This is one of a series of posts in which we verbally disembowel those teams that wandered witlessly through the winter while piling praise on those that engineered enviable engagements with the players of their choosing.
What’s interesting to me about New York’s winter is that they actually made a major trade. (What, you mean it’s not only for poor teams?!) That would be the Curtis Granderson deal that sent Granderson from Detroit to New York and cost the Yankees Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy. Arizona made it a three-way by shipping Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to Detroit, accepting Kennedy’s services, and taking Detroit player Edwin Jackson. I’m sure this makes sense — AZ needed some starting pitching — but when I look at this deal, I see that the Tigers shed payroll and picked up some great prospects, that the Yankees got a great centerfielder who addresses their need to get younger and better in the outfield, and that the Diamondbacks…well…um…yeah. But that’s always the awkwardness with three-ways, isn’t it? There’s always one party who just is kinda there, like, yeah, this is cool…so…um…I guess I’ll just….well, you guys don’t mind if I watch TV do you?
But moving on.
The Yankees also picked up Nick Johnson, he of the .402 lifetime OBP, to a nice one-year deal, and retained Andy Pettitte for another year as well. The other move of note — another trade — was their swapping of Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. Despite Javy’s giving up two homers to Johnny Damon in the 2004 ALCS, this is obviously a good move for NY; they had made Melky expendable with the Curtis Granderson deal, and needed to shore up their starting rotation. (Speaking of which, it’s hard to say what will happen in the apparently endless Joba Chamberlain starting rotation-or-bullpen drama. I am at the point where I just don’t believe anything anyone writes about which role he will play.)
The outfield maneuvers continued with the Yanks bidding adieu to the aforementioned Damon and, in a move that surprised some fans, Hideki Matsui. Matsui, after all, had just been declared the 2009 World Series MVP. However, Godzilla’s legs have become depressingly decrepit, and, perhaps keeping a weather eye on their neighbors to the north, the Red Sox, who resigned their gimpy-legged World Series MVP Mike Lowell only to watch him become increasingly immobile, the Yankees decided to pass. The result is a starting lineup that does seem to include Brett Gardner. The 26-year-old has speed and a good glove, but his offense has never satisfied the finicky palate of New Yorkers. That’s okay, though, because the Yankees will still almost certainly score the most runs in the AL East, if not in baseball.
Notable Acquisitions: Javier Vazquez, Randy Winn, Nick Johnson, Curtis Granderson
Notable Losses: Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Chien Ming Wang, Austin Jackson, Brian Bruney, Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, Xavier Nady, Shelley Duncan, Jose Molina
Projected Rotation, Closer, and Lineup:
SP1: CC Sabathia
SP2: AJ Burnett
SP3: Javier Vazquez
SP4: Andy Pettitte
SP5: Phil Hughes/Joba Chamberlain
CL: Mariano Rivera
C: Jorge Posada
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Robinson Cano
3B: Alex Rodriguez
SS: Derek Jeter
LF: Brett Gardner
CF: Curtis Granderson
RF: Nick Swisher
DH: Nick Johnson
Grade: A- There’s nothing to not like, if you follow me, about New York’s offseason. My one concern is that their core of players is getting a little long in the tooth. But on the other hand, I’ve been saying that now for years and Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, and Andy Pettitte just keep getting it done. As a Sox fan, don’t hate me for confessing that I’m secretly praying for all these guys to hit the age-wall at once. Preferably right around August 1.