Well, I am sure by now all of you are aware that Cliff Lee has chosen to go back to the team that dumped him for prospects in the middle of negotiating a long term deal. Of course, some people had made the comments at the time that they can get him back and keep all the prospects and lo and behold this is what happened. Now even though I said that at the time, I did not think the Phillies were part of the discussions for Lee, but it makes perfect sense. It is also in line with why I thought it was silly for them not to keep Lee when they got Halladay. The Phillies are without question the team to beat; they are the best team in the majors right now.
Boston is also much better than last year and should be very tough this year with a healthier lineup.
That being said, I am not down on the Yankees or Cashman. There was something about Lee that didn’t seem to be “Yankee” to me. I also was not fully comfortable with signing a guy at 32 for 7 years, especially a pitcher who was in the minors just a few years ago and had some straining issues in his back. I am not saying Lee doesn’t make a team much better, he does, but I am saying that I am much more comfortable opening up the checkbook to get a guy in a 5-7 year deal when he is 27 instead of 32. I want him for his prime years, not the diminishing ones. It also looks like Philly actually spent more for Lee than the Yanks offered and they have a lot of money committed. It is smart though as they have built a dynasty over the last few years that will continue at least 2 more.
If the Yankees continue to make the Tex and CC signings the Yanks will be better in the long run and while this is a setback for this upcoming year, I think it is actually better for the Yanks in the future years.
Now what do we do? First, I would let Andy know we really want/need him back. Second, I would explore trades with teams with quality arms. But, our team is still good. While Swisher played above expectations, I am not sure anyone else did on the offense. Gardner overall will not play worse and in fact before he hurt his wrist, Gardner was a star so maybe he is that guy? ARod and Jeter should both be better and Granderson and his new hitting style should be a little better. Posada should not be better, but as a DH he should be better than what we had this year (Thames was good though). Burnett can’t be worse and Nova should be able to step into the starting rotation and not be worse than Vazquez. Pettitte, even if he comes back won’t be as good and this is a concern, but Hughes should be better. Mitre right now would be the 5th guy. Obviously, Burnett needs to get back to a low 4 ERA guy or the rotation has holes.
Overall, my point is that this team should be better than last year IF Pettitte comes back and we spend the rest of our money wisely. One area that I am not thrilled we are looking is Russell Martin. I have to admit I have not watched him play, but his bat for the last 2 years has been weak and while his defense is reportedly good, I have no scouting on him to confirm. The point is that I had heard that some large dollars were being thrown around and this only works if the Yanks are trading Montero for a top pitcher. Maybe this is in the works, but if Montero is as good as advertised we could use him in the lineup and I don’t see why the money for Martin?
We will be fine, we just need to look at every solid player and target a few than fit our needs. We don’t want to spend all our money just because we have it, wait and spend at the right time!
At least we only have to worry about Lee in the World Series!