George A. King III wrote a story on all the buzz surrounding the Yankees this offseason at the Winter Meetings early this morning. And he’s very correct. He listed several hypothetical questions that needed answering, so I decided to weigh in.
Are they getting Roy Halladay?
I say yes. There’s a reason why every non-Yankee fan in baseball calls the Yanks the evil empire. I think the Yankees would be stupid to miss another opportunity at acquiring one of the game’s best pitchers (see Johan Santana two years ago). The best part of a trade for Halladay? His one year remaining on his contract allows the Yankees to be compensated with two draft picks next year if they let him go. The Yankees have a deep farm system filled with plenty of chips the Blue Jays are interested in. It’s time to spill the beans for a true ace.
What about John Lackey?
I hope not. Lackey is a good pitcher that looks great in a terrible market. He will get A.J. Burnett money when he is really worth Andy Pettitte money ($10MM). I doubt the Yankees will want to give Lackey that type of money, especially if they re-sign Pettitte and really are cutting their payroll, which leads us into our next question…
Are they really cutting payroll?
Maybe a little, at most. The Yankees said they were going to try and cut payroll last year too. And then they signed Mark Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million deal. I’m not worried about the Yankees’ willingness to drop a couple extra dimes if it could win them No. 28.
Would they trade Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain?
They should trade Chamberlain, not Hughes. I don’t believe Chamberlain has a future in the rotation, which lowers his value in my eyes tremendously. He could possibly become a good closer one day, but in my mind, that’s worth giving up for one year of Halladay.
Hughes showed he could dominate the bullpen despite throwing below 95 MPH. I think with his pitching repertoire, he has a chance to become a solid starter in the show. Give him a couple more years in the rotation and you might see his name checked off on some writers’ Cy Young Award ballots.
Are they going to start Hughes and Chamberlain?
Assuming they keep both, which I think is unlikely, I’d say to start Hughes and make Chamberlain the setup man. I’ve had enough of the wild Chamberlain starting the game on the hill. I’m interested to see if he can regain all of his velocity back to where it was in 2007, around 100 MPH.
Plus, I believe the Yankees will re-sign Pettitte and probably sign a guy like Jon Garland, Pedro Martinez or Aroldis Chapman. This way, the Yankees won’t have to completely rely on two young guys out of the rotation. And let’s face it, without Pettitte, the Yankees are looking at Chad Gaudin as their No. 5.
If they go into the rotation, are they interested in Rafael Soriano?
I’m sure they are, but I don’t think they’ll get him. I think relievers like Soriano are a waste of money. He’s not an elite closer, but he’s demanding a closer-type contract after a great year. He’s no sure thing to be as good as he was last year in a much-tougher AL East.
One of the Yankees’ biggest strengths of 2009 was their bullpen. Nearly all of it was homegrown with the exception of Damaso Marte and Brian Bruney.
What are they doing about Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui?
I predict Damon will be re-signed and Matsui will be let go. Damon’s bat would not be easy to replace, especially now that Chone Figgins and Mike Cameron are probably off the market.
However, Matsui’s bat would be equally as hard to replace, and the more I think about it, the more I want the Yankees to keep Matsui at a low price for 2010. He should take less money because of the condition of his legs. I don’t even know if he could pass a physical this offseason.
And King even forgot a couple of questions: Will Pettitte be re-signed? Who’s starting center field in 2010? What’s Austin Jackson’s role for 2010? What about Aroldis Chapman? Feel free to discuss any question in the comments, tweet me, or e-mail me.