In honor of me being on vacation, today's fill-in host gets to be played by loyal reader/commenter extraordinaire, themarksmith. I'm happy to present his plan to fix the Yanks for 2oo9:
First, the rotation needs a facelift. Sabathia would indeed be he logical choice as the Yankees have the money to spend, so barring CC wanting to go elsewhere, there really isn't a reason he won't be wearing a Yankee uniform next season. That puts a dominant 1-2-3 punch in Sabathia, Wang, and Chamberlain. As for Mussina and Pettite, I would re-sign one and maybe the other depending on how much they cost. I know Mussina seems to be the logical choice, but he does turn 40 next year so I'd give him a thorough physical before re-signing him (Have you watched the Braves this season?). You might lose production with Pettite, but somehow, I think both funnel back toward the middle of how each has done this year. In the final spot, Hughes should be able to step in there. He has injury issues, but he has quite a bit of talent. The Yankees might have put too much pressure on he and Kennedy this year with the rotation not being very good and the Santana trade situation. With Sabathia, Wang, Joba, and Mussina/Pettite before him, Hughes will be able to relax a bit more.
For the bullpen, Mariano is still there in the ninth. Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Brian Bruney, and Chris Britton could fill in the bulk of the spots. They still need two spots. Brian Fuentes and Juan Cruz? There will be a few options in the free-agent market for relievers, so things should be okay here.
As for the lineup, there should be changes. Posada, for better or worse, is the Yankee catcher next season. At first, make a move for Tex. Money is never an issue, and Tex makes the Yankees younger, which is something they need. Keep Cano at second. I think this year is just a bump in the road, and you'd probably be selling low by trading him. Jeter, again for better or worse, is at short, but I think he'll hit better next year (and if he hits well, who cares about his defense? I didn't hear much about his defense while up for the MVP last season and the season before, but his defense couldn't have been much better). A-Rod is at third. I would re-sign Abreu for right but find something to do with Matsui. He may not bring much back, but he'd be an upgrade for many teams. Right now, he's just an injury waiting to happen (They're both surprisingly the same age. I didn't know that). Center is a place to make a decision. How good is Cabrera? I think a trade is in order. Bring up Jackson to play center. He's ripped AA pitching this season, and if it is a bit of a jump, Brett Gardner could also be called up after hitting well in AAA. I don't think there would be much dropoff. In left or right, keep Nady as he hits his prime. As for DH, keep Matsui or Damon. On second thought, trade Damon and keep Matsui. The DH spot should (maybe) keep Matsui healthy.
Here's the lineup.
The Yankees should be a tough team next season. I think getting younger makes them healthier. The question mark appears to be Posada and if he can return as a catcher (if not, maybe put him at DH?), but keep Molina just in case. Otherwise, if they get Sabathia, that staff will keep them in every game.
Some interesting thoughts, Mark. The comments section is now open for YOUR thoughts. Have at it.