Our analysis: Take 'em or Trash 'em

October, 22, 2011
10/22/11
12:42
PM ET
For Yankees fans, the offseason is usually like Christmas.

Across the New York City area, they wonder what players -- or gifts -- their team will buy to add to an already talented group of veterans and emerging homegrown prospects.

Albert Pujols? Prince Fielder? C.J. Wilson? This offseason, the possibilities seem endless.

(The $200 million Yankees have a budget? They already have a first baseman locked into a massive contract? Who cares! They’re the Yankees, for goodness' sake! Figure something out!)

But before the Yankees can open their checkbook in free agency, their brass will evaluate the team internally.

Where are their strengths? Where are their weaknesses? What players need to stay, and what players need to go.

ESPNNewYork.com gave Yankees fans the chance to play GM in this offseason's version of Take 'em or Trash 'em.

You voted. Now here's what we found:

1. A changing of the guard: Remember when this used to be A-Rod, Tex and the Captain's team? Not anymore, it seems. The top four vote-getters were Robinson Cano (98 percent take him), Curtis Granderson (97 percent), David Robertson (96 percent) and Ivan Nova (96 percent). Cano and Granderson were the Yankees' two best hitters this season, Robertson blossomed as the best setup man in baseball, and Nova -- as a rookie -- came out of nowhere to give the Yankees another front-end-of-the-rotation starter. Yes, things have certainly changed in the Bronx.

2. Most hated Yankee: It's gotta be Alex Rodriguez, right? Not exactly. A-Rod (55 percent trash him) did get plenty of hate from the voters -- those two strikeouts in Game 5 of the ALDS couldn't have helped his cause -- but it didn't come close to Scott Proctor (92 percent). As we know, A-Rod and the six years and $143 million left on his contract -- plus $30 million for home run milestones and record-breaking incentives -- will be sticking around for a while. As will A.J. Burnett (77 percent -- two years, $33 million remaining) and Rafael Soriano (54 percent -- two years, $25 million, assuming no opt-out). Good times.

3. Biggest surprise: Debatable. But the results on Jorge Posada (74 percent trash) and Nick Swisher (66 percent take) are both interesting. Posada was terrible during the regular season -- especially against lefties -- but led the Yankees with a .429 batting average in the playoffs. And given how much he has meant to the organization, it was eyebrow-raising. Equally surprising was Swisher who, despite endearing himself to the Bleacher Creatures, has done almost nothing in the postseason. As our own Wallace Matthews reported, Swisher is likely to be back -- the Yankees have an option year on him. Still, his lack of clutch hitting has got to be a concern going forward. Other surprises: CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira both got the same percentage (85 take).

4. Have you all gotten soft? Isn't the Yankees' mentality championship or bust? Or are you starting to realize that money only buys playoff appearances, not titles. (Or in the case of the 2011 Red Sox, just Bud Light, Popeyes and "Halo 3.") Either way, despite a first-round playoff exit, the Steinbrenners (80 percent take), Brian Cashman (82 percent) and Joe Girardi (71 percent) all received positive feedback from the fanbase. The question is, how long will that last?

5. Takeaways: The fans and organization seem to be on the same page -- this offseason should be about pitching, pitching and more pitching. Aside from Burnett, the fans don't want veterans Freddy Garcia (69 percent trash) and Bartolo Colon (82 percent) back for another go. So it's up to Cashman -- assuming he is back, of course -- to get creative.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 22
RBIB. McCann 71
RB. Gardner 84
OPSB. Gardner .760
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.77
SOM. Tanaka 139