It’s actually not all that windy in Chicago. Right now, the weather’s nice and I’m just settling into the hotel, listening to some Bob Schneider and reading through the comments from the previous post. Good to see folks are ready to jump into the hot stove season.
My two cents on two of the topics you’ve been discussing…
Top moment of the year? Alex Rodriguez coming off the disabled list with a home run stands out to me. It was a moment that held up through the year; the relaxed and productive A-Rod. I think the Yankees wanted and needed Rodriguez back in the lineup. They were below .500 at that point.
From the playoffs, I think I’ll always remember Johnny Damon sprinting for third base. A lot of baseball games and baseball plays bleed together, but that was something new. I’d never seen it, anyway. A great heads-up play in a huge, critical moment. Maybe not the most important play of the postseason, but I really good one that gave the Yankees a win. Also, I think A.J. Burnett’s performance in Game 2 of the World Series was huge. I think that’s a bigger game than Game 5. Yankees lose Game 5 — which they did, obviously — and they’re still going home with two chances to clinch. Lose Game 2, they’re going to Philly down 0-2. Burnett was incredible that day. That’s another that stands out to me.
As for trade possibilities, I’m not sure about the idea of trading Robinson Cano. That’s an awfully good bat at second base, and while the Yankees have plenty of in-house utility options, I’m not positive they have a guy who can step in and start right now. I’m really high on Kevin Russo and everyone loves Ramiro Pena’s glove, but I don’t see the Yankees handing either of them — or a guy like Jerry Hairston — the starting job at second base. Cano might frustrate fans because he doesn’t appear to be passionate — I don’t know whether he is or isn’t — but he’s a very good hitter at a position where very few good hitters exist.
Felix Hernandez is worth salivating over. Rafael Chaves was Hernandez’s pitching coach his first two full seasons in the big leagues, and when Chaves coached in Scranton, he said Hernandez is everything – and will be everything – he’s cracked up to be. Hernandez is 23 years old and he’s already one of the best pitchers in baseball, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a better trade target. But it’s going to take a ton to get him, and if I were the Mariners, there’s no chance I’d move him. I’m not sure anyone can match his combination of youth, talent and proven success. As for trading Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, it’s impossible to rule it out and in certain situations it might make sense, but my concern would be that their current trade value might be a little lower than their long-term value to the Yankees. I really believe in both of them, and while you wouldn’t be trading them for pennies on the dollar, you might be moving them for 90 cents on the dollar.