While waiting for the Yankee-Twin game to resume last night (which obviously didn't end up happening) I caught some highlights from the Cardinals game on MLB Network and it reminded me that the Yankees may or may not have been pursuing Matt Holliday this past offseason. This (a) Made me want to find out how Holliday was doing; (b) Check in on how the other free agents/potential trades the Yankees didn't end up pursuing/guys the Yankees let go of were performing; and (c) See what some of the Yankees' potential targets this coming offseason are up to (I expect they'll be targeting starting pitching, left field and designated hitter, given that Nick Johnson is only signed for one year with a mutual option).
Here are the 2010 season statistics for the major names that the Yankees either didn't re-sign, traded or passed on last offseason. Stats in all of the tables in this blog post are as of today, Wednesday, May 26, and are in descending order by wOBA for hitters and FIP for pitchers. Guys in yellow will be free agents again after the 2010 season.
Looks like a lot of folks were wrong about Vladimir Guerrero being cooked. I don't recommend envisioning his and Johnny Damon's bats in the Yankee lineup right now; it'll only make you sad. Also, Met fans rejoice -- Jason Bay is bringing it despite the lack of power. And the Yanks appear to have made the right call in passing on Hideki Matsui. For comparison's sake I've tossed in Nick the Walk and Brett Gardner. Depending on when Stick returns and if he remembers how to start hitting again, I would imagine those wOBAs will be reversed at the end of the season.
On the pitching side of the ledger, I suppose it's somewhat unfair to include Roy Halladay on this list, but the Yankees were interested. None of the other guys are setting the world on fire, and though Justin Duchscherer has a pleasant ERA, he's injured at the moment. There's no way Ian Kennedy would have a sub-4.00 ERA in the AL East. And though Ben Sheets' FIP may look ugly, guess who has a 4.66 FIP? CC Sabathia. I remain curious to see where Sheets' numbers are at the end of the year and will likely resume the call for the Yanks to sign him if he finishes with reasonable numbers.
The following are players (with their 2010 season stats) that, according to Cot's, will either be free agents after the 2010 season or have an option (denoted by an asterisk), and may be of interest to the Yankees.
I had no idea that Jayson Werth was absolutely raking right now. Werth figures to be a much-talked about name come this offseason, as the Yankees decide whether to hand out a longer-term deal to Carl Crawford (also performing very well) or a shorter deal at perhaps greater annual value to the older Werth. Either way, I have a feeling one of those two will end up patrolling left field for the Yankees in 2011.
If the Yankees decide to let Nick the Stick walk, there will be no shortage of DH types available -- Paul Konerko or Yankeeist favorite Adam Dunn would fit into the Yankee lineup quite nicely. I don't know how many times I can beat the Big Donkey drum, but how could you not love the idea of Dunn probably clubbing 50 home runs what with getting to play 81 home games at Yankee Stadium, and also drawing his customary 100 walks? Dunn is a sabermetrician's wet dream, and it would be a joy to see him installed in the Yankees' patient lineup.
It's pretty incredible that David Ortiz went from "no way the Red Sox pick up his $12.5 million option" and possibly getting outright released to dangerous again in a month. It seemed like a no-brainer for the Sox to cut ties with Ortiz at the end of the season -- though one wonders whether they'd consider bringing him back at a reduced salary -- but if he turns in a .370-plus wOBA, then perhaps Theo Epstein decides to see if Ortiz has one more productive year left in the tank without risking upsetting the big man with a salary reduction.
Boston has historically been very good at knowing when to let its superstars go, although Ortiz may turn out to be a special case. One could probably make an argument for Ortiz being the most important Red Sock of all time -- they very likely do not win the World Series in both 2004 and 2007 without his incredible contributions -- but then again, Bostonians don't seem to have quite the same level of irrational attachment to the superstars as Yankee fans do. If Papi continued to falter and ended the year with a .300 wOBA, I have a feeling everyone in Boston would be ready to see him go. If Derek Jeter somehow ended this season with a pitiful .300 wOBA, you'd still have Yankee fans calling for the team to resign Jeter for $20 million a year.
If Ortiz does hit the market, I wonder if the Yankees would take a gamble on the slugger. It would absolutely kill Red Sox fans to see Ortiz in a New York uniform, and Papi could probably still hit 20 out in new Yankee Stadium. Could you imagine the uproar? I actually don't know if i can envision Ortiz in a Yankee uniform. But if he ends the year raking and Nick the Stick doesn't come back or returns in July/August and remains relatively ineffective, it's actually not that farfetched.
Of the potentially interesting free agent pitchers, only Cliff Lee would be worth throwing large sacks of money at. If the Mariners are unable to trade Lee at the deadline, you have to figure the Yankees will be all over the free agent-to-be, especially as they may have up to two free rotation slots depending on whether Andy Pettitte re-ups for another year and if they decide to resign Javier Vazquez. A Sabathia-Lee-A.J. Burnett front three would be rather insane.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A look at some of the players the Yankees let go of or passed on last winter, and who they might pursue in the 2010-2011 offseason
by Larry Koestler