Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Two Obvious, One Not So Obvious

Ah yes, the much maligned free agent market. Everyone who follows baseball knows who the big name free agents are, and most have an opinion on who their favorite team needs to sign in order to contend.

The good news about being a Yankee fan is that they're not bashful about diving head first into the cream of the crop. And this year there are two names that stand out above all others -- Sabathia and Teixeira. Call it the perfect storm, but the Yankees have a lot of money coming off the payroll, have a need at 1B and for pitching, and the two premiere free agents are of a quality and age not often seen on the open market.

Anything less than both Sabathia and Teixeira in pinstripes next year will be a huge failure on the part of Brian Cashman. Forget the dollars, forget the ribbing you take as a Yankee fan for buying the next championship, forget all of it -- both of these guys are must gets. Sabathia immediately moves to the top of the rotation, and when combined with Wang and Joba, forms a very nice top 3 for the next 5-7 years.

And Teixeira? All he did this year was post a BRAA of 54 and a FRAA of 9. Giambi, who I would advocate keeping if not for Matsui's lock on DH in 2009, posted a BRAA of 27 and a FRAA of -10. Roughly, that means Teixeira is worth somewhere in the vicinity of 4-5 wins over Giambi, and given the difference in their ages, is a gap that will only widen going forward. Another 5 wins this year and that end of year series against Boston has a whole lot more meaning.

The less obvious signing is Mark Ellis. With the Cano trade to Arizona, the Yankees have a hole at 2B and most would assume the Yankees would pursue Orlando Hudson. While I don't have anything against Hudson, I look at Ellis as one of those ballplayers who does all the quiet/little things to help a team win -- he plays defense, he gets on base, and his offensive numbers have been masked to a large degree by playing in that cavernous ballpark in Oakland. Also, Ellis is looking like a type B free agent and Hudson an A, and assuming the usual number of free agents declare, the most type A free agents the Yankees could sign would be three. I'd like to save that third type A for later.

So, assuming Cashman earns his money and completes the above, where do we stand on the 2009 roster?

C: Posada
1B: Teixeira
2B: Ellis
3B: Arod
SS: Jeter
LF: Damon
CF: Young
RF: Nady
DH: Matsui

Bench: Molina, Duncan, Betemit, Gardner

SP1: Sabathia
SP2: Wang
SP3: Joba
SP4: Hughes
SP5: Aceves

Bullpen: Britton, Coke, Albaladejo, Bruney, Veras, Ramirez, Rivera

2009 is starting to take shape ...

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