Discussion: Outside The Box Offseason Ideas

On the face of it, the Yankees options for this offseason seem obvious. They have 3 of their own free agents that they may want to bring back. On the starting pitching front, John Lackey is the big fish while a handful of injury prone arms litter the remainder of the market. There are a handful of reliable relievers available, while Holliday, Bay, and Cameron represent the market on outfielders. On the trade front, Halladay is the big name while Felix Hernandez seems like a bit of a pipe dream.

However, nobody would have expected Nick Swisher to become a Yankee last offseason, as Brian Cashman stunned us all with that move. The question I pose today is: Do you have any outside the box ideas for the Yankees offseason? Any free agents that are not getting any buzz that you would like them to sign, or trades that you would target that others have not mentioned? The writers of The Yankee Universe will be chipping in at the start of next week with their own “outside the box” offseason ideas, but would love to hear yours today. Chime in, and do not be shy, nothing is too wacky for this post.

0 thoughts on “Discussion: Outside The Box Offseason Ideas

  1. ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

    How about trading for some guys that are going to be non-tendered? Say, you suspect the D-Backs are going to non-tender Conor Jackson and the Yankees want to sign him afterwards but are unsure if they can sign him off the open market. Trade the D-Backs some fringe minor league guy like Eric Wordekemper and both teams are winners in the deal.

    • Moshe Mandel

      I assume you mean for bench roles. That might work. I don’t have his numbers in front of me, but Jackson could handle the Hinske role.

  2. JOK

    How about looking at taking back Maglio as part of a Verlander deal? Kind of like the old Vernon Wells-as-a-part-of-a-Halladay-deal idea but not as crazy?

    • JOK

      Maybe including Berkman to get Oswalt (don’t know if they hate that deal?)

      • Moshe Mandel

        I don’t think you can get either of those guys, because the owner down there loves them and is unwilling to let them go. You might be able to get Lee if you think you want him to DH.

      • Berkman will go nowhere! He is the only thing keeping this city actually attached to the Astros.

  3. Classic Steve

    How about taking a small risk on Rick Ankiel. At a minimum , he could provide some left handed pop off the bench More optimistically,he can play all three outfield positions, providing some competition in both center and right as well as getting some at- bats in left if the Yankees want to try some sort of platoon in lieu of Damon in 2010 . Ankeil regressed in 2009 but provided suberb power in the previous two years.Further, if Marte and Coke don’t do the job out of the pen… just kidding. I think Ankiel has a lot of good baseball in front of him and can envision him as a 2010 and beyond version of Oscar Gamble who was an important piece of the NYY during the 1970s and 1980s.

    • Moshe Mandel

      I think he would be a nice bench piece. I would never go into the season with him starting. But if he earns some more at bats, sure, I have no issue with that.

      • I like Ankiel as a bench player going into the season, he should never start but he is a guy who can hit left handed off the bench and play LF and RF with good D so why not and he is cheap.

  4. Chip

    If I were the Yankees, I’d sign Cameron to play center and Nick Johnson as my everyday DH. Resign Pettite and also see what it would take to get Justin Duchsherer. Offer Damon arbitration (Boras almost never accepts it) and if he comes back for a single year, awesome.

    My everyday lineup (assuming no Damon) would be either:

    Jeter SS
    Johnson DH
    Tex 1B
    A-Rod 3B
    Posada C
    Swisher RF
    Cano 2B
    Cameron CF
    Melky LF

    or

    Jeter SS
    Johnson DH
    Tex 1B
    A-Rod 3B
    Posada C
    Swisher RF
    Cano 2B
    Cameron LF
    Gardner CF

    and

    CC
    AJ
    Pettite

    followed by an open competition of Hughes/Joba/IPK/Gaudin/Mitre/Aceves/Duchsherer/McAllister (it’s possible)/Nova for the final two spots. Play it like they play the bullpen, just option guys down who aren’t performing.

    • Chip

      If you want something even further outside the box, see what it takes to get Homer Bailey. His stock has fallen, but he still possesses a great frame, a mid-90’s heater, and a hammer curve (the Yankee specialty). Seems like a guy who needs a change of scenery and they can put in AAA to try to find himself. Worst case, he could be a great set-up guy

    • Nick Johnson as a 1 year DH? The guy can’t hit .310+ and the guy can’t hit 20+ HRs so why make him a designated HITTER? Sign Matsui to a 1 year deal and you are a lot better off and for a similar price. Cameron I am on board for and have been for a while, him in CF and Melky in LF or Cameron in LF and Gardner in CF is all better than Damon in LF.

      You already have a number 2 hitter in the lineup so you don’t need to sign Johnson to do that.

      Jeter, SS
      Cano, 2B
      Tex, 1B
      Arod, 3B
      Masui, DH
      Posada, C
      Swisher, RF
      Cameron, CF
      Melky, LF

      Duchsherer isn’t a good choice for NY… I have questions about how he can handle the stress the guy has had problems with stress and what not while playing in Oakland so you know it’s not getting any better in New York. I say sign Sheets and make him a guaranteed 4th starter and then there is no open competition for 2 spots. You just have Sheets and Hughes and it allows Joba to go to the minors and focus on his development as a starting pitcher in the major leagues.

      CC Sabathia
      AJ Burnett
      Andy Pettitte
      Ben Sheets
      Phil Hughes

      You really don’t want to go into the season with the attitude we can “play by ear” the last 2 spots and just keep sending guys down the fail because that mentality will make the rotation fail, not to mention that the entire idea is based off the fact that a 37 year old Andy Pettitte will pitch 190+ innings and that a 33 year AJ Burnett will pitch 200+ innings and I wouldn’t count on that happening because if it doesn’t your screwed.

      • Chip

        Last season Nick Johnson put up a .426 OBP. Think about that for a second, Nick Johnson does the one thing that is most important in baseball, he doesn’t make outs. Now on top of this, he also saw 4.36 P/PA. A guy like that hitting in front of Tex and ARod is going to get a steady diet of fastballs which will help his power and may score 150 runs for how often he’s on.

        As for the power question, you can’t judge a player’s performance based on one year (all the other stats I’ve used thus far are right in line with his career numbers). Nick Johnson had wrist surgery which is what made him lose most of 2008 and all of 2007. As we saw with Jeter a few years back, if your wrists aren’t right, you can no longer generate power. In 2006, at the age of 27, he had a HR/FB rate of 16 percent. In 2009 after coming back from wrist surgery, he dropped all the way down to 6.2 percent. That’s a number that is likely to rebound as he gets his strength back and gets healthy.

        Now as for all these other guys you’d rather have, Matsui is probably the best option. Matsui posted a .378 wOBA in what was considered one of his best seasons while Nick Johnson’s AVERAGE season comes in at a .371 wOBA so I’m not sure where you gather that Matsui blows Nick Johnson off the charts.

        • He has hit 23 HRs once and it was the only time he got close to 20 and that was in Washington in 2006 and hasn’t done it since or before there is no proof he can do it again… As far as not making outs that is all well and good but when you don’t play the field all you get to offer to the team is offensive production so along with not making outs you have to drive in runs to provide value.

          457 ABs- 133 H, 24 2B, 8 HRs, 99 BB, 84 Ks .291/.426/.405/.831
          456 ABs- 125 H, 21 2B, 28 HRs, 64 BB, 75 Ks .274/.367.509/.876

          Hideki has the power numbers at a power position, it’s not like Nick can add stellar D to put him over the top, he’s slightly faster but barley, strikes-out more, hits for a lot less power and can’t provide protection to Alex by hitting 5th. If we are talking DH I will take Matsui an place him 5th in my lineup to protect Alex while placing Cano in the 2 hole… You can have Johnson in the 2 hole and Posada? in the 6th.

          • Chip

            Cano has gone on record saying he likes hitting further down the order and Johnson is so ideal in front of Tex and ARod as he wears pitchers out like none other. Also, Nick Johnson hasn’t had more than 20 homeruns more than once in a season because the guy just can’t stay healthy. I’m not saying he’s the be-all and end-all of hitters and might not be better than Matsui but he’s got all the upside in the world. All he has to do is continue what he’s doing and have a few more of those flyballs get over the fence and suddenly you’re looking at a .300/.430/.530 absolute beast of a player who can just wear out opposing pitchers before your big bats come up.

          • Cano said that last year! He can’t bat 7th in the lineup forever, either he moves up soon or he gets traded! The old Cano was making excuses for not wanting to be in the spot light but I guarantee he would thrive hitting 2nd.

            Cano doesn’t strikeout a lot he is the definition of a contact hitter and he doesn’t do great with RISP so that takes those ABs away. Also his .320 batting and the potential to bat .340+ at the top of the order in front of Alex and Tex along with hitting 22-28 Hrs is more productive than Johnson with Matsui still able to protect Arod hitting 5th.

            So you want to sign a guy to play everyday who you yourself describe as a guy who “just can’t stay healthy”… does that sound smart? I don’t think it does, at least with Matsui we know his injury history and our doctors are on first name basis with the problem and know how to treat it well enough for him to have 450 ABs, if he can give you 450 ABs next year at a step above what he did this year because his knees are a year healthier it’s more than you can ask for!

            You really aren’t relying on any stats or any actual proof that he can be a .300/.430/.530 guy especially when he slugged .405 this year (so where does .530 come from?) and in fact he has never slugged .530 in his career and has only gotten into the .500s once in his career (2006).

            A guy who is 31 and injury prone to the point of not being able to have ever played more than 140 games in a year (he only did that once) does not have all the upside in the world… Matsui is a better player and should hold up better when considering their histories… I always go with the known over the unknown and all Johnson has is a hope and a prayer, Matsui actually proved he can be a DH all year and produce.

          • Chip

            I think being a DH would help keep Johnson healthy but you’re right, he’s a huge health risk. That’s why he would also be cheap, making this a high-upside move.

            Cano hopefully turns into a middle of the order guy, I really hope he does. But in the second hole, Swisher gets on base more and strikes out more which leads to less double plays right before your big guns come up.

            You’re right, I’m not going on statistical proof, I’m going on upside. There’s no way I expect Johnson to put up a .300/.430/.530 guy but I do think he’s capable of it in Yankee Stadium. That’s why it’s a high-upside, low-downside move.

          • Sticking Cano in the No. 2 hole does not guarantee that he won’t have to hit in situations w/ RISP.

  5. Peter Lacock

    It’s pretty much certain the Yanks will sign Pettitte.
    Would it be wacky if that was it?
    I mean, they have to add more OF’s & C’s but that could just be Nady, Molina and Chris Stewart.
    Personally, I’d be in favor of it. There are no great, big upgrade FA’s and there are no glaring needs. Where there is a weakness, youngsters are beginning to bubble up. I say let them play. Veteran C’s are always needed but I wouldn’t even bother with the OF. AJax, Curtis, Russo and Pena can compete for OF spots. Pitching will carry the team anyway.
    What would the payroll be then?

    • Chip

      So your everyday lineup would be

      Jeter SS
      Swisher RF
      Tex 1B
      A-Rod 3B
      Posada C
      Cano 2B
      Miranda DH
      Melky LF
      Ajax CF

      That lineup has holes galore in the bottom third. I mean you have three guys there who have either proven to be very average or have never proven anything in the big leagues. Not only that, but let’s say they give ARod a day off, now you have a bottom four of Miranda/Pena/Melky/Ajax which is pretty much exactly what you’re looking at when Posada gets days off as well. The Red Sox tried that kind of lineup last year when they were running Varitek, Lowrie, Ellsbury and Lowell out there and look where that got them.

      I think to stay competitive, they need to get a minimum of one bat and get Pettite back. I don’t think Nady is the answer as he’s coming back from a surgery that typically saps a players power for about a year. If the only moves they made were Pettite, Nick Johnson and Cameron…..I think that’d be quite ideal.

      If they were to not sign anyone except for Pettite, I’d imagine they’d come in right around 185 million. If they also add Cameron and Nick Johnson, you’re probably looking more like 200 million.

      • No his everyday lineup would be

        Jeter, SS
        Cano, 2B
        Tex, 1B
        Arod, 3B
        Posada, DH
        Swisher, RF
        Melky, LF
        Gardner, CF
        Cervelli, C

        Nady most likely is gone but TJ surgery only sags a player for a year when it’s pitcher there is no real information on how long it takes position players to get back.

        If the Yankees signed Nick Johnson I would be pissed! He can’t hit .310+ and he can’t hit 20+ HRs so how is he a DH? Matsui for 1 year is a better deal, 1 year for Thome is a better deal, 1 year for Blalock is a better deal, hell Branyan for 1 year is a better deal than Nick Johnson he can’t offer anything but a fake 2nd hole hitter. Cano can more than do that!

        Cameron- Yes
        Pettitte- Yes
        Johnson- NO!!!!

  6. How about Z-Mack + 2/3 “B” types for Dunn as our DH?

    • Why he is a free agent after next year…

      Matsui is more than a capable DH for this year and is willing to take a 1 year deal, you could sign Matsui for the 2010 season and then after the season sign Dunn to the 3 or 4 year deal as a DH and you don’t have to lose any potential trade bait or future players.

      Besides if you really want 40 HRs this year from the DH you could sign Thome and get 40 HRs from him with a .245+ BA, I wouldn’t do it but you could. As I said though Matsui for 1 year then DH as a free agent is what I would do.

      • Chip

        Where is this proof that Matsui is willing to take a 1 year deal? I’d love to see some justification for that. I’m not saying he wouldn’t but we honestly don’t know that for sure right now. I do agree that you could probably approximate Matsui’s production by signing Thome but I don’t see it happening.

        • I really don’t know where the huge demand for him is…? He can’t go to the Mariners because Griffey is back and Ichiro apparently said no according to reports, the Giants have no DH, The Red Sox have Ortiz he will only get 1 year contract offers. Bobby Abreu only got 1 year last year as a field player I would be shocked if he gets 2 or more years!

          I really doubt it happens as well why bring someone old in to DH when you could keep Matsui.

          • Chip

            I agree, I’d keep Matsui over signing Thome anyday. I’m just very concerned about Matsui’s knees continuing to hold up

          • They got better from last year to this year and knee surgeries always get better over time (look at the ACL tear takes a full year after surgery to produce right again) and since he only had to have his knees drained once this year it should project for him holding up better next year.

            Johnson has injury problems of his own only we don’t know as much about them because our doctor haven’t been treating him like our doctors have with Matsui. Hideki actually produced this year Johnson was just OK I say Matsui deserves a 1 year deal and the DH job.

  7. If you want out of the box never going to happen ideas you could sign Bengie Molina to be the catcher for the Yankees for 2 years and have Posada be the everyday DH.

    Jeter, SS
    Cano, 2B
    Tex, 1B
    Arod, 3B
    Posada, DH
    Molina, C
    Swisher, RF
    Cameron, CF
    Melky, LF

    That’s pretty deep, Bengie hit 20 HRs (in 490 ABs) in San Fran so he could hit 20 in NY easy and he’s a defensive upgrade from Posada while still keeping Posada’s bat in the lineup. Plus with Posada and Cervelli you could give Molina enough days off not to be hurt like he was this year and use him at DH a few days and let Posada catch a few days and let Cervelli catch (the least) some.

    • Chip

      That lineup is still a bit weak and honestly is Bengie much of an upgrade over Cervelli at this point? I mean he’s got some power, sure but the guy can’t do anything else with the bat. You’re talking about a guy with a .285 OBP. At least with Cervelli he’s on the upswing and can run a little bit. If Bengie were going to be the backup, I could definitely live with it but no way would you want to do that every day. I’d honestly rather promote Montero directly to the majors and play the Girardi/Posada game with him although I believe that’s going to be done next season.

      • Then you are fooling yourself! Bengie would play much better D than Montero or Posada and he was injured for all of last year to the point he was hobbled and making PH appearances down the stretch and then he still got out there to play C for that team dying for O. So you can’t judge his numbers on last year. Bengie had a .322 OBP in 2008, only struck out 38 times in 530 ABs and had 95 RBI on a terrible team. When healthy he is still a beast with the bat.

        Cervelli has the potential for 8-12 HRs maybe if he really improves his power swing and he won’t even hit that many next year so I really don’t see how his better D than Posada and better O than Cervellie makes Frankie better.

        The ideal lineup and rotation entering the season for me when you consider price and the future.

        Jeter, SS
        Granderson, CF
        Tex, 1B
        Arod, 3B
        Matsui, DH
        Posada, C
        Cano, 2B
        Swisher, RF
        Cameron, CF
        Melky, LF

        CC Sabathia
        AJ Burnett
        Andy Pettitte
        Edwin Jackson
        Phil Hughes

        M. Rivera (CL)
        R. Soriano (SU)
        Robertson
        Marte
        Coke/Dunn
        Kennedy
        Aceves
        Bruney
        Gaudin

        Joba in the minors and sign Chapman to a contract and send him to A ball.

        • Chip

          No ball would ever fall in the outfield if you had Granderson, Cameron, Melky AND Swisher running around out there :P. I’m interested in how you’re going to get both Granderson and Edwin Jackson and keep either Hughes or Joba. I mean Edwin Jackson is going to probably require one of them and Granderson is probably a Hughes/AJax type of trade. So you just traded the farm for Edwin Jackson who has had one hell of a half season in the past 3 years and Granderson who is a very high-upside, low-floor type of guy. On top of this, you’ve just given our top two picks away for next year’s draft.

          So you just added about 10 million for Pettite, about 4 million for Jackson, 5.5 million for Granderson, 8-10 million for Cameron, let’s say 7 million for Matsui and 8-10 million for Soriano. I don’t think that’s great for price and the future. If Edwin Jackson returns to being his crappy version and either Pettite or AJ realize that they’re old and injury-prone, you’re suddenly looking at maybe two of Aceves/IPK/McAllister/Gaudin/Nova as well as which one of Joba/Hughes is left. That’s why you try to get younger, younger players typically get injured less.

          • My bad… Swisher in RF, Granderson in CF and Cameron in LF making Melky tradeable and Gardner your 4th.

            Reports are that Edwin is priced to move more so than Granderson is! Edwin will make a pay increase in his arbitration case (currently making 2.2 million) so they want to get rid of him now in case his value only gets lower. I wouldn’t expect to give up Montero, Hughes or Joba and I bet you could pull off Granderson and Edwin. You might have to include Banuelos and Romine to get it done but it could work with A Jackson replacing Granderson and throwing in Kennedy or McAllister as the MLB ready starter…

            Now I don’t think Edwin is going to return to a 3.6 ERA but I wouldn’t expect him to fall off the table completely…

            161.0, 10.8 H/9, 4.86 BB/9, 5.76 ERA, .299 OBA
            183.1, 9.72 H/9, 3.78 BB/9, 4.42 ERA, .281 OBA
            214.0, 8.37 H/9, 2.88 BB/9, 3.62 ERA, .247 OBA

            He has been on a 3 year improvement in innings pitched, hits allowed and opponents batting average and shows only a sign of grasping baseball better and having an understanding of who he is as a pitcher.

            Edwin for Joba or Hughes? Really? Are you serious? He was traded for Matt Joyce straight up when he went to the Tigers, no way they turn around and ask for that much more, a 27 year old 3rd or 4th starter for a 23 year old possible ace? Doesn’t make sense!

            10 million on Pettitte I agree with but 8-10 for Cameron? He made 10 this year and won’t make that this year he made 7 million each year for 4 years before that and only 3 million before that so I doubt he makes 9 and probably only makes 6-8 million for 1 year to play LF and opening up the option to trade Melky in another deal. 7 million I agree with on Matsui anywhere between 6-7 can’t go wrong and 8-10 for Soriano over 3 years which is only 3 per year.

            You get young in CF for the next 3-5 years, you upgrade D in LF ona 1 year deal, you add a 26 year old starting pitcher which increases youth and if you do it right you still have Hughes starting as the 5th starter and Joba in the minors as the 6th.

            I also don’t buy that younger players are going to get injured less than older ones…. Josh Johnson had TJ surgery at 24? Mariano had TJ in the minors and never suffered injury going forward…. Josh Beckett hasn’t had to be shut down as much since coming to Boston and had more DL time with the Marlins when he was 24. Injury is all about luck and having none, some players get injured when they are young, some old, others throughout their careers. You can’t predict it or stop it injury comes when it wants to.

  8. Chip: I think being a DH would help keep Johnson healthy but you’re right, he’s a huge health risk.That’s why he would also be cheap, making this a high-upside move.Cano hopefully turns into a middle of the order guy, I really hope he does.But in the second hole, Swisher gets on base more and strikes out more which leads to less double plays right before your big guns come up.You’re right, I’m not going on statistical proof, I’m going on upside.There’s no way I expect Johnson to put up a .300/.430/.530 guy but I do think he’s capable of it in Yankee Stadium.That’s why it’s a high-upside, low-downside move.  

    I watched Ken Griffey blow out a knee rounding the bases on a HR ball injuries can happen to everyone! He could get hit in the wrist with a ball or take a comebacker off the bat to the shin.

    So your argument for Swisher hitting 2nd is he strikeouts more? Are you listening to yourself? Why would you want to move a K threat up in the lineup when you could put a contact hitter in the 2 hole who can get on base more often than Damon did with more power!!

    Cano was born for the 2 hole and I have been waiting for years for him to get the chance and now it’s here! You can’t just say one day… The boy is 27 one day is now!

    Matsui would cost at max 10 million and that is at the extreme high side and I would expect him to make 7 million for 1 year more realistically, how is that not better than high risk low reward Johnson? At best Johnson hits 23 HRs… at worst Matsui hits 23 HRs… We know what Matsui can do I will stick with him over the question mark all the way around just because you don’t want Cano hitting 2nd.

    • Chip

      You want a guy in the second hole who doesn’t ground out a lot yet gets on base a ton. My argument that he strikes out more is simple, Cano hits a lot of line-drives and ground balls which is perfect for a high average but also creates the possibility of a double play. Swisher doesn’t have a high average yet has a higher on-base percentage while hitting more fly balls and line-drives. This leads to somebody you want to have in front of your big bats.

      I honestly think Cano is more of a 5-hole hitter because I very much believe the BARISP this year was a fluke and his power is developing. Plus, you’re looking at somebody who puts the ball in play rather than striking out with the guy standing on second.

      I also wouldn’t say that Matsui is a lock for 23 homers. I would say that he’s likely to do so but not a lock by any means. In none of these arguments, am I suggesting that we ignore Matsui but they wanted out of the box ideas and Nick Johnson is somebody who could produce out of nowhere and really give you a boost.

  9. Also another reason for trading Edwin Jackson now is that he is free agent after this season (which means Joba and Hughes are out of the deal) and it will not cost a top draft pick to sign him after the season. If he does better next year than he did this year they won’t be able to re-sign him because someone will offer more money (Scott Boras client) and if he takes a step back they won’t re-sign him and they won’t get anything for him once he leaves so if they want something for him they have to deal him now while his value is worth 1 or 2 prospects.

    Granderson, E.Jackson
    For
    A.Jackson, Kennedy, McAllister, Romine, Robertson, Nunez?Miranda?Russo?

    They are getting a top C prospect the number 27 ranked prospect in baseball, 2 MLB ready starters, a reliever with the abiltity to take over the spot left by Fernando Rodney and the choice of a 6th option from the lesser pile of prospects. I don’t know if they would do it but it would be a starting point in discussions.

    • Chip

      There’s no way they trade a young, cost-controlled centerfielder for that package. It’s about quality and not quantity and I just don’t see them doing that without one of Montero, Hughes or Joba in there. I could be wrong but I think you’re highly over-valuing our prospects

  10. Miguel Cabrera. Lots of money and prospects but if we’re are going to relinquish those assets let’s make it for a monster bat who can be our everyday DH while also serving as back up 1B and 3B allowing Teixeira and A-Rod to rest every now and then. I like this idea A LOT better than trading for a 33 year old who is only going to play once every fifth day Halladay.

    • Chip

      That’s a very expensive bat that I can’t imagine them giving up but can you imagine that lineup? Just WOW. If they offer him up for a decent price and Cashman says yes before they can say, “just kidding”