When the team with the highest payroll in sports fails to make the playoffs, it's a sign that there are some dramatic moves that need to be made. This is one humble fan's opinion on what needs to be done to restore Yankee pride.
1. Good Bye Dead Weight, Hello Free Agents
With all of the obscene contracts coming off the payroll this offseason, it's time to bring in some new blood. Why not start with the best new blood that money can buy? The great thing about how the Yankees operate is that they can afford to sign free agents to big long-term contracts. In the final few years of those contracts, when the players start to decline, the Yanks still have enough money to pay those players and, hopefully, bring in more new blood to pick up the slack.
Main priority this offseason—sign C.C. Sabathia. This isn't even a question. Yankee Stadium + power lefty = wins. With Sabathia on the team, the Yankees would have the best righty-lefty ace combo in the league with Chien-Ming Wang.
Here's what I know. If a team has three great starters, it's almost a guaranteed 90-win season. With the Yankees offense, that number would be closer to 100. If the Yanks sign Sabathia, say hello to the playoffs. Now, it may not be a great long-term signing because Sabathia isn't the leanest cow on the farm, but for the next 2-4 years, it will guarantee the Yankees the playoffs.
Next, sign Mark Teixeira. I know that there are question marks surrounding Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter and how they may eventually need to move to first, but who cares right now? Jeter will be fine at short. Jeter is like Cal Ripken. He will play as hard as he can for as long as he can. So what if he can't reach a ball in the hole every once in a while. Keep hitting .300 and scoring runs, that's what Jeter does.
If they sign Teixeira, it will be another one of those offenses that has the potential to score 1,000 runs. And I'm fine with that. Plus you add a Gold Glove first baseman to the defense.
2. Sign Andy Pettitte, Let Go of Mike Mussina
I know Moose won 20 games last year, but it's time to let him go. He could be a great NL pitcher for a few years, a la Jaime Moyer. Let him move leagues and reach 300 wins. The Yankees need to get younger.
As for Pettitte, he is still a big game pitcher. He is exactly what the Yanks need come postseason time. Wang, Sabathia, Pettitte...I'm pretty sure no one would look forward to facing those three.
3. Get Hughes and Kennedy on Track
If these two can just turn into reliable fourth and fifth starters, the Yanks could win 100 games easily next season.
As you can see, all of the Yankees problems boil down to pitching. When Wang went down running the bases last season, the year was, for all intents and purposes, over. Throwing out Sidney Ponson and Carl Pavano once a week will not get it done in the AL East, especially now that there are the Rays to worry about along with the Red Sox.
If the Yanks shore up the rotation, get a reliable lefty in the bullpen, and maybe add one bat to an already potent lineup, we could see the beginning of another Yankee dynasty.