What I love most about the baseball off-season, other than that I am a Yankees fan, is how ridiculous the hours and hours of fan conversation, debate, and conjecture is. People go on and on talking about where they think players want to sign, what teams are going to do, and how much players are going to end up getting paid, when at the end of the day the only people who have any idea what's going on is the players, management, and family and friends involved, and select members of the media. With that thought out of the way, here are the moves I think the Yankees should make this off-season.
Sign CC Sabathia
I know, I know, really creative. But like a lot of Yankee fans (and I think the people making these decisions) I think that signing an ace like Sabathia is a must for the Yankees to establish some consistency in the rotation. What I love most about the big lefty is how durable he is. He has made at least 28 starts and pitched at least 180 innings every year since 2001, winning at least 11 games every one of those seasons.
Secondly, he's getting better, with his best two statistical seasons coming the last two years. Finally, he's only 28 years old, and there is no reason to think his performance will drop off in the foreseeable future. This guy is too good to miss out on, and I think New York will spend as much as is needed to ensure they get him.
Sign Adam Dunn
One of the big surprises of this off-season so far is how little interest Dunn has drawn, despite the fact that Arizona has made it clear they wont be able to re-sign him. I understand that most people want Mark Teixeira, but I think it would be impossible to get him and Sabathia, due to how much they both will draw. Dunn, while not cheap, will not burn the Yankees pockets nearly as fast as Tex, and can provide nearly as much production.
The problem most people have with him is similar to that they have with Nick Swisher: low average and too many strikeouts. While this is true, you need to appreciate what Dunn can do. He has a career OBP of .381 and OPS of .899, as well as having hit at least 40 homers five years running. These numbers would likely rise in New York, with its short porch in right and the better protection up and down the lineup. Sounds like a good fit to me.
Trade Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano and a fourth prospect for Jake Peavy
Can you imagine a rotation of Sabathia, Peavy, Wang, and Joba? That's three of the best arms in the game, and a guy in Chien Ming whose proven he's a winner when healthy. Peavy has had an ERA under 3.00 in four of the past five years, and like Sabathia has been able to consistently make over 25 starts a year.
If the Yankees (or any team) were able to pair the 28-year-old CC and the 27-year-old Peavy, they would be a championship contender for years to come. As far as the outgoing players, Kennedy is expendable, and Cabrera is an odd man out after the addition of Swisher, the emergence of Brett Gardner and the presence of Austin Jackson in the minors. Cano is a tough player to part with, considering how young he is and how much potential he has, but you have to give up talent to get talent, and I think Cano is a guy that could entice the Padres into making this trade. He would need to be replaced, which brings me to my next point.
Sign Orlando Hudson
I don't think its unrealistic to think the Yankees could sign Sabathia, Dunn, and Hudson considering what has been discussed as possibilities. Hudson is good defensively, a hard worker, and a pretty consistent hitter, and would do a good job at the bottom of the lineup as a replacement for Cano. He is a career .282 hitter, but has been better than that each of the last three years, and is only thirty years old.
Sign Odalis Perez
Another player who might not be at the top of some fan's wish lists but would make a great fit. I think the Yankees should sign him instead of bringing Andy Pettitte back, as he would be considerably cheaper and could have a big impact.
Perez is only 31 years old, and would likely do a good job of holding down the fort at the back end of the rotation until Phil Hughes proves himself ready to be a major league starter. Perez also provides depth in the rotation along with Alfredo Aceves if anyone were to get hurt, and could work in long relief down the stretch run and into the playoffs.
These moves would give the Yankees a rotation of Sabathia, Peavy, Wang, Chamberlain, and Hughes/Perez. I feel that Swisher is a better defensive outfielder than Dunn, meaning he would be a better fit for the vacant center field spot, while Dunn could fill in at first.
This positioning would let Xavier Nady play in right, Johnny Damon in left, and Hideki Matsui as the designated hitter, and Joe Girardi would be able to rotate that lineup easily in order to give people days off. To me, this team would immediately become a title contender on paper, but as we have learned as Yankee fans, that isn't good enough. Even so, it would be hard to not get excited about such a talented club in the gem that is the New Yankee Stadium.