“I had such confidence in Tino and O’Neill, not because they would bash it out of the park, but because with Jeter on first or second, a line drive into the gap was just as good. It was the doubles and hard-hit balls that got the pitchers worn down, and sparked the offensive rallies. That’s the type of hitter the Yanks should get.”
In my previous post on the Yankees offseason moves for the 2006 lineup, I put together a lineup that the Yankees could do, right now, with no roster changes. My point was that the changes the Yankees are contemplating are not in line with making the roster more like the roster was in 1998. What I did not go into, and instead intend to do here, is to make my annual wish list of moves and players that I want the Yankees to make. Who are the 2006 players “the Yanks should get?” Keep in mind, most of these moves are not even on the radar, however, all players I mention have been mentioned by some rumor or other, though not all with regards to the Yankees.
(In the spirit of disclosure, I recommended signing Pavano and trading for Randy Johnson last year. In retrospect, maybe those wouldn’t have been the best moves. However, I also said the Yankees were giving up on Javier Vazquez waaaay too quickly, as the pitching coaches and “gurus” in the Yankees organization were too quick to jump to the “he can’t pitch in NY” BS conclusion, disregarding some obvious flaws in his mechanics.)
Players I like, and would love if the Yankees had:
1. Lyle Overbay – the Brewers would like to move Overbay, to make room at 1B for Prince Fielder (bet the Brew Crew wishes they still played in the DH friendly AL now, huh?). Overbay is a tall 1B with good hands, a strong lefty stroke, great gap power and an emerging power swing. He’s also 28 and making half a million per year. From his STATS, Inc. scouting report, “Overbay is a first baseman in the tradition of Mark Grace and Sean Casey-not a power hitter, but a man who can hit .305 with 45 doubles, while driving in and scoring 90 runs.” With Jason Giambi in the lineup, do we really need more at 1B? Besides, he’s a lefty fielding 1B, which is really important, which the Yankees seem to ignore until Giambi botches a 3-6-1 or 3-6-3 double play, because he can’t turn.
2. Ramon Hernandez – a free agent, so obviously signable. The Yankees are in desparate need of an upgrade at catcher. Posada is starting to decline. With Rodriguez, Sheffield and Matsui in the lineup, the Yanks don’t need Posada’s hitting. They could use Hernandez’s defense and plus-rated Arm, especially with a bunch of pitchers who don’t hold runners on very well at all (I think Chien-Ming Wang just started a wind-up for a warm-up pitch. Expect the pitch in January). Finally, Hernandez is a line-drive gap hitter, who makes good contact, moves runners well and can lay down a sacrifice bunt, all qualities I’ve already expressed a desire in. (Note: Bengie Molina fits this mold as well, but I think Hernandez is a better baserunner. The Yankees could use a decent baserunner at catcher).
3. Joey Gathright – TB, for some reason, has him on the trading block. His offense may be bad, but speed like that is never a bad thing to have on the roster, even if he’s there to fill the Homer Bush Memorial Pinch Runner to Steal a Base in the Late Innings Role. You know how I feel about role players.
4. Kyle Farnsworth – I have a soft spot for hard throwers. I think, especially for relief pitchers, someone who doesn’t even allow the ball into play is much more valuable. Maybe there’s a guy who’s a great pitcher, but he’s a sinkerballer, who gets ground-ball outs. Someone like that is much more likely to give up a big ground ball base hit with men on base. It’s always good to be able to bring someone in to get a big K. Farnsworth, a Free Agent, averages better than 11K/9 Innings. I like that number. (It’s better than Billy Wagner’s. Not saying that he’s better than Wagner, he’s not. Wagner has much better control and gives up fewer hits, so he has a lower WHIP, which is great. I’m just pointing out that Farnsworth can strike people out. I like that.) I would have liked BJ Ryan (his K’s per 9 is near 13!), but the Blue Jays just grossly overpaid for him, so that’s out.
There’s this year’s wish list. How to get this done? Trade Posada, even if it means packaging $10M for someone to take him. Signing Hernandez is a priority, and moving Posada out of the way is necessary to make room for him. Second, trade Carl Pavano. You leave your starting rotation as Mussina, Johnson, Chacon, Wang and Wright, with Small as the long man. Maybe Pavano is better than Wright, but he’s also making more, for longer and is grumbling about wanting out of New York. Seriously? He is unhappy with New York. For what? Giving him $10M in salary for doing nothing and taking the year off? Really? This upsets him somehow? Shmuck. There are teams that will take him. Call the Brewers, ask them what they want for Overbay, and then package Pavano, Posada, cash and whatever else (except Wang and Cano) to get him. Finally, call up Tampa Bay, and tell them that since they’re a minor league team, the Yankees are calling up Gathright to the big club. Send them Sean Henn, they’d probably want him.
Am I saying the Yankees are guaranteed to win the World Series if they make these moves? No. But at least the team would be more fun to watch, and less frustrating. Let’s stop pining away for the Tino-Brosius-O’Neill Yankees, and start re-creating them.