Since I would want nothing more than to be the GM of a Major League Baseball team, I will first start with the New York Yankees. I will attempt to "fix" a 94 win team, that does have some promise, found mostly in their starting rotation. And they [will] be a threat next season. They may be in disarray, seemingly. But they will address their problems as they have many resources to work with.
This would be my first move, and it may sound stupid to some, but it would make the team better. Part of the move would be this, which would take place even sooner: Giambi is gone (which isn’t the surprising part). Whichever team will take him, I do not care. I would absorb some of his contract, but he is out. He has been a distraction for a while now, and seems to be on the decline, being a known PED user doesn’t help either. And if I am the GM, this does matter to me. Why wouldn’t it?
Now back to that controversial move: Derek Jeter moves to first base. His range has declined a lot, and it would fit much more comfortably at first. He has a stong arm which would not matter as much here as it did at short, but having a strong arm at any position on the field is an asset. He has a good glove and should be able to handle the hot shots down the line, at least well enough. And his offense is good enough to bring value from any position on the field. And I am serious about this, I think Jeter needs to move away from the shortstop position, it would make the team better.
At second base they have a star in the making: Robinson Cano. He brings a great bat, with a little less patience than they would like, but he will probably be able to improve on that. They are set at this position for many years.
I would re-sign Abreu in right field. He is the definition of what the Yankees have in mind when at the plate. I may even stick him at DH a lot of the time if I couldn’t rid of Damon and make that big free-agent splash below, as he isn’t the most fluent outfielder, even with that short porch where he covers less ground.
Joe Dimaggio, Bernie Williams, Melky Cabrera. The center fielder of the future? Maybe not, but he could be for at least 08.’ And they could sign Torri Hunter, Andruw Jones, etc. But Aaron Rowand would be the only one that I would go after, the other ones will be significantly overpaid. And realistically, I would take a shot at Rowand, as he plays each game as though it is his last. This would make Cabrera the fourth outfielder again, where he may belong.
I would trade Johnny Damon, and keep left fielder Hideki Matsui for another year. He was still a productive player, even though he struggled at the end of the season. And in trading Damon, I would absorb some of the contract also. Damon should have a better year in 08,’ but I don’t think that he would have some great impact that would be missed by the organization.
The two positions left, shortstop and third base. I first evaluate if ARod could make the transition to shortstop once again. If not, I [may] resign him and leave him at third. I probably wouldn’t resign him for that money from where I am sitting, but if I was the GM I would have an idea of how much income he would generate if he makes a push at the home run record, etc. So logically I probably leave ARod at third. And sign a filler player, thinking of defense at short. Maybe Vizquel as he is still good with the glove, but lacks offense. But it would only be a one year contract.
Jorge Posada is definitely resigned. I mean unless they can find a good, young catcher [this] season to work with the youg pitchers (Hughes, Joba, Kennedy) than what are they going to do? Posada is resigned.
The big free agent signing that I would hopefully make is Adam Dunn. He could DH for this team and give protection to ARod. And that short porch in right would make for a nice target. And I know he strikes out a ton, but he walks a ton too. He has drawn 100+ walks in four consecutive seasons. His career average is at .248 but his career OBP sits at an impressive .381. And he is only 27, so a long term contract, say five years, would not be a big deal at all, especially with the money that I would be working with.
The rotation is fairly easy. Live and die with the good youthful pitching in the organization. Joba, Hughes, Wang, Kennedy, and unless they have some other young arm who could fill that fifth spot then they might have to stay with Mussina, at least in the beginning. They could take a chance on Jon Lieber or something, but that may not solve the problem either, although may be a better option than Mussina.
The bullpen is going to be the biggest problem, by far. Joba is going to be in the rotation, which is the right move, but then there is no Joba in the pen. They almost have to resign Rivera. And they may have to keep either Farnsworth or Vizcaino, or both. Put it this way, it will be tough to make this a good bullpen next year. They may have to take chances on a few players, or work internally with this issue. Ohlendorf may be in the pen, I do not know, and would know a lot more about the options they have here if I had the information that Cashman has.
So hypothetically speaking, this would be my opening day lineup:
Or something like that anyway. I know that Vizquel is an offensive liability, but feel that one [weak] spot in the lineup isn’t all that big of a deal. And Cabrera may not be a long-term solution, but he isn’t bad either. He is just about an average offensive player, and moving Jeter up to the leadoff spot, and in turn moving everyone up a spot, would be an option if he struggled a lot. But he should be around average, and they could help him develop his ability to take a walk if him leading off was a serious consideration. I would have the most important positions, outside of catcher, focused on the defensive side of the ball, Vizquel and Melky.
The one thing I would seriously have to evaluate though, is Melky leading off. OBP is the key here at the top of the order. That should be his main focus, and he is only 22, while already being league average in that category. So it isn’t out of the question to say he could get his OBP up to say .355 I don’t think. Especially with the added protection of batting first for the entire season. Or if I truly felt uncomfortable with him here, I could keep Damon around. But I personally, would prefer to rid of Damon. Although having him might help some.
Anyway, this was just for fun, and am interested in hearing your opinions.