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August 28, 2008 at 10:22 am ET
17 Comments
What should the Yankees do now?

As far as 2008 is concerned, the New York Yankees have played their last meaningful baseball game. So, what can the Yankees do for the remaining 20-some odd games other than flail around and wait for the wrecking ball to do to this Yankee Stadium what their pitiful play has already done to the 2008 season?

There are a few things I believe the Yankees should do over the final few weeks of the season. Here is a list of 5.

  1. Shut down Joba Chamberlain. It would be nice to know for certain that he is healthy, but there is no reason to risk anything with Chamberlain, the guy they still hope to build this staff around going forward. Nothing can be gained by rehabbing him now and running him out to the mound just to try and get some innings in.
  2. Play Brett Gardner every day. I have no idea if Gardner can hit enough to be a full-time major league center fielder, but the Yankees need to give Gardner an opportunity to show whether or not he has any value — either as a player for 2009 or an off-season trade chip.
  3. Shut down Hideki Matsui. The veteran Japanese slugger has gamely rehabbed his troublesome knee, but — as with Chamberlain — there is no point in continuing to play him now. Let him go have the knee surgery he needs as soon as possible, so he can be ready for 2009. He is a clutch hitter, and the Yankees need his bat.
  4. Get Phil Hughes some big-league starts. The Franchise pitched 6.1 solid innings Wednesday at Scranton, the first good start in his last three. It might not be a bad idea for the Yankees to let Hughes start 2009 at AAA since he has pitched so little the past two seasons. Right now, though, getting him big-league starts in place of Sidney Ponson, Darrell Rasner or Carl Pavano should have some long-term value. The same could be said for Chase Wright or Alfredo Aceves, two other young starters who might at least be able to show scouts some trade value if they can get 3-4 September starts.
  5. Play Johnny Damon at first base. Damon is, obviously, no longer a center fielder. To me, he is barely an adequate big-league outfielder at all. He is, though, still a vital cog in the Yankee offense. Jason Giambi is probably gone next season, and it remains to be seen if Mark Teixiera will be a Yankee. Why not let Damon play first base for a few weeks and see if it is a position where he could help the Yankees next season?

I know all of this makes the Yankees seem like a $200 million version of the Washington Nationals. But, the reality is, that is what they are. Just another team going nowhere in 2008 that needs to spend the next few weeks finding out what they can about how they will be constructed in 2009.

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17 Responses to “What should the Yankees do now?”
  1. Dirty Water says:

    What should the Yankees do now?

    That’s an easy one. What the Yankees should do now is pull up their panties for 6 remaining games with the Rays; don’t lay down, dogs. Respect history. Respect the rivalry. Respect yar authoritaa!

  2. FrankDiscussion says:

    #1. Fire Brian Cashman.

    I agree with all of your points, Ed, with the exception of Damon. I’d prefer to trade him this off-season while his value is high. He’s had a great year, but I’d prefer a dedicated first basemen, rather then this reliance on stop-gap measures that hasn’t worked out. Just give me someone who bats for average and wields a solid glove. No on Teixiera, if you’re spending that kind of $$$ it needs to be invested in pitching. The team needs a back-up plan in case CC decides to head to the West Coast.

    Shut down Joba and bring up Phil, agreed. I’d like to see what he can do without the pressure of a pennant race hanging over him. Not to mention that a few solid starts could bump up his trade value, as he is hardly what I would deem as being “untouchable”. Shut down Matsui, IMO he should be the DH for next season. Giambi needs to start packing his bags. He can live out his remaining twilight years back in Oakland.

    There is plenty of potential for next year and beyond, if radical changes are made. The dynasty teams were built around pitching, IMO the team needs to return to that formula. The team just can’t afford starters who can’t make it out of the fifth inning. Personally I’d offer Mussina another year and let Pettitte walk. Joba and Wang will be solid, but there are still holes to fill. The AL East is only getting tougher, Tampa Bay isn’t going away, Baltimore is slowly but surely getting it’s act together, the Yankees can’t continually be playing catch-up. Cashman simply isn’t cut out to make the changes that need to be made.

  3. Ed Valentine says:

    Frank, the thing about Damon is even if you want to trade him I don’t see first base as a bad idea. If he shows he can play it, that might increase his value — particularly to teams in the National League. As for Teixiera, I’m with you. I want pitching, pitching, pitching. He’d be nice, but not totally necessary.

  4. Brett says:

    Yankees should make Milwaukee an offer for Prince Fielder. He’s under contract ’til 2010 and is cheap. spend the rest on pitching, pitching & more pitching. Hell, grab Prince & CC in a huge sign & trade deal. A workhorse pitcher in his prime and a power-hitting 1B you can pencil in to the middle of your lineup for the next decade? If that’s not worth giving up some players/prospects, I don’t know what is.

  5. FrankDiscussion says:

    Good point about Damon, hadn’t thought of that. Regards Teixiera, he’s the kind of position player I’d like to see the Yankees stay away from, big bloated contract and declining numbers. Plus it involves dealing with Boras…

  6. Ed Valentine says:

    Brett, Fielder is a great idea. I have no idea, though, if the Brewers would actually be willing to move him. It can’t hurt to ask, though.

  7. Brett says:

    Ed, Scott Boras is Fielders agent and Brewers management has been loathe to deal w/ him. In fact, the GM & owner have both said Boras’ representation of their prize prospect Matt LaPorta (dealt to the tribe for Sabathia) played a large part in the CC deal. They simply want nothing to do w/ him, won’t let him drive up their team salary beyond what they find reasonable and as a result, Boras and by extension all of his clients are persona non grata. Mat Gamel in AA Huntstville could start at 1b for the Brewers as soon as next summer or even spring if he has a good camp. They feel that good about Gamel & think he’s ready to tackle MLB pitching, so I think Fielder is there for the taking if the right team makes them a good offer. A stud like that isn’t going for 50 cents on the dollar of course, (Bud Selig is no longer mismanaging Milwaukee) but he can be had and quite affordably, considering the Yanks will have to shell out for some top-flight pitching this off season. IIRC, the Prince is under contract for only $600-800k through 2010. I would love to see him batting 4th behind Rodriguez. Can you imagine? That would be positively frightening for the AL East to deal with.

  8. Ed Valentine says:

    Brett, that’s really good info. Thanks! It is an intriguing possibility to think about.

  9. Brett says:

    You’re welcome, Ed. Probably nothing will come of it, but fun food for thought. It would certainly make a killer heart of the lineup though… someone should whisper in Cashman’s ear.

  10. Ed Valentine says:

    Somebody who has a clue about pitching needs to SHOUT in Cashman’s ear!

  11. Jason says:

    Good stuff, Ed (and others!).

    With SD seemingly looking to pare payroll, what about offering Melky, Cano and Hughes/Kennedy for Peavy?

    Peavy’s under contract: 3 years/$52M (2010-2012), plus 2013 club option (10:$15M, 11:$16M, 12:$17M, 13: $22M club option ($4M buyout)).

    Cano’s contract: 4 years/$30M (2008-11), plus 2012-13 club options (08:$3M, 09:$6M, 10:$9M, 11:$10M, 12:$14M club option ($2M buyout), 13:$15M club option ($2M buyout)).

    Far-fetched? Too early to bail on Hughes? Do we have a replacement at 2B (sign Orlando Hudson, maybe)? Not enough of a salary drop with Cano?

    Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

  12. Jason says:

    Forgot Peavy’s 2009 contract details: 09:$8M

  13. Ed Valentine says:

    I would do that, or something similar, to be honest. I want to delve into next year’s roster later, but right now I see only 4 definites in the lineup — A-Rod, Jeter, Nady and Posada (assuming he is ready to go). As for the rotation, it’s Joba, Wang and who knows. Though I think Pettitte and Moose will probably be back. So, to me, if you can get a stud like Peavy for Hughes I think you do it.

  14. Dirty Water says:

    Maybe I mis-read but did someone actually opine that selling Judas today would be selling him at his peak?

    Besides the fact that he was already sold at his peak (ya know it), he’s no longer functional in the OF and has zero experience at whatever other position he could be placed. As a batter, it’s hard to determine where in the lineup he belongs: Maybe leading off but he’s not getting any younger (35), and the more he runs the more susceptable to injury he is (2008 is his 4th straight year of regressing AB’s). I wouldn’t acquire him for that. Maybe at the 2 hole but not only can’t he bunt worth shit but I also just can’t see such a pedestrian role working for him. Forget about 3, 4, 5 or 6 because he doesn’t have any power.

    I think is basketball terms they call a guy like Damon a ‘tweener’. In other words, he doesn’t fit anywhere very well but he’s a pretty decent player. But is he that good? no, he isn’t (his 3 years in a most excellent home-park for his stroke will net maybe a 110 OPS+). He was one of the best leadoff guys in baseball, but if he can’t fucntion there anymore I doubt he has much value.

    His contract for 2009 calls for $13m. I say he’s not going anywhere unless the Skanks are eating it, and with so many other problems to ‘eat’ I doubt Judas is even being disccussed.

    He stays (ha-ha, Judas. Ya screwed up).

  15. FrankDiscussion says:

    Dirty,

    I said the Yankees should sell high with Damon, for the very reasons you mentioned, not a solid outfielder and the last thing the Yankees need next season is another injury plagued DH. Shop him around, there might be some interest.

    Hey, a guy can be optimistic, can’t he ?

  16. Dirty Water says:

    Yeah, I know where you’re dreaming from but my question is who would take him? Considering his age and lack of position he’s probably worth half of what NY is paying him, and it’s not as if NY could acquire a better guy, considering their indigestion after eating his contract.

    Guessing…

    Damon (LF)
    Jeter
    A-rod
    Teix (1st)
    Posada (C/DH)
    Nady (RF)
    Cano
    Molina (C)/Miranda/Duncan (DH/B)
    Gardner/Melky (CF/B)

    They will not sign CC nor any other big-name starter unless Cashboy signs on as a high school AD, and if he does all bets are off.

    Matsui to Seattle
    Abreu to the Mets
    Giambi to hell

  17. Mattchu! says:

    Personally, I see the following as the plans:

    1. Keep Going For A Playoff Spot, But Be Smart About It.

    By this, I mean, look at the standings, we aren’t out just yet. Our chances are horrible, we’d have to beat down the Twins and the Red Sox in the Wild Card, but it can be done. We just need to get going. But we need to call up Phil Hughes, give him some starts in the big leagues. He’s bound to give you more than Ponson, Rasner, or Pavano will give you. Who knows? Maybe Hughes rips off a huge comeback that has us all bragging about in the offseason while the Mets miss the playoffs even with Santana.

    2. Sign Pitching, Pitching, Pitching, and Nomar.

    First off, you let Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Carl Pavano, of course Kyle Farnsworth and Latroy Hawkins walk off the books. Whatever CC Sabathia asks for, you give it to him. I don’t care if he wants to set a new record to a pitcher, you give him every penny he asks for. Sign both Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina to one year deals.

    That gives you Wang-Sabathia-Joba-Pettitte-Moose-Hughes right there. I feel pretty darn good about that rotation. That front three is as good as any in baseball, and I’m a big believer in Phil Hughes, so who knows, four Aces on one pitching staff makes me all happy inside.

    Then you sign Nomar Garciaparra. I know what you’re thinking: Nomar? As in, always injured Nomar? Yep, thats who I’m talking about. This guy plays all over the field, and if going to give us the exact bench player we’ve needed over the last few years. 3B, SS, 2B, 1B. He plays them all, and he plays them quite well. He is also very clutch, and I find him very valuable.

    3. Move Johnny Damon To First Base.

    The guy wants to play everyday, and he has proven his bat still produces. He has no place in the outfield, therefore, he belongs at first base, where his quick feet will turn him into a very good defensive first baseman. I really like the idea of him playing there full-time.

    4. Trade Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson, and two additional plus prospects to the Indians for Grady Sizemore.

    I know what you’re thinking. Grady Sizemore? But it could be done. Look at the Nick Swisher trade during last offseason my friends, same thing here. The Indians need to rebuild, and I’m looking at a very negative report about their farm system. Get that young star position player for some of these young arms that we’ve got, because we don’t have very good position players outside Jesus Montero.

    Then we end up with this roster for 2009:

    1B – Damon
    SS – Jeter
    CF – Sizemore
    3B – Rodriguez
    DH – Matsui
    C – Posada
    LF – Nady
    2B – Cano
    RF – Cabrera

    Bench – Nomar (INF), Molina (C), Christian (OF), and some other veteran or Juan Miranda (1B).

    Rotation – Wang, Sabathia, Joba, Pettitte, Mussina, Hughes. Six man rotation is the way to go in my mind in order to keep everybody fresh and get everybody in there. Then again, Hughes has the option of starting the season out at AAA, but I like the six-man rotation idea better.

    Bullpen – Rivera, Ramirez, Robertson, Veras, and Bruney. To me, that is a pretty good bullpen, but I’d look into Huston Street if I was Brian Cashman. That guy is a very good closer, and the Athletics would love to trade him away in part of their rebuilding movement.

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