Dissecting Heyman’s latest

That’s not the punchline on Lee, however. This is:

The guess here is that if the Yankees could get Lee for $125 million over five years, they would gladly sign up for that now. But the price may go higher than that.

It says here that paying $125 million for Cliff Lee is absurd. It also says that CC’s deal was also nutso, so what do I know?  If the Yanks push Texas to $125m/5 years and Texas tops it, kudos to them. I’m already petrified about 2015 so what’s another $25 million to sweat.  I think the upcoming CBA and the very real concerns about perception might impact the Yanks desire to go even further over-the-top than they currently are.  Suffice it to say, we’ll have Larry camping out to get the earliest and deepest dirt on the CBA once it’s worth discussing…

The Yankees have never failed to lure a coveted free agent, dating back to the ’70s with Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson.

Yeah, nevermind Greg Maddux, OK?  Moving on…

But this one ought to be interesting. The money could get out of control, especially considering the second-best free agent starter on most teams’ list is Carl Pavano, a player the Yankees wouldn’t touch if he offered to return for free (he won’t, anyway).

The American Idle jokes are a never-ending source of both pain and twisted humor for Yanks fans. Credit to the guy for getting himself together and having two very solid years in Minnesota. Now rot in hell.  Next to Jaret Wright. And Kei Igawa. And the Fat Toad.  [I can feel the vein in my forehead now start to throb.]

Royals star Zack Greinke appears to be the only available pitcher, via trade, who could come close to Lee’s talent, and Greinke’s past battles with an anxiety disorder are well-known, so New York might not be the best fit. In fact, one competing executive said he is hearing that Greinke will not go to Boston or New York, which, if true, is good and bad for the Yankees.

Yeah, we kicked this one around quite a bit, too. Long story short: Even if Greinke wanted to come to NY (which is sounding unlikely), the cost of dollars and players makes me think about the failed Santana deal.  I will put the odds at less than 10%.  I have said (wistfully) that the only player I’d eagerly double dip for is King Felix. But I can’t see the Mariners doing that.  I mean, would they do Montero and a few higher end pitchers and Gardner?  What sort of deal do you think the M’s would take, knowing that they’d have to be utterly blown away because the backlash would be swift and brutal?

If Lee stays in Texas, and Greinke won’t come to New York, the Yankees will 1) Try hard to find a viable frontline starter elsewhere, and 2) Try to combat the talented Rangers with improved offense. That could mean a run at one of the top two offensive players. The Yankees are said to have interest in Carl Crawford, 29, but they’re telling folks that their expectations to beat the Angels and Red Sox for either star outfielder (Jayson Werth, 31, being the other) aren’t especially high. That could change, of course, if they don’t get Lee.

Yeah, the Plan B is probably written in chalk right now but tastes like panic. The Yanks have all three outfielders under contract for at least 2011.  And they are pretty darned good and reasonably priced.  None of them, however, are Carl Crawford.  So if the Yanks whiff (again) on Lee and want to get serious about Crawford, what’s got to happen?  A trade of an OF, possibly, but that seems unlikely.  To add Crawford without trading one of the other three OF, you would essentially bump Swisher to the DH role, spelling Teix at 1B a game a week.  With the aging and creaky Yanks like ARod and Posada and (likely) Jeter needing a day off a week, at least, you really put the muzzle on Swisher.  Let’s not forget that Swisher had a great year.  Trading him or Granderson (and eating salary) to add a $15m/year Crawford is a rather expensive trade-off.

Word is that the Yankees prefer Crawford to Werth. They love Crawford’s youth, competitiveness and speed, though the right-handed-hitting Werth would balance out their lefty-heavy lineup and has some Yankee connections (superscout and onetime New York first baseman Dennis Werth is Werth’s stepfather).

I put that one in only because the flimsiness of it made me chuckle.  Speaking of the DH role, I salivate over the idea of seeing Adam Dunn pound baseballs into the upper RF deck, but I don’t see it happening and neither does Heyman:

There have been fleeting thoughts and visions about the damage that Adam Dunn could do as a DH playing home games in Yankee Stadium; but beyond that, Dunn has shown no interest in DHing (although it’s obviously his most natural position). It appears that the Yankees are starting to feel like they need to keep the DH spot open for a couple of their mid-30s players, including longtime catcher Jorge Posada, 39, who has another year to go on his contract, and possibly third baseman Alex Rodriguez, 35, who had hip surgery a year and a half ago and appeared a bit slower in the field this year.

This Yanks team faces some serious aging concerns.  Posada will be done after 2011 but ARod and Jeter will still need to utilize that DH role for years. And about that Posada guy, a guy who I have the utmost respect for but who has clearly slipped badly this year:

The current plan for Posada’s final year in pinstripes is to have him share time behind the plate with Francisco Cervelli and ballyhooed prospect Jesus Montero. Posada was the main catcher on four World Series winners, but is “shot” as a primary starter, one scout said, suggesting that Cervelli, who also slipped a bit defensively this year, and Montero, who is a big-time offensive force of the future but still learning the position, would account for the majority of games behind the plate.

My question is this: How much worse will Montero be as compared to Cervelli and even Posada? If Posada is going to DH at least half the time, why not just give Montero a chance to see how his bat plays in the bigs?  If he’s no worse than Cervelli behind the plate, he’s gotta be better offensively, right?  Give the kid a chance.

Of course, the Jeterification of the Jeter contract rages on:

Jeter’s contract will be of interest because guesses are all over the board. The Yankees aren’t sure that anyone else would even offer him $30 million over three years, but both sides have no reason to end this winning relationship and every incentive to continue the legacy of an alltime great Yankee. One opposing GM foresaw a three-year deal for about $50 million, though a rare, so-so October following his off-year offensively make early $100 million guesses seem off the wall now. How about a two-year deal for $40 million, which gives him a raise but isn’t outrageous total dollars?

If he signs a $100 million contract, what can I say?  It’ll be absurd and indefensible.  Just like I don’t think the team will “get away” with signing him for “only” two years. You can read all of the Jeter contract stuff here.

How about Sandman:

Rivera should get a raise from $15 million, and a two-year deal seems reasonable there, as well — though perhaps he’d accept the year-to-year program that Pettitte seems to be on.

A raise on $15m for a closer is crazy, even on as utterly awesome as Mo.  Ultimately, I can’t argue it because the marginal cost is immaterial.

Pettitte is saying for the moment that he remains unsure what he will do, though people around the team guess that he’ll be back based on his competitive juices. Pettitte would seem unlikely to want to leave off a disappointing year (for the team, anyway) when he still has ample ability, not to mention a chance to enhance his Hall of Fame résumé. But if he does go, their pitching situation goes from dicey to dire.

I was set to make a Favre-like comment but I’m not going near that one. As for HOF stuff, he missed a hurdle.

Even the setup role remains a question unless they can figure out how to retain Kerry Wood, who did a nice job in that spot but has an $11 million option that’s too high to exercise for a non-closer — and Wood could well have his sights on a closing job elsewhere. If Wood departs, they’d have to hope that Joba Chamberlain returns to form, pray for improvement from David Robertson or scan the free-agent list for a viable bridge to Rivera. Considering Chamberlain’s recent regressions, he could be potential trade bait, as well.

It’d be nice to find a way to keep Wood, but he’s going to want a closing gig and will probably get one.  I’ve sent Will on a personal hunt to find the middle relievers the Yanks should go after to replace Wood.  He’ll packing now.  And Joba… I surrender. If you have the plan, share it.

Weigh in via the comments below…

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

10 thoughts on “Dissecting Heyman’s latest

  1. Yeah that part about never missing a free agent took my back a second too. It's not just Greg Maddux either. The Yankees missed a few of them. Sometimes it worked out though, Albert Belle.

  2. jay_robertson

    LOL – anytime you can get Igawa, American Idle, and Fat Toad in the same line, I'm good. How bout having AJ be part of the trade bait for Felix? Proven starter, shutdown the Sox and the Yankees (until he got his contract with NY – minor detail, there.) And has a good track record in small markets – Toronto, Seattle, they're both out on the fringes. Toss in bonus baby Igawa while we're at it. I think he's still under contract – he was the pitcher of the year, out in Scranton in 09. Talk about a prospect.

    Seriously, $15M for Mo is ridiculous, but as far as resigning "legacy" players, he's probably more likely to give value for the money than any of the others. I love Petite, but sore backs rarely quit being sore or cranky.

    I'm still not afraid of Grienke, but would rather give up the farm for Felix than Zach. And hate the thought of Lee in 2017. And Lee is a moot point – its already been published – his WIFE would rather he play in Texas. If its in print, it has to be right, right?

  3. I'd love to ship Burnett and Igawa out, but nobody's going to take on both of those enormous contracts.

  4. Alan

    Come on…be realistic..what GM is stupid enough to trade for Igawa ..even as a throw in ?

  5. Sabrina

    I don't know if anyone heard what Giradi said about Andy pitching game 3 instead of game 2. Apparently it was because of his lingering injury and not match ups. That makes me less mad at his decision for switching starters. It also shows we need to get more young. Trading Burnett for a younger arm might be smart but the Yanks won't do it. They wait out overpaid contracts!

  6. yanks81

    Burnetts un tradeable unless we eat most of his 50m he has left on his deal and i'd rather try and get him back to 09 form than pay him to pitch for someone else. He still has the power fast ball and great swing and miss stuff, if a new pitching coach can get in between his ears a good Burnett is better than any available pitcher out other than Lee and Greinke. We re going to need him especially if Andy retires.

    .

  7. yanks81

    . I think that the Yanks are going to go for a bit of an overhaul, letting Jesus start the yr behind the plate with Posada DHing would help but there going to need a very competent backup just in case. Is
    As far as pitching Cash will go all out to get Lee and possibly another starter. Joba just needs to be traded, Cashman said today in the press conference that they very him as a late innings reliever. Theres alot of teams out there that would give him a try again as a starter and we may be able to get something useful for a 25 yr old starter, that should plus stuff.
    The infield is pretty set, so i don't see anything happening there.They could move any of the 3 outfielders, sell high on either Swisher or Gardner. They would be doing that just to make a move, Swisher and Werths numbers from last yr are pretty similiar and Swish is younger and a better fit in the clubhouse. Gardner & Crawford play similiar games CC has more power, just not sure he's worth the extra 15m a yr

  8. moooose

    I always enjoy the speculation at this time of year. Particularly since we really don't know half of what's needed to be smart about it. For instance, who knew that Granderson was even available, let alone on Cashman's radar? Maybe you guys did, but not me.

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  10. JP.

    I think the off-season plan is pretty simple given the current make up of the team. Yanks already have a very good, fairly young, and bargain priced outfield. Our current corner OFs are younger and cheaper than Werth/Crawford. Assuming Gardner is legit, we'd only be looking at around a 3 win improvement if we replaced both Gardner and Swisher in LF/RF (Setting aside any gains in the trade market, or if Swish were to DH). Toss in the fact that Werth is already 31, and benefited from a lucky .352 BABIP this season, and the improvement could be even smaller. Yanks would be paying premium money, for a marginal upgrade.

    So let some other teams pay top dollar for those players, and make Lee a can't-say-no kind of offer. Is any team really gonna top a 5 year, $125-130 million offer? Is any team gonna come close? Yeah, that is a ton of money, but Lee could easily be a 6-7 win upgrade over Javy Lopez.

    If Montero comes out mashing next year, I'd love to see him get a shot in the big leagues. I'm sure just about every Yankee fan would agree with that.

    Jeter – I'm sick of it already. Whatever, he'll resign. Same for Mo.

    Re: Joba – are Yankee fans ready to give up on this guy already? A 24 year old with a 3.5 k/bb ratio, and legit power stuff? He suffered from a high BABIP, and low strand rate in 2010 that hurt his ERA. He may not be the next Roger Clemens, but I still think he has a lot of potential. Just look at CJ Lewis from the Rangers: A career reliever with a power arm, iffy control, who converted to a pretty darn good starting pitcher in his late 20s. I'm not saying that's in the cards for Joba, just that he still has the talent to be a valuable pitcher.

    Finally, Wood has earned himself a closer gig elsewhere, and good for him. As far as free agent relievers, Joaquin Benoit and/or Scott Downs (lefty) might make nice additions to the stable of Robertson, Joba, Logan and Mo. Also, shouldn't Alfredo Aceves be ready to soak up some innings again?

    I know the core is aging, but there's not much the Yanks can do about that right now. Sign Lee, whatever it takes, tinker at the edges, and the 2011 Yanks should roll to another 95+ win season, and a playoff berth.

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