A Good Year
So I haven’t done one of these in a while because I’m still basking in the afterglow, and more realistically, I’ve been adjusting to the idea that this year’s World Series win might have been more of a last stand for the “Core 4” than another signpost on another dynastic run. For a start, Derek Jeter is about to enter the last season of his 10 year contract that makes the last decade look like one big great adventure that’s coming to a close. Andy Pettitte might retain his value, as might Mariano Rivera, but expecting more greatness out of Jorge Posada as well is perhaps a little too much. For hism to produce at the level of his career norms to date, he’s essentially going to have to be Carlton Fisk, and there’s only ever been one Carlton Fisk.
In any case, the most likely outcome is that the ‘Core 4’ will ave problems to do with aging as all athletes do. I’m not expecting the Yankees to repeat. If they do, I’d be mightily impressed, but realistic projections would say otherwise. In that spirit, I’ve been stretching out my afterglow as long as it can last, and heck, I’ve made it to Christmas Eve. Can’t complain about such good luck, nor am I looking to complain, thank you very much!
I guess I’ve been wrestling with the length of time between the 2000 and 2009 championships and pondering the events in between. It turned out to be a long decade for Yankee fans.
Anyway, these are the moves Brian Cashman made this winter so far…
Didn’t Offer Arbitration To Chien-Ming Wang
Actually, he didn’t offer arbitration to Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui either. It’s interesting that they’re letting Wang walk.
Brian Bruney Goes To Washington
This was a bit disappointing, after the great salvation job the Yankees pulled with Bruney. They got a PTNBL later which turned out to be the Rule 5 draft pick of the Nats, who happens to be Jaime Hoffman. Hoffman’s a CF with some pop against lefties, so presumably he was acquired to be the caddy for Curtis Granderson who is not so good against lefties.
If he sticks, this would be a great trade because anytime you get any position player for a reliever, you’ve got to chalk that up as a win. If not, well, Brian Bruney was the odd man out in a crowded Bullpen picture. He’s also the immediate candidate for a closer for the Nats. Bruney said that at least he got a ring with the Yankees. Got to hand it to a guy who has some perspective. 🙂
The Curtis Granderson Trade
Other people have gone and done the numbers on it. Granderson essentially replaces Johnny Damon, is younger and costs less. To get him, the Yankees parted with IPK, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, but you have to say it was worth the price. The upside of Jackson was Granderson, so that alone makes enough sense. IPK had no place in the rotation going forwards so it was worth cashing in that chip. Interestingly enough, the Yankees drew the line at Mike Dunn, yet traded Dunn as a package of players for Javier Vazquez.
Nick Johnson Returns
The other bat to leave was Hideki Matsui, who signed a 1 year deal with the Angels. replacing his bat in the lineup is old friend Nick Johnson who was once upon a time known as ‘OBP Jesus’. He brings a higher OBP and lower slug than Matsui, but again, he’s younger.
The interesting thing about the Yankees off-season has been that they’ve gone for more trades than free agent signings. Indeed, Johnson is so far the biggest free Agent the Yankees have signed.
Javier Vazquez, The One That Got Away
Once upon a long time ago, Nick Johnson was traded for Javier Vazquez. Home-run-Javy Vazquez was then shipped out to Arizona for the dying embers of Randy Johnson and we all know how that turned out. I think it turned into a clutch of pitchers including Ross Ohlendorf who eventually turned into a package for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. It’s been a long succession of not so great trades, but Marte, we can agree on worked out alright in 2009.
So, it’s a little surprising to see Javier Vazquez re-acquired, 5 years down the track. He’ll fit in as the N. 2 or No.3 or No.4 starter, depending on how you see him amongst Burnett and Pettitte and Joba.
Again, it’s a good move for the pitching side of the ledger. Going the other way to Atlanta is Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino.
The Melkman Departs
I’m disappointed to see the Melkman go. I think he’s still got good to great upside. Consider his comps are Curt Flood and Sexto Lezcano. through Age 24, he’s actually very close to Johnny Damon and even comparable to Bernie Williams. Like I said, I’m not saying he’s going to turn into those players, but the door’s certainly not been totally closed on that potential just yet – he’s still 24. No matter how well Vazquez does this time around, I’m going to be bummed if Melky turns into a 3.0 wins above replacement sort of player. As with Bruney, at least he got a ring before he departed.
The Known Unknowns
I’ve no idea what they intend to do with Xavier Nady or Johnny Damon or Wang, if anything at all. That said, it’s been a very busy and interesting winter so far.
Update: Here’s the RLYW projection o the 2010 roster as it stands. I too love off-seasons like this where the team gets better.