Baseball season is over. Sure, the World Series just started, but it doesn’t hold any water for me. Instead, I’m much more
concerned with what my beloved Yankees are going to have to do to remain competitive in the coming years.
The Yankees’ loss in the ALCS really pointed out some glaring holes in the dugout, on the field and in the batter’s box and it’s unfortunate that the team with the highest payroll in baseball can somehow not always be playing the game at the
highest level. Here are the Bombers’ priorities for the offseason:
1. Resign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera
Yes, the team is getting old, but these are two of the most elite players you’ll ever find at their positions. More importantly, no one has been groomed to take over for them yet. You don’t let Mo go if he wants to keep playing. His numbers have been outstanding and he is consistently among the best closers in baseball year in and year out. Jeter’s case is a bit trickier. He just came off the worst year of his career and as much as it pains me to say it, he has lost a step in the field. Even still, this signing is part fan service, part duty to a franchise player and part a whole lotta hoping that at least his bat bounces back to Jeterian levels.
2. Resign Joe Girardi
He made some bonehead moves in the postseason. His bullpen management was horrendous. But he’s not a bad manager. The former Manager of the Year has won a World Series in just a three-year stint in the dugout for the Yanks. The solution to ensuring that he manages as well as possible is making sure that he is surrounded by a premier coaching crew and not just premier players. Thankfully, the Yankees have taken a step in the right direction by firing pitching coach Dave Eiland.
3. Resign Kerry Wood
Before the All Star break, it was obvious that the Bombers needed a steady set-up man and the acquisition of Kerry Wood was absolutely stellar. He pitched to a sub-2.00 ERA after the trade and was extremely consistent in the postseason. We must hold onto this guy whatever the cost. Unfortunately, his option probably won’t be exercised because $11.25 million is a pretty high price tag for a setup man and Wood wants to close. Keeping him away from other clubs is going to take a proverbial miracle if he hits the open market.
4. Sign Cliff Lee
You can’t have Sabathia going out there every other game. It almost seemed like that would be a reality in the playoffs which is interesting considering he wasn’t even all that effective in the ALCS. Cliff Lee is a force that has been completely unmatched during postseason play over the past couple of seasons. Added to a rotation of Sabathia, Hughes, Pettitte (possibly) and maybe rookie Ivan Nova, I like our chances when they’re hot. Sure, we’ll probably pay too much for a pitcher that’s “too old” but I don’t think anyone can argue that he wouldn’t be an asset for at least a few years.
5. Sign Carl Crawford
This may seem surprising considering that the Yankees’ outfield pretty much looks like a lock, but bear with me. I love Brett Gardiner. I think he’s the type of player that the Yanks need. But he is not perfect. The guy can’t bunt. He still hasn’t hit for .300 and his OBP is not great for the type of player he seems like he is/could be. He is a placeholder and a possible fourth outfielder at best. Enter the solution: Carl Crawford. A proven threat on the basepaths, a good fielder and definite lead-off hitter, Crawford would push Jeter back into the two hole where he belongs and if he doesn’t score 150 runs hitting in front of A-Rod, Tex and Cano, I’d be surprised.
6. Be Realistic About Jorge Posada
The man just can’t catch anymore. He is our DH whether he likes it or not. It’s time to get Austin Romine or Jesus Montero behind the plate. They may be a little wet behind the ears, but it’s time. Cervelli is an effective backup but the lineup misses Posada’s bat whenever he’s not in it. If either of the rookies live up to their potential and Posada gets hot in the DH slot, the offense will be even more deadly.