A look at some of the players the Yankees let go of or passed on last winter, and who they might pursue in the 2010-2011 offseason

While waiting for the Yankee-Twin game to resume last night (which obviously didn’t end up happening) I caught some highlights from the Cardinals game on MLB Network and it reminded me that the Yankees may or may not have been pursuing Matt Holliday this past offseason. This (a) Made me want to find out how Holliday was doing; (b) Check in on how the other free agents/potential trades the Yankees didn’t end up pursuing/guys the Yankees let go of were performing; and (c) See what some of the Yankees’ potential targets this coming offseason are up to (I expect they’ll be targeting starting pitching, left field and designated hitter, given that Nick Johnson is only signed for one year with a mutual option).

Here are the 2010 season statistics for the major names that the Yankees either didn’t re-sign, traded or passed on last offseason. Stats in all of the tables in this blog post are as of today, Wednesday, May 26, and are in descending order by wOBA for hitters and FIP for pitchers.… Click here to read the rest

What Kind Of Deal Would You Give Carl Crawford?

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From John Heyman:

One reason the Yankees were reluctant to go for a two-year deal for Johnny Damon might have had little to do with Damon and been a greater reflection of what they think of Carl Crawford. The Yankees love him. Crawford is almost sure to be too rich for the low-revenue Rays, and the Yankees jump to the head of the class for interested teams. Remember, too, that the Yankees passed on Matt Holliday. It all seems to set up nicely for Crawford.

I am not certain that the Yankees are in fact “in love” with Crawford, as this might be posturing from Boras to explain why Damon is suiting up for another club. However, if the Yankees are interested in Crawford, I would be loathe to give him more than 4 years. Furthermore, if the Yankees only have room in the budget for one large deal, I think Cliff Lee might be a better long-term investment.… Click here to read the rest

Boras used Yanks to obtain Holliday’s deal?

Though the Yankees were never really in on Matt Holliday, their financial edge might have helped to scare the Cardinals into providing him with a seven-year deal worth $120 million, which they’ll be paying for through 2029.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Scott Boras, in the Holliday negotiations with St. Louis, put forth the idea that his client could accept “a one-year deal in search of a better free-agent market” next winter. Rosenthal then adds that if this did occur, if the Oklahoma native was open to a one-year deal, “[s]ome team — most likely the Yankees or Red Sox — might have signed Holliday for say, one year and $20 million” (KR’s salary figure is obviously an estimate).

While this seems like an altogether unlikely idea as Holliday, in the past, has stated how much he values organizational security and, in addition to that, such a one-year contract could put the outfielder’s financial future at great risk if he were to injure himself, according to Rosenthal, the Cardinals actually believed Boras and “their fear of losing Holliday prompted them to award him a seven-year contract.” This occurred even though the Yankees have outwardly stated that they are looking to lower payroll in 2010 and have acted accordingly with regards to that statement.… Click here to read the rest

Holliday, Damon, the $100 million club and the bench

And another one bites the dust.

How many realistic suitors now exist for Johnny Damon? The only other team I’ve heard come up in connection to Damon of late is the Braves (I know the Giants are in the mix too, but I haven’t read much if anything about their intentions). I’m admittedly not terribly familiar with the Braves’ current outfield situation, but from what I can tell it looks to be presently constituted of Nate McClouth, Matt Diaz and ?, so Damon may make some sense for the Braves at the right price. However, if the Braves end up offering somewhere in the two-year, $14 million range that the Yankees were considering for Damon, I’d hope that Johnny would be able to swallow his pride and return to the Bronx. Of course, that’s also assuming that hypothetical offer is still on the table–it seems the Yanks truly are loath to spend anything more than $5 million on left field, and perhaps they’ve already relegated themselves to life after Johnny.… Click here to read the rest

Holliday Likely Off The Table

From Buster Olney:

Sources: The Cardinals’ offer to Holliday is believed to be over $100 million.

I am sorry, Chris, but it seems like your hope for a Holliday miracle will not be fulfilled. I never saw the Yankees getting involved on Holliday, but as the offseason proceeded, it looked like he might be had for a song. It would not have shocked me to see Brian Cashman swoop in at the last moment to steal the best hitter on the market for a bargain rate. However, a deal of at least 5 years and 100 million is much too high for the Yankees to get involved. They simply have too many long term commitments to make one of that value to a left fielder.… Click here to read the rest

Options in left field

The Yankees traded Melky Cabrera for Javier Vazquez, and in so doing addressed their one glaring weakness: a 4th starting pitcher. The move meant the team was parting ways with a home-grown, fan-favorite, but the trade has been described as a slam dunk. Vazquez doesn’t need to be a rotation leader for the Yankees, only a back of the rotation guy who can give them the league average in performance and eat some innings. He’s better than that.

The only problem is that the team traded away its main option in left field. I’ve hypothesized that this trade was a gift to Johnny Damon, but its being reported he still wants more than the team (or any team) is willing to pay. Has the Brett Gardner era begun?

Many Yankee fans just screamed “god no!” at the computer screen. Are they right? Gardner was a blank slate, even last year. He appeared in 108 games, but only had 284 plate appearances.
Click here to read the rest

Matt Holliday vs. Carl Crawford

By Jason Beinstein

There has of course been quite a bit of speculation as far as what the Yankees are going to do about their left field situation, given that many now expect Johnny Damon to sign elsewhere. I’m going to take a look at why I believe Matt Holliday is worth $18 million a season for five years versus the best possible alternative option that exists in 2011. First and foremost, Bill James’ prediction for Holliday has a split that looks like this: .316/.391/.531 and 27/105/109 with a projected worth of $26 million based on performance. Those numbers alone would make anybody salivate. Johnny Damon is trying to get $13 million a season, for an extra $5 million a season Holliday seems like an absolute steal.

A lot of Holliday’s value came from his production produced in one of the most offensive friendly ballparks over the past 10 years in Coors Field. In the 90-plus games that Holliday played in Oakland his line looked like this.… Click here to read the rest

The end of Damon? Not so fast…

With the wonderful news of Nick the Stick’s return to pinstripes breaking late yesterday, nearly everyone reporting it subsequently assumed that the deal spelled the end of Johnny Damon’s tenure as a Yankee.

I’m not so sure about this (and neither is Steve Goldman).

Joe at RAB notes that, while the 2010 Yankees as presently constituted look very good on paper (assuming Johnson can stay healthy all year), the bottom third of the lineup becomes considerably weaker on the days that Francisco Cervelli spells Jorge Posada behind the dish.

As much as the Yankees might be trying to indicate to everyone and their mother that they are trying to limit payroll to $200 million this year, I just can’t see the team starting the year with Melky Cabrera as the left fielder. Melky isn’t a real outfielder, and the Yankees know this. Last year Melky hit .274/.336/.416 in arguably the best season of his young career. The average AL left fielder hit .270/.336/.433, so if you’re a Melky believer, perhaps if you’re lucky you’ll get league average out of left with Melky starting.… Click here to read the rest

Quick notes on Holliday, Sheets

Given that I was just talking about them this morning, it seems only fitting that Matt Holliday’s and Ben Sheets’ names popped up again today. This isn’t exactly new news, but the Cardinals have supposedly offered Holliday an eight-year, $128 million deal, which, if true, means that Holliday will remain in St. Louis. While I’ve been a supporter of a hypothetical Holliday signing, eight years is just too long, and I can’t imagine anyone stepping up and offering a longer contract.

iYankees reports that the Yankees have made it known that they are “very interested” in Sheets, which is excellent news, although Sheets appears to be in no rush to sign.

It’s sounding like my master plan of adding Holliday, Sheets and Nick Johnson is more likely to end up being Johnny Damon, Sheets and Johnson, which certainly isn’t terrible. As long it includes Nick Johnson.

UPDATED, 2:50pm: According to Buster Olney via MLB Trade Rumors, St. Louis’ offer is for five years, not eight.… Click here to read the rest