QUITE FRANKLY: Open Checkbook For Yanks Better Be For Needs

While the World Series is being played out in "Tampa" and Philly, the Yankees are planning out their offseason plans in Tampa. Yea, their offices are actually in Tampa unlike the Rays who don't actually play there, but that's a story for another day. According to Mike Lupica of the Daily News the Yankees are ready to break the bank open to get back to the promise land. With about $80 million coming off the books this winter, it's almost certain that they will add that right back and may even surpass that.
"I'm not saying (the huge spending) won't happen," Brian Cashman said. "I know people expect us to go crazy. Even when we don't go crazy, people still look at whatever we do and say, 'There's the Yankees being the Yankees.' We're the Evil Empire even when we're not."

This is true. The one MUST this winter is getting C.C. Sabathia no matter the cost. We learned that not going after Johan Santana last year didn't help the Yankees in 2008. They certainly don't want an encore performance in '09 of their disappointing '08 so Sabathia is a must. It's just a matter of signing that check to C.C.'s liking. Objective 1 done.

Manny Ramirez in pinstripes? No way. It doesn't matter how Manny played the last few months in L.A., he will be 37 next season and you have to remember the way he sat out his final days in Boston because he didn't feel like playing. Besides, him and A-Rod in the same clubhouse?? OMG, the possibility of things that can happen there can only lead to trouble and backpage headlines, none of which would be good for the Bombers. Another factor in this is that the Yanks don't need hitting, they need desperately to fix their pitching. Manny would just be his own sideshow.

Objective 2, First Base. What's wrong with a guy like Doug Mientkiewicz? He was a solid defender and uhh well "decent" bat. Why do we need an all-star first baseman? Mark Teixiera would be a great bat in the lineup and a good guy to have on the team but if his asking price is too high why bother? Well he is switch-hitting and can put up .300 35 115 easily. Ok, so we give him a run for his money and see where we end up. So is signing Tex a must? That may depend on wheter the Yanks bring back Bobby Abreu, who looks to be on the way out. Figures, the only consistent guy with the bat is on his way out. Good job by the Yanks, you should keep this guy until his arms fall off because you know he will give you production. More production that Jorge Posada might give you the rest of his contract. Smart move by the Yanks...NOT!

Objective 3, another starting pitcher. Get Oliver Perez, while he also might be a little high in his asking price, he might fit into the rotation just fine being the 4th starter behind *Sabathia, Wang, and Joba. Yes this is how the rotation should look coming into opening day next year. If Perez isn't an option I do NOT like AJ Burnett. Reason behind that? He'll be Carl Pavano II, and we sure as hell don't want another one of those. So I don't even consider Burnett, unless he lowers his price dramatically. Derek Lowe? Hey why not? He pitched well down the stretch and is an experienced pitcher with postseason success. Take a gamble with him, he might be that workhouse the rotation needs, especially if the Yanks choose to part ways with Andy Pettitte.

Objective 4, centerfield? I question that because do we really need a CF? The answer is no. Do we want a stud out there? The answer is yes. Melky Cabrera wasn't the answer in '08, we thought he was. Brett Gardner can't hit yet and we don't know if he ever will. Austin Jackson? Ehh, let's not rush him up just yet. He looks to be your guy in center in the future but right now what is the right answer? I say leave Damon out there another year until his contract is up and give Melky and/or Gardner the other starts. Then evaluate this again next winter where more options could open up. But right now it makes sense for the Yanks to keep their trading chips and their money on getting a new CF for '09. Unless you can get a guy like Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, then CF shouldn't be addressed. Damon can still hit and produce, yes he has a weak arm but so did Bernie Williams and we were fine when he was roaming center.

Again, the need this winter is pitching. Worry first and foremost on pitching and upgrading it, not just taking leftovers off the free agent bum list. No more Ponsons, Rasners, or anyone else like that. No more! I don't want to see it. Those guys combined for 35 starts this year, that is NO GOOD. This is your 2009 rotation if things work out right.

1- CC Sabathia
2- Chien-Ming Wang
3- Joba Chamberlain
4- Oliver Perez
5- Phil Hughes/ Andy Pettitte

Not a bad staff there. Gives you a little depth towards the end if Andy comes back. Each guy could give you at least 10 wins with the exception of Hughes who we have no idea what to expect. Mike Mussina is almost a sure lock to retire. Once the World Series is done and over with next week, then the "hot stove" will heat up. If my rotation isn't what the Yankees are looking for then what are they going for?
"We're always trying to push to get better," Cashman said.

They got the money, make it happen. If Hank Steinbrenner has his way, the bank will be shattered and the Yanks will get their wants, but I hope that means they got their needs too.
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