Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Monday, November 10, 2008
Move across the street just part of Yankees' makeover

By Sean McAdam
Special to ESPN.com

In their final year at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 1993, ending the longest such stretch in baseball. The Yankees got next to nothing out of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, two young pitchers who were to be keys to 2008.

Moving across the street to a new ballpark, the Yankees will reap still more revenue and indications are, unlike the past few offseasons, they intend to flex their fiscal might again.

NEW YORK YANKEES
GM: Brian Cashman
Manager: Joe Girardi
'08 record: 89-73, 3rd in AL East
New York Yankees '08 payroll: $207.1M, 1st MLB
Runs scored: 789, 7th AL
Runs allowed: 727, 9th AL
OPS: .769, 5th AL
ERA: 4.28, 8th AL
Fielding percentage: .986, T-1st AL

Primary needs

The Yankees need starting pitching, especially if Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina don't return. They could use another run producer, perhaps at first base, and would do well to upgrade their defense in center field.

Free agents

1B Jason Giambi (option), C Ivan Rodriguez, OF Bobby Abreu, RHP Carl Pavano, LHP Andy Pettitte, RHP Mike Mussina, LHP Damaso Marte (option), RHP Sidney Ponson

Mussina has indicated to friends that he expects to retire. Pettitte might want two years to come back. Abreu wishes to return and probably will. Giambi would have to take a massive pay cut in order to return.

Robinson Cano

Cano

Melky Cabrera

Cabrera

Trade bait

Two underachieving everyday players -- second baseman Robinson Cano and center fielder Melky Cabrera -- could be had, though both have seen their market value sink after poor seasons. Unlike last year, the Yanks would probably include a prized young starter if they could land a power bat at first or a front-line starter.

Farm aid

Relief prospect Mark Melancon could see some action in the bullpen before long. Outfielder Austin Jackson is perhaps the most intriguing position player, but needs additional time to develop.

The Yankees would be satisfied if some of their other young pitchers (Kennedy, Hughes, etc.) stayed healthy and contributed more at the major league level.

Outlook

This will be a significant offseason for the Yankees. Given their resources, they'll be able to outspend 29 other teams for free agents. If they choose wisely and fill two holes in the starting rotation and improve their defense in the outfield and at first base, they can be a playoff threat again.

Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald covers baseball for ESPN.com.