Being the diehard armchair Yankee fan that I am, I had early devised a solid plan of how to deal with this offseason. However, that plan was centered around the assumption that they would reach a contract extension with Alex Rodriguez. Again he was due $81M over the next three year, but he was able to opt out of his contract within 10 days of the end of the world series this year. Its been rumored the Yanks were going to offer him a 5 year $150M extension, meaning he would basically have had an 8 year $231M contract. That’s by far the largest in baseball, the next closest would be Alfonso Soriano’s 8 year $136M he signed with the Cubs before last year. Instead it is rumored his agent was demanding they start talks at an extension of 10 years $350M, and since they wouldnt agree to start with that insane figure, ARod and his agent wouldnt even sit down and meet with the team. He opted out of his contract becoming a free agent, and some of the management have sworn they will never sign him to any amount of money. He is gone. In the words of Seth Meyers from last week’s SNL Weekend Update, “Alex Rodriguez opted out of his contract, which is perfect for teams with lots of cash to spend who dont like winning”. Before moving onto my NEW plan for the offseason, I must sum up the four years known as the ARod Era: 04 – Biggest collapse in sports history, 05 – lost in first round due mostly to ARod’s 1-12 including hitting into a doubleplay in the 9th inning of game 5, 06 – lost in the first round and ARod again with a 1-12 performance, 07 – lost in first round and ARod busted out of his postseason struggles with a 3-12 performance. In the 4 years before ARod arrived they went to the World Series 3 times and won one of those.
My NEW plan for the offseason:
-Trade Johnny Damon and cash to the White Sox for 3B Joe Crede, Crede fills the void at 3B with his superb defense, the White Sox need an OFer and Damon is a much cheaper option than signing the soon to be waayyy overpaid Andruw Jones or Torii Hunter, this deal was already rumored to be in the works by multiple sports websites.
-Trade Melky Cabrera, Wilson Betemit, Shelley Duncan, and Ian Kennedy to the Twins for Johan Santana, the Yankees need an ace right now and could lock up Santana to a longterm extension that the Twins cant; meanwhile the Twins need a young cheap CFer to replace Torii Hunter (Melky), a young cheap 3B to replace the horrible Nick Punto (Betemit), anyone who could DH and give them 25 HRs as they were DHing their backup catcher last season (Shelley), and Kennedy could immediately be placed into their rotation. This deal was thought of already in an article on hardballtimes website but I upped the offer slighty by inserting a better pitcher into the trade to make it more realistic.
-Continue to go with the Andy Phillips/Jason Giambi platoon at 1B, because rather than make a move for a 1B this offseason they should just wait til next offseason when Giambi and his $22M salary is finally off the books and they can sign Mark Teixeria.
-Resign Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and whichever Molina brother they had last year.
-Don’t trade Kyle Farnsworth, despite how awful he has been in his two years with the team, he is in a contract year, so might as well keep him and watch him pitch out of his mind so he can rope another team into wasting a lot of money on him next offseason.
-Turn the rest of the openings in the bullpen over to the youngsters, as signing relievers is one of the biggest crapshoots in all of sports, so you might as well go with young players that can be sent to the minors if they struggle; if you sign or trade for a reliever and he struggles you are stuck with him for at least a couple years and have to keep running him out there because he is occupying a spot on the roster.
-Hope Andy Pettitte decides to pitch for one more year rather than retire, which would (possibly) lead to this rotation – Santana, Pettitte, Wang, Hughes, and Mussina, with Joba taking over for Mussina a couple months into the season just to keep Joba fresh for August and September.
-Sign Fukodome, he’s the free agent Japanese CFer that will be a lot cheaper and not sign as longterm of a contract as Andruw Jones or Torii Hunter or Aaron Rowand; he would replace Melky in CF.
-Sign the OFer that just defected from Cuba, I think his name is Alexei Ramirez or maybe I am just making up a name that sounds Cuban to me, anyways the guy who defected – sign him. He would split time in LF with Matsui, as Matsui needs to DH part time this year (he’s had his knee scoped twice in the last two months and wasnt exactly mobile before these knee problems) and this Cuban fellow would be the 4th OFer but probably end up starting a majority of games in LF.
If somehow all these moves were made, I would personally guarantee at least 100 wins. However, these probably wont all be made. The Twins could ask for more for Santana, the Yanks interest in the Japanese and Cuban OFers might not be as high as mine, and they might very well panic about losing ARod and go overpay Andruw Jones, even though he is a horrible fit for this lineup with his low on base percentage and high strikeout rate.