There are a couple ways I wanted to go with this particular look back. I wanted to go back to when the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez initially but then there would be too many possibilities. But, I found that it was a lot more feasible to discuss what might have occurred if the Yankees had chosen not to resign him in 2007.
After all it was perfectly reasonable that the Yankees would not resign A-Rod. Scott Boras operated in such a way that it was certainly possible the Yankees had had enough of dealing with Alex Rodriguez’s massive contract. They had offered him $230 million dollars and had previously said that they would not play around with A-Rod if he opted out.
So the Yankees do not sign Rodriguez which leaves 3rd base open. Here are a few possibilities:
RED SOX SIGN ALEX RODRIGUEZ
Despite the idea that Boston would never want to sign A-Rod because they dislike Boras or did not believe that A-Rod was a “Boston” guy, in reality it would make complete sense for them to sign him. With Mike Lowell’s contract up, they could sign Rodriguez to a huge contract and generate even more publicity for their campaign to defend their World Series title.
YANKEES SIGN MIKE LOWELL
In need of a 3rd basemen, the Yankees sign Mike Lowell away from Boston. This has the added benefit of slighting the Red Sox while gaining Lowell, who at the time, was regarded as a very potent third basemen. There was serious interest in Lowell on the part of the Yankees so do not mistake this as just a rumor. They might have even signed him even if they brought A-Rod back.
YANKEES SIGN MARK TEXEIRA
Pretty easy to see that this signing would still have occurred.
YANKEES MOVE ROBINSON CANO to third base and sign (gulp) LUIS CASTILLO
Of all the other free agent second basemen available, Castillo makes the most sense for the Yankees. His career average was around .300 and he was a fairly good defensive second basemen who might have have been able to replace Cano’s production at 2nd base.
Recap of the Yankees Starting lineup:
WITH LOWELL AND TEIXEIRA
1. Jeter SS
2. Damon LF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Matsui DH
5. Posada C
6. Cano 2B
7. Lowell 3B
8. Swisher RF
9. Cabrera CF
WITH CASTILLO AND TEIXEIRA AND CANO AT 3RD
1. Jeter SS
2. Damon LF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Matsui DH
5. Posada C
6. Cano 3B
7. Swisher RF
8. Castillo 2B
9. Cabrera CF
I have to say, even if one were to take into account the extra money that could be freed up to buy a pitcher, it would have been a very bad move to put Cano at 3rd and sign Castillo, or really any other 2nd basemen because the 2007 class was not stellar at that position. With Lowell and Teixeira in the lineup it looks infinitely better but, upon comparison to the lineup the Yankees have today with Rodriguez both of these lineups simply do not compare.
Here is why:
Curtis Granderson would eliminate the Yankees need to re-sign Johnny Damon, or Hideki Matsui, and he would add pop to the lineup AND speed. Granderson, who hit .249 with 30 HR and 71 RBI, is only 28 years old. Granderson was signed to a five-year, $30.25 million deal with a club option for 2013 with the Tigers in February 2008. The Yankees could easily pay that contract.
Edwin Jackson was an all-star in 2009. He went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. The Yankees could use Jackson as their 3rd starter, which would eliminate the need to sign a John Lackey, or Jason Marquis type of pitcher. Jackson is being paid about $2 Million a year.
So the question remains: What would it take to get BOTH in a trade?
Here is my offer:
CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
Here is my REAL offer:
Melky Cabrera, Reegie Corona, Josh Schmidt, and Austin Romine for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
Is that too much? Too little? Good trade? Bad trade? Explain in the comments!
UPDATE: 2:01 PM: Apparently I don’t know enough about prospects, as it seems like it will take either one of the Yankees big prospects (Hughes, Joba) and an additional prospect/OR a bunch of major prospects such as Zach McAllister, Ian Kennedy, etc.
With Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira winning gold gloves, as well as Jeter winning the Roberto Clemente Award and Hank Aaron Award for being the best hitter in the American League, the recognition of the brilliance of the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees has rightfully continued (Yahoo Sports). This team was a truly masterful collection of great defense, even better hitting, and very good pitching. But, the Yankee defense has been largely overlooked throughout the course of the season despite being one of the best in the league. These awards have acknowledged that defense remains very important in the run to a championship.
The Yankees do not have a flashy defense but rely more on sound defensive play with the occasional top ten plays candidate. Jeter, who has been constantly assaulted for his poor defense in recent years, made a career-low 8 errors and had an astounding .986 fielding percentage. Even with a great first basemen it is clear that Jeter remains a top fielder as there is no way that Teixeira’s play was the sole cause for Jeter’s great defense during the 2009 season. Many people have accused Jeter of being one of the worst defensive shortstops in the league based on new statistical analysis. It speaks volumes, however, about his defense that he won an award that was voted on by the opposing teams who would not give him the award simply because he was Derek Jeter.
Teixeira’s defense during the postseason saved him from a great deal of attacks on his fortitude and ability to perform under pressure. Anyone who watched any Yankee game this year probably saw at least one play that Teixeira made that saved an error, a run, or stopped a base runner from advancing. He was a much needed improvement over past first basemen whose defensive skills were desperately lacking. He made the entire infield better by taking pressure off of Robinson Cano, Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez and just allowed them to concentrate on making the play rather than worry about throwing a strike to first.
Defense in many other sports is often the key to winning a championship. In baseball pitching is essentially the primary defense that any team has. For the Yankees their pitching and hitting led them to the World Series title but the defense certainly helped them get there so it is great to see the defense be rewarded with the Gold Glove Awards for Jeter and Teixeira.
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When my wife and I got married, we’d only known each other for two and a half months. There were many skeptics. When I told my father the news, he said something that has stayed with me to this day: “these things,” he said “are not measured by how they begin, they are measure by how they end”. I think this is an appropriate criteria for the 2009 New York Yankees. To say that we had an inauspicious beginning is an understatement, I’m not much for hyperbole but consider the following:
- Before the first pitch of spring training The Yankees had to deal with Alex Rodriguez’ steroid circus, the accusation, the mea culpa press conference, and concerns over A-Rod’s mental fortitude to deal with it all.
- Then it seems that the universe was piling it on to A-Rod, books by Selena Roberts and Joe Torre painted an even dimer view of Rodriguez in and out of the locker room. He pulls out of the World Baseball Classic with a hip injury, has surgery, and misses the first few weeks of the year.
- CC Sabathia labored during his first few outings
- Teixeira had his infamous slow start in April
- Going 0-for-8 against the Red Sox to start the season, were criticism of Girardi’s over-managing gained momentum
- Chien-Ming Wang goes 1-for-6 with a 9.64 ERA, hurts his shoulder, then his foot
The Yankees were 8 back of the Red Sox before getting it together in June and turning their season around in a hurry to get to their 27th Championship. Everything came together for this team, the pitching solidified, the offense became more consistent, the defense was sharp, all things that can be attributed to talent and execution. But then we began to notice other aspects of their game develop, the kinds of things that make a team special or at least poised for something great.
Things that we notice which excite us a fans and makes us wonder aloud: this could be the year. Two-out rallies, numerous comeback wins, consistent contributions from the bottom of the lineup, scoring almost 1/2 of their runs after the 6th inning, poise at the plate, working the count, no desperation when loosing by a few runs, bullpen contributions. These characteristics are the result of more than talent and execution, they are the tangible result of team character and chemistry.
Even after winning 103 games, the most in the league, there were questions about the way that Girardi was setting up the pitching rotation, the Joba experiment, would A-Rod finally come through in the postseason, can Sabathia improve his postseason record specially when asked to pitch with 3 days rest, how can the Yankees loose Posada’s bat in order to accommodate AJ Burnett with Molina behind the plate, which Burnett would show up…but this team embraced a blue collar approach and was determined to work through any obstacles to be victorious at the end.
The Yankees did not hesitate in their approach to the job at hand, they did not shy away from challenges, they didn’t get too high or too low, and they did not allow for doubt to permeate their thoughts. They were clear in their purpose and continued to do what was necessary to become World Champions. No one in sports is under more pressure to finish the job than the New York Yankees, to whom much is given much is expected, and finish the job they did. This is how things end, not with a whimper, but with the bang of fireworks and the loud proclamation that the 2009 New York Yankees are World Champions.
The Yankees defeated the Phillies tonight 7-3, and won the World Series in six games. With tonights victory the Yankees have 27 World Series victories and 40 pennants.
-Clutchest Pitcher in baseball history=Mariano Rivera
-Only the Yankees fans would go crazy over not winning a World Series in 10 years. In a place like Kansas City, making the playoffs twice in 10 years is an amazing feat.
-I was in Philadelphia earlier today and I was booed heavily (I wore a Yankees jersey)
-I was cursed at by two 80-year-old ladies and challenged to a fight by a teenage girl
-Philadelphia has great food, so they at least have that going for them
-Damaso Marte just skyrocketed his status with the Yankees fans. What a postseason for him.
-This could have been Andy Pettite’s last career game.
-What a postseason for Hideki Matsui. It will be very tough not to bring him back next year….don’t be surprised if the White Sox sign Damon and the Yankees sign Matsui/Bay/Holliday.
-Cano needs to step it up in the clutch.
-The Yankees won the World Series.
-Spike Lee is one impressive fan.
-Alex Rodriguez finally won a World Series.
-The Yankees won the World Series
-Tough loss for the Phillies, even tougher for dirt-bag Jimmy Rollins. (I don’t mind any other player on the team)
-THE YANKEES WON THE WORLD SERIES
AJ Burnett gets rocked early, Yankees unable to complete the comeback late
FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 6 PHILLIES 8 (F9th)
- Top of the 1st: Johnny Damon singles to center field. Alex Rodriguez doubles to right field, Damon scores (NYY 1, PHI 0)
- Bottom of the 1st: Jimmy Rollins singles to center field. Shane Victorino hit by pitch. Chase Utley homers to right field. Rollins, Victorino, & Utley scores (NYY 1, PHI 3)
- Bottom of the 3rd: Chase Utley walks. Ryan Howard walks. Jayson Werth singles to center field. Utley scores, Howard to 2nd base (NYY 1, PHI 4)
- Bottom of the 3rd: Raul Ibanez singles to right field. Howard scores, Werth to 3rd (NYY 1, PHI 5)
- Bottom of the 3rd: Carlos Ruiz grounds into a force out, Werth scores (NYY 1, PHI 6)
- Top of the 5th: Eric Hinske draws a 1-out walk. Derek Jeter singles to right field, Hinske to 3rd. Johnny Damon gounds out softly to first base, Hinske scores (NYY 2, PHI 6)
- Bottom of the 7th: Chase Utley homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 7)
- Bottom of the 7th: Raul Ibanez homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 8)
- Top of the 8th: Johnny Damon gets an infield hit. Mark Teixeira doubles to left field, Damon to 3rd. Alex Rodriguez doubles to left field, Damon & Teixeira scores (NYY 4, PHI 8)
- Top of the 8th: Nick Swisher moves the runner (ARod) to 3rd on a ground out to 1st. Robinson Cano out on a sacrifice out, Rodriguez scores (NYY 5, PHI 8)
- Top of the 9th: Jorge Posada doubles. Hideki Matsui singles to left field, Posada to 3rd. Derek Jeter hits into a double play, Posada scores (NYY 6, PHI 8)
STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)
- AJ Burnett: 2 innings, 4 hits allowed, 6 earned runs, 4 BB, 1 HR, 2 SO, 7.00 ERA
- Cliff Lee: 7 innings, 7 hits allowed, 5 earned runs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2.81 ERA
KEY PERFORMERS: Chase Utley 2-for 3 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI
OBSERVATIONS: 10 down, 1 to go.
The Yankees were unable to close out the series last night and there really are not very many positives that came out of that game. The only things I can say are that they were able to hit Cliff Lee and that Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon are really picking it up during the World Series. Other than that there is not much to be pleased about.
Last night I tried to find some more positives but couldn’t. I tried to convince myself that if Mark Teixeira had found a way to get on base, Rodriguez could have tied the game for us. This seemed perfectly reasonable at the time given how well he had been playing but today it just seems unreasonable because they had no business winning the game last night. How often are you going to win when the starting pitcher goes less than 3 innings, gives up 6 earned runs, and the bullpen gives up two more insurance homeruns? The answer is pretty much never. Barring an historic collapse from Lee, the Yankees were going to go back to New York up 3-2 in the series and that is exactly what happened despite a decent effort in the 8th and 9th innings.
Placing aside my negativity concerning the game last night, however, I actually am not unduly worried or upset. Where normally I would be incredibly nervous about the Yankee’s chances to close it out, today I feel confident. Andy Pettitte, our wily veteran with more postseason wins than any other pitcher in history, is on the mound in Yankee stadium. Cliff Lee won’t be pitching for the Phillies tomorrow night. They are playing in a ballpark that has baffled opposing teams so far this postseason. And, there is nothing like the comfort of your own bed. Experience on the mound, not facing a dominant pitcher, and the comforts of home all lead me to believe that game 6 will be the final game in the World Series. The Yankees have too many things swaying in their favor. And, if all else fails and for some reason the Yankees cannot pull it out tomorrow, there is always the comforting fact that CC is waiting in the wings.