Just a few random thoughts on the morning after baseball’s Winter Meetings…
• The criticism about the Yankees not spending money is understandable — and fair, I think, in at least the case of letting Russell Martin leave on a not-so-overwhelming contract — but isn’t reactionary spending a big part of what created this mess in the first place? Don’t the Yankees have to change their approach at least a little bit? I’m not sure anything completely irreplaceable has come off the market at a reasonable rate, but I’m also not sure the Yankees are in a position to actually sign or trade for the alternatives that are out there. We know what they’re not going to do with the lineup. Still waiting to see what they are going to do.
• One year, $2.25 million didn’t seem like too much to give up for Nate Schierholtz, but there does seem to be a pretty large group of left-handed corner outfielders on the market. There are platoon options out there.
• That said, I talked to one rival executive at the Meetings who thought the Yankees should make a huge push for right-handed hitter Cody Ross.
• Speaking of Ross… It’s amazing how little right-handed power is on this Yankees roster right now. Mark Teixeira has a lot of pop from the right side, but that’s about it. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano — especially Cano — saw their numbers really dip against lefties last season, and if that continues, the Yankees are going to need someone to help balance the lineup.
• I understand the idea of trading Granderson — there’s a better defensive center fielder in-house, he’s about to become an expensive free agent, he’s flawed because of the strikeouts but still valuable because of the power — but where is there a match on the trade market? Only a contending team is going to want him on a one-year deal, but what can a contending team give in return that’s going to help the Yankees and make up for Granderson’s production? Not saying it can’t happen, just saying it’s more complicated than, “Get something for him before he becomes a free agent.”
• I’ll say this for Kevin Youkilis: Last year’s numbers are better than I thought they were. They’re not great (obviously) but he still reached base at a solid rate, hit for a little bit of power and had good all-around numbers against lefties. He’s clearly not what he used to be, but he might not be as completely lost as I thought.
• Ran into an American League front office guy who I’ve known for years. We started talking about value on the free agent market, and the thing he kept talking about was innings. Getting consistent innings from starting pitchers has a impact on the bullpen, which has an impact on the other starters. I wonder if the Yankees have enough reliable innings in their rotation. Wouldn’t it be good to limit the workload on Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte from time to time?
• Not shocked that Rafael Soriano hasn’t found a home by now, but it’s a little surprising that his name hasn’t come up at all this winter. I realize teams are hesitant to spend big on closers, but you’d think we’d at least hear some speculation about him. I wonder if that will change as teams develop a better sense of who they are and whether one big piece could make a difference.
• One other thought on Soriano: The Yankees got away with a qualifying offer this year. I wonder if the closer market could change enough that we won’t see qualifying offers extended to any relievers in the future.
Associated Press photo