Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Call Me Cashman

I’ve talked a lot about the Yankee’s options, the strengths and weaknesses of those options, and the goals that they should try to attain. I haven’t given my own opinion yet. I would like to do that now, assuming that any reasonable trade that I propose may be enacted.

My general philosophy to baseball this three fold. Flexible rosters, pitching depth, and hitters who don’t make outs.

I want to trade Alex Rodriguez. I want to trade him because he is a very good player but hinders our flexibility. He is an excellent hitter, a consistent hitter, and has the potential to be great. But he’s no Albert Pujols. He is the Hank Aaron to Pujol’s Lou Gehrig. I want him traded because of the pieces we can get for him.

Problem is, Alex is a right handed bat. We have a ton of left handed bats in this lineup and not too many who can hit from the right side. I want him traded to the Dodgers for Wilson Betemit, Chad Billingely, and Jon Broxton. Save 16 million.

I want Mike Mussina resigned. Several bloggers have weighed in on this issue lately. Mike Mussina could be a real bargain over the next two years. He is 38 years old, but we’ve seen plenty of late career success out of craft elder pitchers in the league lately (Rogers, Maddux, Mussina, Moyer, Glavine), and he is coming off an excellent season. Mussina has also had the reputation of being an excellent teacher of younger pitchers, and that is someone whom I want talking to Phil Hughes about his changeup. Sign him to a 2 year 18 million dollar deal.

I want Jaret Wright traded for some kind of backup catcher. That shouldn’t be too hard.

I want Mike Myers traded too. His role is too select. He wasn’t even that good of a LOOGY this year. He takes up an essential bullpen slot that could go to someone else. I will sign Ray King to take his spot to a 1 year, 3 million dollar deal. Ray King is an effective left handed reliever who, although best used as a LOOGY, is certainly capable of pitching to the odd right handed hitter.

As for backup infielders, Wes Helms comes to mind. His right handed bat came off a monster season in Florida, primarily against left handed pitching. He could play 3rd and 1st, plus a little outfield. I would platoon him with Aaron Guiel. To play the middle infield position, Alex Cora of Boston could prove to be very useful. I would sign them both to 2 year deals worth about 1.5 million per year. Andy Phillips is placed on waivers.

Melky returns as the 4th outfielder, with Kevin Thompson being promoted to fill the 5th spot.

The bullpen and rotation currently look as follows: Wang, Mussina, Billingsely, Johnson, X, plus Mariano, Farnsworth, Proctor, Broxton, King, and one spot open for a long reliever. I want to give Rasner and Karstens the opportunity to battle for these two spots in spring training. The winner gets the starting job; the loser the long relief job. Steve White, Phil Hughes, and Tyler Clippard might also enter this picture.

25 Man Roster:

CF Damon L
SS Jeter R / Cora
RF Abreu L / Thompson
DH Giambi L
C Posada S / Backup
LF Matsui L / Cabrera
1b Helms R / Guiel
2b Cano L
3b Betemit R

RHSP Mussina
RHSP Billingely
LHSP Johnson
RHSP Rasner/Karstens

RHRP Rivera
RHRP Farnsworth
RHRP Broxton
RHRP Proctor
RHRP Rasner/Karstens

I really like this roster. The flexibility of the bench is almost unheard of. Helms can play all four corners. Melky and Guiel can play all three outfield positions, plus 1st for Guiel. Betemit, while being the primary 3b, can play 2b and SS. Cora can play 3b, 2b, and SS very well. All can hit fairly well for bench players, and field their positions.

The bullpen is much improved. Farnsworth hopefully will recover from his back problems. King is an upgrade, as are the long relievers. Broxton and Proctor form a very strong duo leading up to the big two. Broxton may just be the closer of our future.

The starting rotation is both deep and flexible. One of the strongest reasons why young players are valuable is that they have options. If one of Billingley, Karstens, or Rasner falters, we will have White, Hughes, and Clippard waiting at AAA.

The biggest gain here? The Yankees shed over 35 million in salary. The new CBA will apparently raise the luxury tax level to 148 million. This frees up a significant amount of money toward getting below that threshold. We get key pieces in Broxton, Billingely, and Betemit for years to come.