I'm not a huge fan of change when it comes to my Yanks, particularly when the status quo is working just fine and dandy, but it came as no surprise that after winning the World Series in November the Yanks basked in the glory of their 27th championship for about 36 seconds before beginning their quest to improve the team for a bid for #28. While I personally would have been content to watch the exact same team trot back out there in 2010 and try to repeat their successes, I understand the need to capitalize on free agency (by both letting some dead weight go and snapping up some available players from other teams) and lucrative trade offers, and I must say the Yanks have done a bang-up job tweaking the team thus far this off-season. They've steered clear of all the blockbuster-type players many assumed they'd be in the market for (Lackey, Halladay, Holliday, etc), instead focusing their energies on making minor changes that cost relatively little in terms of both money and prospects. Is it possible that the Yankees might make it through an entire off-season without blowing $3028023091283 or shipping off their entire farm for one player? The winter's not over yet, so there may be a big move still up their sleeves, but the 2010 team is shaping up quite nicely without the need for major moves. Let's review what the Yanks have done so far to prepare for 2010:
No hard feelings, Hideki: Despite having a very productive 2009, capped off by an MVP-worthy World Series performance, the Yanks let Matsui walk away rather than re-signing him. I like Matsui and appreciate everything he's done for the Yanks (and I'm sure the Steins appreciated the Japanese advertising yen he brought in), but there was really no need to keep him around at this point. He is not able to play defense anymore and his knee is hanging on by a thread - keeping him around strictly as DH is silly when there are other candidates available who can offer more for a lower price.
...But we'd rather have Nick Johnson: I loved NJ when he was first with the Yanks, and I'm thrilled to have him back. His services won't be needed at first base very often (Teixeira took a grand total of about half an inning off last season), so he's likely to spend just about all of his time in the DH spot, but that is precisely where he should be with his .400+ OBP and potential for a bunch of right-field cheapie homers in the new stadium. I'm not always keen on teams signing someone strictly to be a DH, but the Yanks' infield is set in stone and they've already got a plethora of outfielders, so NJ it is!
You better learn how to dance, Curtis: The Yanks already had about 678 outfielders, but when they agreed to a 7-player three-way trade with the D-Backs and Tigers that landed them centerfielder Curtis Granderson I was excited all the same. He's got speed and power and is a good all-around dude to boot - which, as we saw from Nick Swisher last year, can add a lot to a team. For Cano's sake, though, let's hope he can dance a la Melky...
No mas Melky, bring back Javi: The writing was on the wall for Melky once CG was signed - as mentioned above, how the hell many outfielders does this team really need? Still, seeing him traded to the Braves for Javier Vazquez was bittersweet all the same. Javi is obviously much more valuable to the Yanks than Melky, however, and will hopefully fill out the rotation quite nicely. Whether he can repeat the incredible performance he put together in '09 seems unlikely when you factor in the league change and the park he'll be pitching in, but he's just what the doctor ordered to back up CC, AJ, and...
...Dandy Andy!: Bringing back Pettitte was a no-brainer - he's affordable (relatively) and you know exactly what he'll be bringing to the table.
That just about sums up what's been going on in Yankee-land since November, but I'm sure there's more on the horizon - will Damon settle for a one-year deal eventually after all? Will a reliever of some sort make his way into the Bronx? What's going to happen with Nady? Stay tuned: per my (somewhat late) 2010 resolution, I assure you I shall be here to discuss all the goings on this year!
Labels: free agency/arbitration, roster moves, signings