Yankee Hot Stove: The Offense
Before getting into what the Yankees need to do this offseason to improve their offense, there's a bit of news.
The Yankees have signed Damaso Marte to a three-year, $12 million deal. I was never a fan of acquiring Marte last year and still will not trust him in a big spot. However, the move makes sense as the Yankees need a lefty reliever they can rely on (no more Billy Traber or Mike Myers, please). Phil Coke looked good last September, but let's let him develop before we give him the eighth inning (Remember how good Ian Kennedy was last September?).
Ok, onto the offense:
As we know, Friday will be a big day for the Yankees. Maybe even the biggest free agency day in Yankees history. The offense was the major problem for the Yankees last year. If you take the same pitching last year with 2007's offense, the Yankees make the playoffs.
Hopefully Posada will come back healthy and restore some stability to the catching position. Arguably two of the top Yankee hitters last year, Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu, won't be back next year. They both had very good 2008 campaigns. It seems any player on the team not named Jeter or A-Rod will be on the block.
The Yankees have shopped Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, finding teams are showing some interest in both. The big name the Yankees can offer is Robinson Cano. The tough move is to decipher whether 2008 was just a bad year and if he will return to his batting title form, or is he a guy you need to get rid of?
Cano could get you the CF the Yankees need as Damon definitely won't be there, and there are doubts if Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera can handle the job. Cano for Matt Kemp of the Dodgers has been rumored for months and seems like a good deal. If Cano is gone, look for Orlando Hudson to be signed to replace him.
I wouldn't mind seeing Abreu back for one year and having Gardner and Cabrera try to handle CF this season, as there are no top guys to get to fill those holes. For 1B, I am not a big Mark Teixeira fan, but he seems to fit their needs perfectly. Great defense, good OBP and power. Teixeira doesn't do anything great, but does a lot good. He isn't as good as the money he will earn, but that's the market, and the Yankees need him.
If I were Yankees' brass, I would see if Todd Helton and Ryan Howard were available. Howard doesn't seem likely to stay in Philly too long, and he is very pricey. Maybe he can be traded for. If I were Cash, I would bring Giambi back on a cheap, short contract, as his OBP and OPS last year were very good, and he had some nice numbers besides avg.
As for Manny Ramirez, I do believe the Yankees will have a chance for him. If they can move Matsui, Manny wouldn't be a bad DH for a year or two. Anything more then two years is a bad contract.
I ultimately believe Cashman won't sign him no matter how hard Scott Boras tries. If Cashman wants a CF he should see what Toronto wants for Vernon Wells if he is available.
So Abreu back, Gardner in CF, and Teixeira at 1B is my pick. I will probably be wrong on all my ideas but I do know this: The next month will be very exciting to see what moves the Yankees make.
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