Friday, December 11, 2009
Blogging the Offseason is a 30 team series in which I ask a blogging representative from each MLB team a series of ten questions about their desires and thoughts surrounding the offseason. Check out all of them here.
Today is World Series day and because the Yanks are the Yanks you're getting a double dose. Our first guest is Mike Axisa from arguably the #1 Yankee Blog out there, River Avenue Blues.
1. First and foremost, what are your thoughts on the Granderson deal? It seems like a natural upgrade without giving up too much but part of me wonders with the trading of Granderson if they are ever going to bring up a superstar fielder again.
What, no love for Robbie Cano? He may not be a "superstar," but .320-.350-.520 middle infielders don't grow on trees. Plus, it's not like Austin Jackson had that kind of projection. His stock had come down in recent years because of his lack of power and regressing plate discipline, however he is still a very good prospect.
I like the Granderson pickup, but I don't love it. Unlike the Swisher deal last year, the Yanks gave up some players with actual big league value in this trade. However, he's a major upgrade over what they had in center last year, and he fit the profile of what Brian Cashman is trying to do - get younger and more athletic. Plus he's pretty well suited for their ballpark.
2. Now that the Yanks picked up Granderson, what are the odds they still keep Matsui or Damon?
My opinion on this seems to change by the day. Right now, I think they're more likely to just keep one of them. They've started talking to Boras about Damon, but who knows what he'll do. Matsui seems more likely to return because they already have plenty of outfielders on the roster, and in general he just seems like he has fewer options and might come back on team friendly terms. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if either one, both, or neither comes back.
3. Last year we knew the Yankees were going after Sabathia and Burnett but we didn't know they were going to swoop in and snatch up Big Tex. Any chance the Yanks come in at the last minute and snipe up a big name free agent? If so, then whom?
It's always possible, but I think it's very unlikely this year. They spent all that money last year knowing two things: a) this year's free agent class was weak, and b) it would limit their spending in the future. Nothing will surprise me though, Cashman's very stealth with his moves. We were all convinced Teixeira was going to Boston, and then BAM!, he's on the Yanks. It's not the first time he's done it to us, and it won't be the last.
If they are going to swoop in, Holliday and Lackey are the most obvious targets. Bay's not a fit because they're focused on upgrading the defense. A trade for Halladay actually seems more likely than a big free agent signing to me.
4. Say the Yankees don't make a big splash outside of Granderson, whom do you think they bring in? A 5th starter? Some bullpen help like a Lyon or Mike Gonzalez? Anything else?
Probably just some pitching depth, a guy like Justin Duchscherer or something. Cashman flat out said he won't give up a draft pick for a setup man recently, so that rules out Gonzalez. Also, they seem to have moved on from spending big bucks on middle relievers. They've done a real good job of building their own bullpen on the cheap the last two years, and they've done it by hording lots of cheap guys with good peripheral numbers. If someone isn't getting the job done, they get swapped out with someone else until they find the right mix.
The bench can stand to be upgraded, however that's something they're more likely to address mid-season, like last year.
5. Is Chien Ming Wang all but gone? Where do you think he winds up?
CMW's a goner. He'll probably head out to LA to be with Joe Torre and Larry Bowa again, though another team like the Cardinals or Brewers or even the Mets might get in on it. It's a shame, he was rock solid for them for a few years, but it's been a major downward spiral since that fluke foot injury.
6. What were your thoughts on the New Stadium this season? Where do you think improvements could be made?
I love the New Stadium. Up until I went away to college, I had only gone to games in the Old Yankee Stadium and Shea, so once I got out to new parks like Petco and PNC Park, my head exploded. It was like, "holy cow, what else am I missing out on?" I miss the old place for sure, there was just something about it, but I love love love the extra wide open air concourses, the wider seats, the better concessions, the bigger bathrooms, etc.
As for improvements, they really need to fix Monument Park. It's hidden under the restaurant in center, and it should be out on full display. The ticket prices are a problem, but only the super expensive Legends Seats. Everything else is pretty reasonable.
7. Damaso Marte went from a massive Goat to the only reliable bullpen arm, outside of Mo, in the postseason. Was this an aberration or will he dominate Left Handers in 2010?
Marte came back from the WBC with a shoulder injury he said he suffered while weightlifting, so he was hurt in April when he was getting crushed. The guy's got a very long track record of being one of the better lefty relievers in the game, so now that he's healthy, I expect him to remain effective. Obviously, I don't think he'll continue to be as good as he was in the postseason, when he completely locked down Utley, Howard, and Ibanez, but he'll be more than just fine out there.
8. What are your thoughts on Jesus Montero? Have you seen him play? Does he project as the Yankees catcher for a long time?
I haven't seen Montero play personally, but my goodness, can that kid hit. He's got the best bat of any Yankee prospect since Jeter, and that's not hyperbole. Part of it has to do with the fact that the Yanks had an abysmal farm system for a while, but mostly it's because he can flat out rake. It's not hard to envision him as a 30-35 homer guy, which is no small feat for a righty hitter in Yankee Stadium.
As for the whole catching thing ... I'm not so sure that's going to work. The Yanks are committed to keeping him back there until he absolutely proves he can't handle it, which is the right thing to do. If catching doesn't work, they'll try him out in a corner outfield spot. The Yanks don't want to lock him in at DH at such a young age, and he's obviously not taking over at first any time soon. It might end up being a situation where his bat is so good, they'll find ways to get him in the lineup, whether it's catcher, DH, leftfield occasionally. That's what they did with Nick Johnson before trading him.
9. With an entire offseason to relax with Kate Hudson and heal up his hip, what do you expect A-Rod's final 2010 numbers to look like?
Probably like they have for the last decade - .300-.400-.600ish with 40 or so homers. He is doing so well coming back from the first hip surgery that he didn't even need to have the second. The start of the season was so hard for A-Rod between the PED stuff and the hip, that when he came back he seemed to just not give a shit about anything, just baseball. He's an amazing player, easily the best hitter the Yankees have had during my lifetime.
10. Will the Yankees repeat in 2010?
Of course. They wouldn't have it any other way.