Hello once again!
Well, the hot stove fire really sparked and crackled for the Yanks during the General Managers' Winter Meetings this past week, so let's do a quick recap of the biggest deal made, so far, in this offseason.
Three Team Trade between the Yanks, D'Backs, and Tigers
Here is how it broke down for the Yanks: New York received OF Curtis Granderson from the Tigers, while shipping out Ian Kennedy to the D'Backs, and trading prospect Austin Jackson, and LHP Phil Coke, to the Tigers.
Analysis: The winners of this trade are the the Bronx Bombers.
Granderson was the most developed, proven big leaguer in this trade, and has a gold glove under his belt at the prime age of 28. He is a left-handed power hitter with speed and good fielding ability.
The D'Backs also received Edwin Jackson from Detroit in the deal, but I feel he can be hit or miss. He has had one good year, followed by a decent year after that, and then the rest of his career has been wild, so it is a risk for the D'Backs.
Kennedy is coming off a year in which he was out with an aneurysm in his under his armpit, and only logged four appearances in AAA, along with a shutout inning in September with the Yanks.
The D'Backs are counting on these two pitchers to be their number three and four starters behind Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, but like I said before, they are huge risks.
The Tigers got the most players out of the deal, four in total I believe, two pitchers from the D'Backs, and the aforementioned players from the Yanks. Out of the four, only Phil Coke and a pitcher from the D'Backs have any real big league experience, and their experience is only a grand total of a year. The Tigers are counting on Austin Jackson to be their starting center fielder in 2010, but he was not projected to be ready for the Yanks until 2011. Big gamble .
Bottom line, the Yanks get an all-star gold-glove winner, and the other two teams get a whole bunch of question marks. So, welcome to New York Curtis! Have fun with that right field porch!
Other Yankee News
In other Yankee news, Andy Pettitte is back for his 13th season in pinstripes, and this was a no-brainer. He will move back into the No. 3 spot in the rotation unless...
Giant question : With the trading chips the Yankees gave up in the Granderson trade, will they still try and make a serious run at Roy Halladay?
Now, if you have ever read my articles before, I like to make fairly bold predictions, so here is another one for you: Yes , the Yanks will make a serious pitch for Halladay, but there is one name that will control all of this, and that is the name Johnny Damon.
Damon is the key part of the Halladay saga, and here is the reason why: As it stands now, the outfield would have Granderson in center, Melky Cabrerra shifted to left, and Swisher in right, with Bret Gardner, and possibly the rule-five draft-pick Jamie Hoffmann as reserves.
Now, that sounds all well and good, pretty damn good if you ask me—one ready to defend a championship—but, if the Yanks resign Damon, that makes Melky and Gardner expendable.
So, would you include one of them in the Halladay offer?
My answer is, "Yes."
Now, the question is, who?
In all around play, Melky is more valuable to the team. He's got a gun for an arm, can play all three outfield positions, is a switch hitter, and is coming off a bounce-back year in which he had clutch hit after clutch hit, saw his power numbers go up, and, once again, solidified himself as a Major League starter.
Gardner, on the other hand, does not have as much experience, or as much power, and is not a switch hitter. What Gardner does have going for him is that he too can play all outfield positions, is very comparable to Melky in defensive ability—though a slightly weaker arm—and, he is a speed demon who can steal a base at will.
So, who is more valuable to the Yankees?
Honestly, if Damon does not return, then it has to be Melky, but if Damon does return, Gardner is more valuable all of a sudden. Melky proved last year that he is no longer a reserve player, and I don't believe he would respond well to a reduced roll.
If you sign Damon, he is your left fielder/DH. That would make Melky more expendable than Gardner, because Gardner has more of the makings of a bench player, who comes in late in games to steal bases and subs in defensively.
So, if you were Brian Cashman, what would you do?
Watching Yankees Hot Stove on the YES Network last night, I heard Bob Lorenz come up with an interesting trade proposal for Halladay: Chamberlain, Melky, Jesus Montero, and a prospect, or two.
Do I like this trade?
I can honestly say no.
Do I see the Yankees proposing something similar to the Jays?
Personally, I do not want to get rid of Joba, Hughes, or Montero. I feel they are all too valuable to the Yankees, both right now, and for the future.
So, if I were to play GM for a day, this is what I would offer for the Jay's ace:
Melky Cabrera, Austin Romine, Alredo Aceves, Mark Malancon, another prospect, and cash.
Will this happen? Most likely not, but you get another great catching prospect who is almost equal to Montero in all areas except for power and who plays better defense, a proven starting outfielder, a proven swing man in Aceves, and a reliever with some, though not successful, big league experience.
Only time will tell what will happen in this saga, but like previously stated, it all depends on Damon. Having Pettitte back eases the need for a big pitcher.
I believe, right now, the Yankees are a championship team in 2010, ready to defend their title. If I am allowed another prediction, here is what I see the Yanks looking like in February when spring training begins:
The Yanks will offer Damon a one-year contract, with an option, or maybe even bump it up to two guaranteed years, but for less money, maybe nine or 10 million a year. He will wait it out, but accept it.
If not, he will go elsewhere, leaving LF to Cabrera, which will open the door for Matsui to return on a cost-effective one-year deal as a DH with slightly less playing time.
The Jays ask for way too much for Halladay, and the Yanks pass. Instead, they go after a lesser-grade alternative for a fourth starter, maybe a low cost/high reward risk like a Ben Sheets, or Eric Bedard, two guys with ace stuff, but who are often injured, or go with someone like Joel Pinero.
If not, they will go with in house alternatives, such as Hughes and Chamberlain for the No. 4 and No. 5 starting spots, or with Gaudin, Mitre, and Aceves. I do think they will sign another starter, allowing Hughes or Chamberlain to stay in the bullpen—preferably Joba—and then you have a pretty good starting rotation, and maybe pick up a reliever via trade or free agency, and then they're pretty much set.
This team, no matter what happens from here until spring training, is already looking like a championship team again, having kept most of its players from the '09 season, and added a big plus in Granderson already.
We'll see how things shake out in the end, but the Yankees have already made the offseason exciting, so I think we are in for a great Holiday season—maybe even a Halladay season.
Possible Alternative Trade Scenarios
I'll be back with more bold predictions and scenarios in the weeks to come, but until the, may we all have a holly jolly offseason!!