Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Look At Me, I Can Be...

Everyone is talking about it, and since my main focus today was on those blasted New York Knicks, I think I’ll have my try at this whole lineup shakeup that’s been in the news this morning.

In case you get all your news from this here site (you’re missing out on a lot, I have to say), here are the developments we’ve seen thus far:

Torre is thinking about moving Jeter or A-Rod to center.
This is probably in reaction to reports that the Blue Jays are poised to offer Brian Giles a 5 year, $55 million deal (no link to this because it’s mere speculation at this point).
It is also relevant to note there that Carl Pavano reportedly is unhappy in New York and may ask the Yankees to trade him (though they are in no way obliged to do so).

The initial reactions in the Internet community have been swift, and have covered just about every angle imaginable. This is what you get when you present such a situation to guys with a lot of time on their hands.

Normally, I try to avoid these issues – especially when they involve the Yankees – until the dust settles and the situation can be viewed more clearly. But I’m bored, and this has morphed into something much larger than it actually is, so why the hell not throw out a few ideas? Please note that none of these constitutes the solution, or even a practical idea for that matter. It’s just a course of action the Yankees could take given these new developments.

(Further note that the most likely course of action is the status quo. Keeping A-Rod and Jeter at their current positions and trading for Jason Michaels for a platoon with Bubba in center seems the most likely/doable scenario. But this wouldn’t be the Yankees off-season if we weren’t thrown bones like this.)

Scenario One: dish Pavano to Arizona for Troy Glaus.
Why It Would Work: Arizona is still hungry for pitching, especially considering their obligation to deal Javy Vazquez before March. Plus, they have Chad Tracy ready to go at third, so Glaus becomes a bit more expendable. Glaus at third, A-Rod at short, Jeter in center. Sounds good to me.
Why It’s 100 Percent Unfeasible: Remember a year ago when the Yanks dished Arizona a pitcher following the frist year of a multi-year deal? And remember when he demanded a trade a few weeks ago? I’m sure Arizona won’t want that headache two years in a row.

Scenario Two: sign Furcal, move Jete to center.
Why It Would Work: Furcal is one of the most valuable free agents on the market along with one of the youngest. Sure, he’d come at an inflated price tag, but if you’re going to overpay, you might as well overpay for youth rather than geezers. Not only would Furcal provide more than adequate defense at shortstop, but he is a viable leadoff hitter, moving Jeter to the two hole where he is not only more comfortable, but more of a threat.
Why It’s 100 Percent Unfeasible: Because Jete ain’t moving to center field. Sorry, it had to be said at some point or another. There is a much better chance of A-Rod going there, but even then I don’t see a move happening. In addition, I don’t think Furcal would be too keen on playing shortstop in the Bronx. He said he wants to play for a winner, and surely the Yanks could offer him significant monetary compensation as well, but he has more ideal scenarios in Chicago and Atlanta.

Scenario Three: NOMAH! for third, A-Rod to center (or A-Rod to short, Jete to center).
Why It Would Work: IF Nomar can stay injury free, IF he can demonstrate bat speed near his prime years, IF he hasn’t lost a step defensively, then maybe this would work. Plus, what would be a better knife to stick into the side of the Red Sox than a healthy, happy and effective Nomar?
Why It’s 100 Percent Unfeasible: I capitalized the ifs for a reason. This is a transaction that has the potential to blow up right in the face of the Yankees right away. The positive is a high-risk, high reward situation, but if I was a Vegas odds maker, I’d give Nomar a 10-1 chance of playing 140 games this season. Not very promising. Plus, even if he does play those 140 games, there’s no guarantee he is still nearly as effective as the Nomar who faced the Yankees in a Boston uniform.

Scenario Four: Bill Mueller to third, A-Rod to center (or A-Rod to short, Jete to center).
Why It Would Work: The Red Sox and the Yankees have similar philosophies in building teams that boils down to plate discipline. Mueller fits this mold perfectly, and in addition plays a solid third base. A long-term investment wouldn’t be necessary due to Mueller’s age. Once again, if he has a good season, it’s just another knife in the side of the Red Sox.
Why It’s 100 Percent Unfeasible: The whole age thing and injury history. This is another gamble similar to the Garciaparra scenario above. And if I have to mention it again, I will: I just don’t see Jeter or A-Rod moving to center.

Scenario Five: Pavano, Jorge, and Eric Duncan (maybe Aaron Small) to Philly for Bobby Abreu, Mike Lieberthal, and Jason Michaels
Why It Would Work: Another huge bat in the Yankees lineup with Abreu. Two large contracts that expire following the ’06 (Lieberthal) and ’07 (Abreu) seasons. Sheffield out of the outfield and to the full time DH. The center field platoon that everyone has been talking about (Bubba/Michaels). Pavano’s sorry ass out of New York. Trading Eric Duncan at what could be the height of his value.
Why It’s 100 Percent Unfeasible: I’m still not so keen on giving up Duncan at this point, and I’m not sure Cashman is either. But that’s about it on the Yankees side, which makes the unfeasibility of this deal clear: why would Philly ever consummate such a transaction? Maybe Gillick is just a secret Yankees agent in the Phillies system? Anyway, I would hesitate on this one, but ultimately jump on it, which means it’s obviously not going to happen.

Notice how exactly zero of these ideas mention the names Wang and Cano. That at least brings some semblance of a smile to my face. Still, the only scenarios that I find remotely appealing are Two and Five, which coincidentally are the least feasible ideas here. It is nice, however, to see the Yankees getting to work in ways that don’t involve swallowing huge contracts in free agency.

At this point, if Giles is in fact playing the Yanks, simply acquiring Michaels from Philly may be the best option, especially if he can be had for J-Wright (I’d rather ship him off than Small). And as much as some of you will vehemently disagree, signing The Big Hurt for DH purposes might not be the worst option in the world. However, that is an issue that needs a bit more exploration, and I certainly can’t get that done by the end of this paragraph. Better to save it for another day.