New York Yankees: Looking Ahead to 2009

Joel KochSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2008

I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m going to play General Manager of the New York Yankees. The Yankees to need revamp their roster, and it could take some creative thinking and moves.

Here’s what I would do, if I were the GM of the Yankees.



New York Yankees receive: 2B Adam Kennedy, OF Rick Ankiel, 1B Todd Helton

St. Louis Cardinals receive: 2B Robinson Cano, OF Matt Holliday

Colorado Rockies receive: RHP Jhonny Nunez (NYY), OF Shane Robinson, RHP Joel Pineiro, 3B David Freese, 2B Donovan Solano (STL), OF Melky Cabrera, RHP Phil Hughes


New York Yankees receive: C Victor Martinez

Cleveland Indians receive: RHP Ian Kennedy, RHP Mark Melancon, OF Austin Jackson


New York Yankees receive: LHP Nate Robertson

Detroit Tigers receive: OF Johnny Damon


New York Yankees receive: RHP Daniel Cortes

Kansas City Royals receive: 2B Adam Kennedy


Breakdown: Ok, let’s go semi-step by step. The Yankees need a first baseman who can field and hit. Who better than Todd Helton? Sure, Mark Teixeira would be great, but it should be out of the question. Having a corner infield of Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira is great to dream about, but too expensive, even for the Yankees.

The Yankees also need a left handed hitting outfielder who can play center. Though Ankiel had a freak injury, he’s still a perfect fit. He can play center extremely well, has the 30 home run pop, and has a stellar arm. He fills several holes.

What is given up will sting; however, to get talent, you have to move talent. Cabrera has struggled this year, but he’s still a good player. Adding him could offset the loss of Matt Holliday (moved to the Cardinals in this three team trade). Also moved is Hughes. He was supposed to be an ace in the making. He’s still full of potential and talent. Changing scenes could be very good for his development.

Nunez may also sting down the line. Currently at Class AA, he’s put up some good numbers. He’s a solid middle reliever in the making. Considering the Rockies bullpen has been as bad as their starting pitching, I’m sure they’d take a young arm like Nunez.


Don’t be scratching your head on Martinez. He’s still an average defender behind the dish with an average arm. His bat is great and he’s expandable, thanks to the emergence of Kelly Shoppach. Ryan Garko and Matt LaPorta are the future at first base for the Indians, and Martinez moving could cut salary. Match Martinez behind the plate, at designated hitter, and at first base, the Yankees could keep him (Helton and Jorge Posada) fresh.

Going Cleveland’s way is a good return. Considering Martinez was injured for most of the year, this package in return isn’t bad. The Yankees pick up the entire contract, and give up Kennedy. He needs a change of scenery. Sure, he’ll never be a front-line starter, but he will be a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm. In the new Indians’ rotation, he could make a name for himself. He’s also not in a big market city, taking a lot of pressure of his shoulders.

Melancon is at Class AAA and has flown through the system. He could be a potentially solid setup arm for the Indians in their recreated bullpen. Throw in Jackson, a speedy centerfielder, and the Indians have yet another young player for their outfield. He creates a nice surplus for the Indians to use as trade bait to fill other holes in the roster.


Here’s the head scratcher. It’s one bad contract for another, filling gaps for both teams. Robertson needs out of Detroit. He’s a good, left handed starter that has some bad luck on a bad team. Moving to a definite contender could rejuvenate him and make him a solid number three.

Damon fills a need for the Tigers. It’s no secret the Tigers want to dump payroll. They will add $6 million in this trade, but makes the move of Magglio Ordonez that much easier. They have potential filler for Ordonez and for Gary Sheffield, if they move him as well.


Now, another head scratcher. The Yankees like their high paid players, and Kennedy just isn’t this. I would flip Kennedy after landing him and move him to the Royals. The Royals are trying to develop their own young talent, but second base has been weak. With Mark Grudzielanek up for free agency, they can still have a stopgap. Kennedy is very good on defense and has refound his stroke in St. Louis. Add him to a young Royals team, and they still have that solid glove at second who can be a leader.

In Cortes, the Yankees land a middle-tier prospect. The only reason why they get somebody like Cortes is because they’ll pickup $2 million of Kennedy’s $4 million contract. Cortes, currently at Class AA, looks to be a future middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. He put up solid numbers in a full season at Class AA. He can only get better.


Ok, the trades are done. If you’re keeping track, I have only second base open on the offense. The pitching side is more open, but you’ll see my fillers later on when I introduce my 2009 roster.


Free Agent Signings

LHP CC Sabathia: Six years, $140 million (Club Option for 2015)

2009: $20 million, 2010: $21 million, 2011: $22 million, 2012: $22.5 million, 2013: $24.5 million, 2014: $26 million, 2015: $28 million, $4 million buyout


LHP Brian Fuentes: Three years, $20 million (Club Option for 2012)

2009: $5 million, 2010: $6 million, 2011: $7 million, 2012: $7 million, $2 million buyout


2B Orlando Hudson: Four years, $36 million

2009: $7.5 million, 2010: $8.25 million, 2011: $9.25 million, 2012: $11 million


There you have it. That is my entire offseason, from trades to free agent signings. Now, let’s get down to the cold hard cash of it:

2008 Payroll: $205,805,850

2009 Payroll (pre-offseason): $149,971,425

Updated 2009 Payroll: $197,970,800


Despite only making three free agent signings (I know, unheard of in New York), the payroll is still in the $190 million. I think the Steinbrenner family could be happy with that.

Alright, now it’s time for the unveiling of my entire 2009 roster. This ranges from my starting rotation, to the bullpen, defense, and finally the lineup.



SP: CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlin, Chien-Mien Wang, Nate Robertson, Humberto Sanchez


RH: Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez
LH: Brian Fuentes, Damaso Marte
CL: Mariano Rivera



C: Victor Martinez
1B: Todd Helton
2B: Orlando Hudson
3B: Alex Rodriguez
SS: Derek Jeter
LF: Hideki Matsui
CF: Rick Ankiel
RF: Xavier Nady
DH: Jorge Posada


2B: Orlando Hudson
SS: Derek Jeter
1B: Todd Helton
3B: Alex Rodriguez
C: Victor Martinez
LF: Hideki Matsui
RF: Xavier Nady
DH: Jorge Posada
CF: Rick Ankiel

Bench: C Jose Molina, IF Cody Ransom, UTIL Wilson Betemit, OF Brett Gardner/Justin Christianson


Now, let’s look at this in a positive light. This Yankee lineup could be one of the better ones. Ankiel is a cleanup hitter on the Cardinals. For the Yankees, he’s batting ninth. That makes this lineup big. It’s well balanced with Hudson being the leadoff man. He’s got speed, average, and some pop.

Jeter is a perfect for the number two hole. Everyone knows that. Helton is the number three hitter, it’s what he’s done forever. He’s left handed, 20-30 home runs power, and is a batting average machine.

Rodriguez is the cleanup hitter, plain and simple. It’s what he’s done for a long time, and it won’t change. Martinez adds something to the lineup: a switch hitter with 20-30 home run potential. Add him behind Rodriguez and in front of Matsui, a left handed hitter, and he makes the one 0on one bullpen match ups difficult.

Nady, Posada, and Ankiel makes one of the best lower third of a lineup. Posada, despite his injury and age, is still a good hitter. Nady has power and is a good hitter. Ankiel has power and some speed, making the lineup more well rounded at the bottom.

Of course, the defense is just great. You have a gold glover on the ENTIRE infield, and a potential gold glover in center. Nady has a solid arm and is a good defender in right field. Matsui is also a solid defender in left.


The rotation is back to being solid. A front three of Sabathia, Chamberlin, and Wang will give everyone headaches. That’s one of the, if not the, best front three in baseball. The backend is just above average. I want Sanchez in my rotation until he shows he’s not the right fit. No expectations on him, that’s why he’s my fifth starter. If he does well, great. If he doesn’t, well, there’s always a trade in the season.

Robertson is the key cog to my rotation. If he can regain his 2006 form, he’ll make this rotation the best in baseball. If he’s his 2007 self, he’ll make it very solid. If he pitches like he has in 2008, this rotation could get ugly. It’s worth the risk because he’s a good pitcher.

My bullpen is great. Bruney, Ramirez, Veras, and Britton have been good for the bullpen in 2008. Marte is a dominant lefty specialist and is solid in the backend of a game.

Fuentes, though, is the key cog. He’s not signing a closer contract, but he could get his fair share of opportunities. Rivera is one of the most ninth inning man in baseball. With Fuentes in the fold, Rivera could get rested more with Fuentes handling the ninth inning. He’ll also make for the best 1-2 punch in the backend of a game.


So there you have it Bombers fans. I have created my 2009 roster. I used the money, $56 million to be exact, that has come off the books. I have recreated the roster to put the Yankees back on top in the American League East.

I hope you enjoyed it.