Aside from the obvious candidates of Curtis Granderson and Austin Jackson, the first person I thought of yesterday upon hearing the Yankees/Tigers/D-Backs swap was a Tigers blogger by the name of Mike Rogers. Mike writes Tigers by the Numbers and hails from Portage, Michigan.
A little while after the trade, I e-mailed Mike and asked him to give me his thoughts on the deal. Here’s what he said:
I didn’t want to respond right away, but it stings. We gave up the best player in the deal.
That said, I do like the package even though I HATE Austin Jackson (completely overrated. By a ton). Scherzer is No. 2 potential with health questions. If he stays healthy, he honestly could make up the value we just traded away nearly by himself. Schlereth can be a dominating reliever (or another dude with control problems that throws hard) and Coke is just expendable.
I’m not a big fan of trading Granderson, but since we did, the package is better than I had thought at first.
I think this is a pretty reasonable response. Mike and I have many times discussed the merits (or lack thereof) of Austin Jackson, so Mike’s reaction to his inclusion is no surprise to me. To read a more in depth account of Mike’s thoughts about the trade, head to this post.
Now we just have to see what comes next for the Yankees. Obviously, priority number one is going to be re-signing Andy Pettitte to close the one hole left in the starting rotation. Next, they could sign a high-risk-high-reward pitcher, such as Ben Sheets or Rich Harden, but I think those two will go where they can get guaranteed starts, which isn’t likely to happen in the Bronx.
There is still a hole at DH right now, and that’s what I’d like to address right now. If trading for Curtis Granderson means the Yankees are done shopping for outfielders, then they need to turn their attention to DHs. Should Granderson be the only OF move the Yankees are going to make this Hot Stove season, that slots Melky Cabrera into left field. While Mekly will likely play strong defense in left field, his bat will certainly be below average for the position. For this reason, it is imperative that the Yankees sign a true DH to make up for the bat of Melky in left.
Hideki Matsui is still my first choice because his bat plays best at DH. There is a slight bit of injury risk involved when taking back Matsui, but we saw this year that if he doesn’t play the field, he’s going to be healthy. He has been remarkably consistent at the plate in his career and, when healthy, is one of the best DHs in baseball.
Next is Johnny Damon. Damon really should be my number one DH choice because he can play the field if needed. However, I think Damon’s a little more banged up than he’s letting on and I think he’s less likely to repeat his year at the plate than Matsui is. Either way, though–Matsui or Damon at DH–I’d be happy.
In the “outside hire” category, I’d start with Nick Johnson. Johnson has supreme on base skills and with his presence in front of them, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez would do even more damage than they normally do. Johnson’s power fell off quite a bit in 2009 (freaky low HR/FB rate) but I’d expect it to rise again in 2009, especially with the short porch in right. The only problem is that Johnson has a sterling defensive reputation and the numbers back it up. Johnson will likely go somewhere to play first base, but perhaps the Yankees can convince one of their former top prospects to come back as a DH.
Choice D, or four–whichever you prefer–would be Jim Thome Though old, Thome’s pretty damn consistent and that short porch has his name written all over it. The same goes for my next choice–a giant long shot candidate–Carlos Delgado. He could likely reproduce what Matsui did last year. However, he’s a bit of an injury risk and, like Thome, ain’t getting any younger (neither is any player, but I digress). After that comes an amalgam of players I’d rather not have, but if they’re all that’s left, I’d consider the possible non-tender candidate Jack Cust along with free agents Vladimir Guerrero and Jermaine Dye. However, I’d rather eat vomit for breakfast than have the latter two on the Yankees. In fact, I think bringing Barry Bonds out of retirement would be a better bet than those two. So, to sum up, this is my DH wishlist: