Sunday, October 21, 2012

The To-Do List

The Yankees have a long laundry list of things that they need to address in the off-season, beginning with their everyday players. Nick Swisher will surely be gone after some team offers him a ridiculous contract that the Yankees will not be willing to match. This leaves a hole in right field. They have internal options in Chris Dickerson and Eduardo Nunez, who would have to learn the position. However, they also have another free agent coming off the books who will probably be a Yankee in 2013. Ichiro Suzuki should re-sign with the Yankees on a deal of two years at most. He is clearly not the player he once was but showed signs of the superstar who began his career at the Major League level in Seattle. Assuming Brett Gardner is not traded, he should be the Yankees everyday left fielder. Curtis Granderson's 2013 option worth $15 million has been picked up by the Yankees so unless he is included in some package for an outfielder, Granderson should be patrolling center field at Yankee Stadium for a third straight season. My ideal outfield for next season would start with Brett Gardner playing a sprakling left field. Curtis Granderson would obviously be the center fielder assuming he does not get traded. If Granderson is traded in the off-season, Brett Gardner deserves the center field job. Ichiro will round out the outfield assuming the Yankees retain him in free agency.

Mark Teixeira is a lock at first base, as is Robinson Cano at second. Cano is an interesting story as he has one option year remaining on his contract before he hits free agency for the first time in his career. The Yankees need to make him an offer this winter before he comes to free agency next October and yields enormous contract offers from other teams. Cano deserves to be the highest paid hitter on the Yankees but the number of years that he wants, which is rumored to be at ten, could put up a stop sign for the Yankees. They have already gotten burned on a ten year deal that they will net get out of for another five years in Alex Rodriguez. This brings me to the controversial Yankees third baseman. A-Rod is owed approximately $115 million through the next five years. After the way the Yankees treated him in the postseason, they should do everything they can to find a team interested in Rodriguez and his contract. Derek Jeter should be ready for opening day after undergoing ankle surgery late last week.

Next, the Yankees have to move over to their pitching situation, which is in more flux than their position player scenario. Beginning with Andy Pettitte, the Yankees have to see if the lefty is ready for another year in the big leauges at age 40. He will definitely be a one year commitment so the Yankees will not have to worry about him asking for a multi-year deal. Hiroki Kuroda is similar to Andy. He likes one year contracts and will play on them going forward. He was tremendous for the Yankees this season after coming in from the Dodgers. Next, Michael Pineda has not thrown a pitch for the Yankees after he was obtained from the Mariners for Jesus Montero before the season began. Assuming he is healthy, Pineda could be huge for the Yankees moving forward. He is cheap and young, a direction the Yankees need to go in moving forward. If his velocity is back to what it was when he pitched for the Mariners, the Yankees have a special picher on their hands. Moving forward, Ivan Nova and David Phelps are very formidable options as a sixth starter assuming the rotation consists of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Michael Pineda.

Lastly, the Yankees will face the risk of signing Mariano Rivera after the closer suffered a season ending injury in Kansas City in May. The Yankees don't know what they are getting from Rivera. He is one year older and less than one year removed from major leg surgery. Rafael Soriano will opt out of his contract in pursuit of a multi-year offer from a team in need of a closer.

So, the Yankees have a busy off-season ahead of them. I don't expect wholesale changes, but expect the Bombers to make a couple of key moves in order to improve the club for 2013 and beyond.

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