Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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2008-10-18 00:53
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

So the Yankees wrapped up their organizational meetings yesterday and they have their offseason plan in place. According to SI.com's Jon Heyman, the plan appears to be get everyone:

The Yankees' top executives have decided to pursue many of the game's premier free agents, chief among them starting pitchers CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe, and first baseman Mark Teixeira, among others, this winter. They will also will pursue Jake Peavy, the Padres' Cy Young-winning starting pitcher who may be available via trade, and may take a look at top free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez . . . The Yankees will also consider bringing back starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, who has told them he'd like to return. . . . The Yankees may also consider Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets as yet another free-agent alternative, but there are some concerns about his injury history. If Mike Mussina decides he want to keep pitching, the Yankees would be interested in him, as well.

All this really tells us is that they Yankees aren't ruling anyone out and do plan to be big spenders this winter. So that's good, but before you get yourselves in a tizzy trying to figure out who the Yankees can trade for 2007 NL Cy Young award winner Peavy, bear this in mind from Pete Abe:

Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, made it clear this afternoon that his client wants to stay in the National League. "It's where he's comfortable," Axelrod said. "He knows the hitters and he enjoys that aspect of the game himself."

In other news, Chien-Ming Wang is throwing off a mound, the Yankees have stated their intent to return Joba Chamberlain to the rotation for 2009, and Phil Hughes is tearing up the hitters' paradise that is the Arizona Fall League with the new cutter he showed in his late-season return. That's all very encouraging and means the Yankees are really only likely to sign two, three tops of the six non-Peavy pitchers listed above, which includes Pettitte and Mussina.

If it were up to me, I'd stay away from Burnett and Sheets due to their Pavano-esque injury histories. Sheets averaged 134 2/3 innings from 2005 to 2007 and was unable to help the Brewers in the playoffs due to reoccurring elbow pain. Burnett had made 30 starts just once his his nine major league seasons prior to his walk year this year. Instead, I'd go after Sabathia (of course), Lowe, and Moose, with Pettitte as a backup option.

Lowe will be 36 in June, so he shouldn't be offered much more than a two-year deal. If he wants more, the Yanks can let him go and sign Pettitte, who has said he won't sign elsewhere and should take another one-year deal. Pettitte was awful down the stretch, but blamed his poor performance on a loss of stamina due to his failure to stick to his usual winter workout regimen as he wanted to stay out of sight during the fallout from the Mitchell Report. Mussina might want another two-year deal if he decides to return, as a return may mean a commitment to go for 300 wins (he's at 270), but he earned it by reestablishing himself as the staff ace this season. Given the fact that Wang, Chamberlain, and Hughes are in their team-control years, as is everyone in the bullpen except for Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte (if the Yankees decide to pick up his $6 million option), a pair of two-year deals for Moose and Lowe would be extremely affordable and leave plenty of payroll room for the Yankees to throw Johan Santana money at Sabathia. Of course, CC, a career .261 hitter who connected for two home runs this year, may also prefer to stay in the NL where he can hit, but if that's the case, the Yanks can up their offers to Lowe and especially Mark Teixeira, the latter of whom is the free agent I most hope the Yankees will sign this winter.

Comments
2008-10-18 02:07:56
1.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Thanks as usual for the great write-up Cliff. Heyman's article didn't really say anything (surprise surprise) we didn't already know. What I am wondering is if the Yanks offer Santana money for CC...is that going to be enough to sign him? Almost everything you read about CC says he's a California guy..is the difference between 20 and 25million a year really that huge to go somewhere you wouldn't be comfortable? (mmm...5 million dollars more would make me move to Joisey i suppose...)
2008-10-18 02:08:11
2.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Thanks as usual for the great write-up Cliff. Heyman's article didn't really say anything (surprise surprise) we didn't already know. What I am wondering is if the Yanks offer Santana money for CC...is that going to be enough to sign him? Almost everything you read about CC says he's a California guy..is the difference between 20 and 25million a year really that huge to go somewhere you wouldn't be comfortable? (mmm...5 million dollars more would make me move to Joisey i suppose...)
2008-10-18 02:08:45
3.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
er..sorry for the Jimmy Two-Times there...
2008-10-18 04:36:11
4.   The Hawk
Ha, yeah quite a scoop there Heyman. In mid-October, all options are on the table for the Yanks; gotcha ...

I think Sabathia would be great to have. I'm not too concerned about his errr size, but I gotta say - hearing again and again how he's a West Coast guy, how he loves the NL ... It makes me nervous. Getting a huge contract in NYC with the Yanks is going to be a lot to deal with for someone who's coming from Milwaukee and Cleveland. If the guy also would prefer to be elsewhere, it just sounds like trouble to me.

2008-10-18 10:56:29
5.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
I listened to as much of CC's post game comments as I could find on the web - during the stretch run into the playoffs, throughout the period where he was a real hero. Everything he said, and how he said it, left me feeling completely confident that he could handle NY, and would love it. I say we back up the truck to sign him.

Add Lowe, Moose and Pettitte for 3/2/1 years as able/required.

As for Tex - I'm back and forth. I've heard much that he's sort of like A-Rod: great work ethic, great skills, but always sort of separate. I'm not sure we need more of that on the team, especially with a great locker room guy like Giambi leaving.

That said, we need his offense, especially with Abreu hopefully finally gone.

So here too, I say sign him. 6 years $120 million ought to do it. Hard to imagine any team going longer or higher $.

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