Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yankees Continue Prep for New Decade

We're down to the final two days of 2009 and the Yankees continue to ready themselves for defense of their 27th world championship.

The left field spot is still up for grab, with no firm commitment to Brett Gardner, who would play either left or center (with Curtis Granderson shifting to left). The Yankees grabbed Jamie Hoffman in the Rule V draft, but I really don't see the Yankees going with an inexperienced player for that spot on their 25 man roster. Hoffman will likely be offered back to the Dodgers.
Jason Bay, though he was never seriously considered by the Yankees, has been removed from contention with his signing by the Mets. The Cardinals are said to be trying to work a long term deal, possibly as long as eight years, to keep Matt Holliday in St. Louis. The amount is thought to be around $100 million, well beyond what the Yankees would spend at this point.

So what's "left" out there. One Johnny Damon. But that will only occur if Damon and his agent Scott Boras considerably lower their demands.

Xavier Nady, whom the Yankees acquired from Pittsburgh in '07, missed basically all of last year with elbow surgery. His asking price is said to be too high, plus there is a question as to whether he'd be able to play the outfield this season.

Another option that I, as well as some other readers have wondered, is what about Marlon Byrd. Byrd was once a top prospect in the Phillies organization, but flopped. He became a serviceable part time player at the age of 30 in 2007. Last season Byrd played in a career high 146 games for the Texas Rangers and posted career highs with 20 HR and 89 RBI. Byrd was also give the Yankees another right-handed bat.

Rick Ankiel had a bust out season in 2008, but injured his shoulder last season and didn't produce. He might come cheaper, but his shoulder is a major question mark. Another problem is Scott Boras is his agent. He most likely won't have Ankiel agree to a deal until Damon does in order to set his asking price.

Former A's prospect Javier Herrera was signed to a minor league contract on 12/22. He was highly touted in the A's organization, but injuries and less than adequate output has kept him from fulfilling his promise. He's not likely an option.

Clearly I was way off base with my thoughts that Cashman was still lurking for Bay or Holliday. So now maybe he's lurking for Damon.

So where does that leave us? Nowhere at the moment. It's still Brett Gardner's job for now.

UPDATE - 12/31
You can scratch Marlon Byrd from the list as well. The Cubs and Byrd have reportedly agreed to a three year deal.

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