OK, here is where the Yankees stand as of right now:
1B: Nick Swisher
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Alex Rodriguez
LF: Johnny Damon
CF: Brett Gardner/Melky Cabrera
RF: Xavier Nady
C: Jorge Posdada
DH: Hideki Matsui
Bench: Jose Molina, Cody Ransom, Cabrera or Gardner.
Rotation: Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain.
Rotation candidates: Alfredo Aceves, Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes.
Bullpen: Mariano Rivera, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Phil Coke, Jose Veras and a cast of thousands.
Glaring needs: Three starters.
Secondary needs: A bat. Could be a first baseman, could be a center fielder. Could hit third, fifth or even sixth.
Fix it in January: The bench needs another warm body or two.
Easy fix: Sign CC Sabathia (ginormous deal), Sign Derek Lowe or A.J. Burnett (four years, $60 million) and Andy Pettitte (one year, $11 million). Sign somebody to play off the bench, say Rich Aurilia. There’s your team, ready to go.
What fans want: Sign Sabathia, Pettitte, another pitcher and 1B Mark Teixeira. It’s not their money. Be advised that it’s not happening.
Ways to be creative: See what a package of young pitchers (Kennedy, Bruney and a prospect) could bring back in terms of a hitter. Mike Cameron? … Let Pettitte walk and sign a free-agent starter on the cheap, somebody like Brad Penny. … See what Johnny Damon and a pitching prospect might bring back from a contender.
A few parting thoughts: I don’t believe Matsui has much trade value based on his having had two knee surgeries over a span of 10 months. You would be restricted to the AL and he has no-trade rights along with a hefty ($13 million) deal. … Sure, Ben Sheets looks good. But are you you ready to spend eight months waiting for him to clutch his elbow? … I am of the belief that trading Phil Hughes, Austin Jackson or Mark Melancon would be organizational suicide. At some point you have to give guys a chance. … How much money have you lost from your investments since Sept. 1? Now consider what the Steinbrenner family has probably lost in that time. They have a new stadium and a ton of seats sold for 2009 already. Now is probably not the time to spend wildly. George Steinbrenner spent money wildly for years trying to cement his legacy. Hal Steinbrenner is 39. He has decades to make his mark. Their decision to not offer Bobby Abreu arbitration was a signal that they’re not going to approach $200 million again. We are probably talking $180 million.