Today the Yankees made their first "big" splash. They acquired OF Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox in a tilted give away trade in New York's favor. The trade was for two unknown minor leaguers and bench player Wilson Betimet.
It creates an immediate problem. Where will Swisher play?
Their lineup aleady has the potential to look like this:
A Rod (3B)
Manny Ramirez (LF)
Where would the Yankees play Abreu provided they re-sign him? Do you just let an OPS machine and .300 hitter (ahem) walk, away?
What does this do to the Manny sweepstakes? Where does Matsui play? Matsui has three years left on his contract at $13 million a year so its not like they can just give him away.
Yes I've heard about how the Yankees shed $90 from their payroll so they'll be able to make these moves, but so what? Do any of them make them better? I see an old team.
Swisher is a steal but he costs $3.6 million now (not counting raises this off season) so that payroll is already only down $86.3 million in actuality.
Then you factor in the $23 million you're saving from not having Jason Giambi. But, do you really want to kick 32 HRS and 96 RBI out the door as I've seen so many people (including Yankees fans) willing to do and accept this as fact?
Don't be so quick to dismiss him, especially when he could go to a rival like the Blue Jays and be re-united with his old Oakland (then Asst.) GM J.P. Riccardi).
Would Giambi be an improvment for the Jays? Yes. Would he help them make the postseason? No. They are still the Jays, a forever 85-win team, but any time you have a chance to steal an impact player from your rival you do it at your gain, and their direct loss. Just ask the Sox during all those lovable down years when they played 2nd fiddle to the powerful Yanks.
The Jays getting Giambi does no good if it comes at the expense of losing Pitcher A.J. Burnett who is expected to bolt Toronto ironically for New York perhaps, thus re-paying any Giambi-to-Toronto favor.
You also have to factor in the potential loses of 20 game winner Mike Mussina, and 13 game (but declining) winner Andy Pettitte. Where are those wins going to come from?
Sabathia? Hardly. He's a regular season pitcher and postsason choker, same for Burnett and Mussina. Sabathia would need to get 20 wins in his first season in The Bronx just to equal Mussina's past season.
Sabathia? He'd have to start at 13 wins just to copy Pettite's season and although he'd likely surpass, he's not the proven leader and winner Pettitte is, especially come playoff time-provided N.Y. even gets there as last year has proven no one has a birthright.
Speaking of Sabathia, he should be getting calls from the best regular season team money could buy, that being the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. All he'd have to do is ask potential new teammate, Mark Teixeira all about that.
Some sucker is going to pay Texieira along with Sabathia and ironically it could be the same team, that fails to comprehend that baseball dynamics have changed and you can't just buy championships anymore (granted you can still try, and the Yankees clearly will).
Keep in mind, there is a reason the youthful 28 year old Teixeira has been traded twice already during his short career despite all his " potential" (hint, he's overrated and he's about to be over-paid).
Don't think the Yankees could or would buy Teixeira, Manny, Burnett, and Sabathia in one crazy, monopoly-money-like off season? Guess again. All that $90 million the Yankees cut? Gone, to the tune of a potential $250 millon payroll.
And I'm not convinced it's that much better.
The Yankees will still be old, they will be reverting back to their old (failed) tricks of buying up the best players developed on other teams and hoping a cache of stars gets it done after the "embarrassment" that is missing one post season in the past 13 years.
Cry me a river, tying being a Pirates or Nationals/Expos fan. Sabathia, Burnett, and Teixeira are all overrated chokers playing for great regular season teams. When was the last time Burnett was in the playoffs? His teams made it once, in 2003, and won the World Series without him because he was hurt.
What does that tell you?
Sabathia's career postseason ERA is 7.92 with a 2-3 record. If you can somehow spin that, consider that he's only been there three times and his numbers are actually getting worse-a lot worse.
The only FA addition I'd grant them is Manny as he's a winner wherever he goes.
Granted the Yankees will be getting back 19 game winner Chien-Ming Wang but in what condition? Their bullpen is also still in shambles and not improved at all, and the Rays and Sox are not only not going away, but getting better. Mix in the fact that "Hollerin' Hank" is no George when it comes to front office decisions (I personally think he's inept and under-qualified for the job as all he knows how to do is write checks) and these very clearly aren't your grandadddy's Yanks. Not even close.
Consider that heart-and-soul Joe Torre is gone and you've got a lot of reason for pessimism in Yankee land despite whomever they might sign or whatever spin their big tabloids might make.
We've seen them do this before with Randy Johnson and Javier Vazquez in offseason trades and how did that turn out? At the time both were considered studs and perfect fits for this team looking for that one last piece.
Finally, don't forget the Yankees haven't even made a World Series appearance, much less won won in the five years that regular season star Alex Rodriguez arrived in The Bronx. Three of those years they haven't even made it out of the first round, and last year didn't even earn a trip to the big kids table.
This could be the perfect collection of the best regular season team money could buy-East of the Mississippi River of course.
Wouldn't want to take anything away from the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim.