3.72, ERA+ 116. Since 2002, when he became a full-time starter, Lowe has averaged 15-11, 208 IP and an ERA of 3.79.
Gut feeling? If Moose doesn’t return, the Yanks get AJ and Lowe. The gut says that they don’t get Teixeira. They platoon at 1B or make a trade. What kind of platoon at 1B? I don’t think it would be Miranda and Shelley Duncan. I feel as if they would want an established vet. Miranda’s defense is not the best, but they may want to give Miranda (26 next April) a shot. He hit .287-12-52 in 99 games for SWB this year, 4 for 10 in a brief September callup and so far is 12 for 20 in the Arizona Fall League. If he fails, what kind of backup/platoon player could then go full-time? Probably not Shelley, 10 for 57 (.175-1-6, OPS+ 44) in limited time with the Yanks this year. Duncan is 29, but you wonder if he is a “AAAA” player. Having two guys at 1b with little experience in a platoon isn’t advantageous. You would want to give someone a shot but have someone else with experience “just in case.” One person out there who might lighten up the clubhouse, provide righty pop (and piss off Red Sox Nation) is Mr. Cowboy Up himself, Kevin Millar. If the Yanks spend their financial resources on two starting pitchers, and can’t get CC or Teix (Boras wants $200M over 10 years for Teixeira), a platoon of Miranda/Millar could make economic sense. Millar wouldn’t be there long, and Miranda could be a stopgap until someone needs to be moved to 1b (Posada?) or someone is ready (Montero?). Millar only hit .234 last year, and is 37. But could he be considered for a one year deal? He did have 20 HR, 72 RBI and drew 71 walks. OPS+ just an 89. Disappointing. Splits vs. lefties/righties, no significant difference. Am I worried about his dropoff the past couple of years? Yes. But as a platoon who could step in if Miranda fails, maybe he is worth a look.
Cashman has stated his desire for a “1B to play 1B”. I’m not sold on converted SS Rich Aurilia to play 1B. Aurilia hit .283-10-52 (OPS+ 95) for the Giants this year, switching between 1b and 3B. At least Millar knows the AL and knows the AL East. As for age, Aurilia is three weeks older than Millar. I had interest in Nomar for 1b a year or two ago, but not now.
Of course, the Yanks could still trade for Kotchman.
Would I like Teix? Of course. He would slot in perfectly with his bat and glove. The money and length of contract are troublesome for a team that already has six players making $106.1M for 2009, and the youngest of those players turns 34 next July. The addition of one or two free agent pitchers would take that up. Say they get AJ and Lowe. Now you are talking eight players, probably $136M for the 8, with AJ at 32 being the youngest of the eight. Teixeira is just 28, has a 162 g. ave. of .290-36-121, OPS+ 134. Two gold gloves to date. I’d love to have him. Hope the Yanks get him. My gut just doesn’t feel as if it will happen. I hope I’m wrong.
So then what? Rotation of AJ/Wang/Joba/Lowe/Andy? ….. Hughes starts at AAA? Aceves either at AAA or long man? Giese long man? Rasner at AAA or trade or DFA? Coke lefty reliever along with Mo, Bruney, Melancon?, Veras or Edwar, Marte? Let’s see. The five starters I mention. One year deal for Andy, Hughes replaces him in 2010 (but starts AAA in 2009 and does get MLB experience)? Can’t forget Kennedy as well (but maybe trade bait?). Seven relievers. Mo, Coke, Marte, Bruney, Aceves or Giese, there is five. Melancon could make six. Veras or Edwar make seven. Hey, what about David Robertson? Remember Albaladejo?
There are more moves to come. Rasner, Britton, Giese, Edwar or Veras….these are guys that could go (along with hopefully Igawa?). A rotation that makes Igawa completely forgotten about and irrelevant can only be welcomed. That bullpen surplus should be used to make trades with. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if some of those bullpen guys go in order to shore up other needs. So let’s say
AJ/Wang/Joba/Lowe/Andy with a lineup of
Damon LF .303-17-71-29-121
Jeter SS .300-11-69-11-105
Matsui DH .294-9-45-0-111 (missed 60 games)
Alex 3b .302-35-103-18-153
Posada C .268-3-22-0-106 (missed 2/3 of year)
Nady RF .268-12-470-1-108 in 59 games as NYY
Cano 2B .271-14-72-2-88
Miranda/Millar 1b Miranda 10 MLB AB, Millar .234-20-72, 88 OPS+ with O’s.
Gardner CF .228-0-16-13-55 in 127 AB.
Hmm…Interesting rotation with a good backup in Hughes if one of the five goes down. The losses of Abreu (.296-20-100-22-122) and Giambi (.247-32-96, 130) would hurt. But it is a lot of money off the books to go after the pitching of Lowe and AJ. The lineup has weak spots—lots of them—and Teix would definitely be missed here. Cano would have to rebound. That is paramount, as is a comeback by Godzilla. Not to mention the development of Miranda and Gardner. …. and I didn’t even mention Posada’s comeback…and Jeter?
There is a lot of work to do. Of course I would like CC or Teixiera. I am just looking at what is there without them and what is there if my gut proves to be correct—that both CC and Teix don’t come to NY. As seen, there could be pitching options without CC. As far as 1b options without Teix (or for that matter, Giambi), that’s another story. Of course with Giambi, it would have to be a buy out the option, then offer a one year deal with a big cut. Not that I want Jason back or think the Yanks would get him back, but without Teix, which option do the Yanks pursue? Trade (and give up who?)? Go with a platoon? or try to squeeze one more out of the big G? Your thoughts?
God forbid Posada not be able to catch and would have to go to first. That’s a subject and idea for a different post, one that with time, could be forthcoming.