Monday, January 11, 2010

Yankees Offseason Update

Well with the New York Giants unable to continue its streak of postseason appearances I figured it was time to write about the Yankees and their offseason thus far.

The Yankees have made several trades in both adding and subtracting from last season's world champion roster. I'll go over a few of the trades and/or signings that have occurred.

1. The trade for Curtis Granderson.

The Yankees traded a few relievers and prospects to get outfielder Curtis Granderson in a three team blockbuster in order to improve their starting outfield during the Winter Meetings for the General Managers.  The Detroit Tigers traded Granderson for relievers Phil Coke and minor leaguer Austin Jackson, one of the highest rated prospects in the Yankees organization.  The Diamondbacks received Yankees starting pitcher Ian Kennedy and Tigers pitcher Edwin Jackson for two minor leaguers that went to the Tigers.  
Granderson will wear #14 for the Yankees because Joe Girardi will change his number from 27 to 28 in order to reinforce the Yankees goals of winning another championship.  Granderson was introduced to the media on December 17th.  He will not only bring major league experience to the outfield with his bat and glove but he'll also be a great edition to the New York area.  He is very involved with charities and intends on expanding his personal charity, "Grand Kids" foundation to the area.

2. Yankees trade for Javier Vazquez 
When Brian Cashman made this trade on December 22, I was at first very disappointed with him.   Although Vazquez had a relatively successful first stint in New York I am forever scarred of his performance in game seven of the 2004 ALCS, the series otherwise known as the most epic fail in sports history.  But after rethinking the deal, I realized Cashman made a very smart decision.  Javy has been one of the most reliable pitchers over the last five years, and gained his confidence back after becoming  the ace of the Atlanta Braves staff this past season.  The Yankees did not have to give up too much to get Vazquez either.  They traded under-achieving outfielder Melky Cabrera, reliever Mike Dunn and a pitching prospect to Atlanta and got back Vazquez as well as reliever Boone Logan, who is expected to take the vacated position of set up man Phil Coke. Vazquez should be the third or fourth starter for Girardi in the rotation, a low pressure situation compared to his last go around in New York. 

3. Yankees sign 1b/DH Nick Johnson
Another former Yankee returned to the Bronx this winter.  This was my least favorite signing thus far in the offseason.  Living outside of the DC Metro area, I experienced first hand Nick Johnson and how often he was injured for the Washington Nationals and how much money he was still making while on the DL.  Johnson missed almost two seasons after a freak accident while playing the New York Mets when he ran into former teammate Austin Kearns and broke his femur in 2006.  He made $5.5 million while rehabilitating the entire 2007 season.  Johnson was traded from the Nationals in the middle of the 2009 season to the Marlins.  Two good things about the Johnson trade.  The short porch in right field should allow his home run total to go up and we never have to see his awful beard ever again thanks to the Yankees no facial hair policy. 
However, by signing Johnson the Yankees essentially ended all hope of resigning OF/DH Johnny Damon. 

4. Yankees re-sign free agent pitcher Andy Pettitte
Almost everyone in Yankee nation knew this was going to happen even if Pettitte didn't know it himself yet.  This signing was the one of the most important signings the Yankees made over the offseason because Cashman re-solidified the starting rotation by keeping everyone from last season's powerful rotation and with the addition of Vazquez .  

5. Trade of Brian Bruney to the Nationals for Jamie Hoffmann (rule 5) 
The Yankees essentially dumped Bruney on the Nationals after a disappointing season filled with injury and an inflated ERA. In retun the Yankees received OF Hoffmann from the Nationals, a rule 5 pick.  It will be interesting to see if  Hoffmann is kept on the active roster throughout the season or if he'll be returned to the Nationals midway through the season.  The trade will be good for the Nats who desperately need relief pitching and is just a dumping of Bruney for the Yankees. 

Finally the only other topic I'd like to touch on is the Johnny Damon issue.
I personally am still hoping that Damon will return to the Yankees but my hopes are dwindling as the days continue to pass in January.  Damon thinks he should receive a two year contract worth $13 million a year.  Damon is well past his days of making that much money and the sooner him and his super agent,  Scott Boras realize that, the better.  For now, the Yankees are planning on moving on and saying Brett Gardner will be the starting LF and Johnson the starting DH.  But Cashman we've heard your bluff before, back in 2006 when you said Bubba Crosby was going to be the starting CF and you went out and brought Damon in.  For the sake of the Yankees clubhouse, I really hope Damon comes back.  He keeps the clubhouse loose and with the help of AJ Burnett last year, made the Yankees feel like a team on and off the field for the first time since the Dynasty Years.  Lord knows, we could all use another dynasty. 

That's it for now. Check back in soon!

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