Yanks Continue To Make Moves For '09

The Yankees front office, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner said a few days ago that they were going to be aggressive this offseason and would address all the teams' needs and issues. Over the last 48 hours they have made some moves to help the roster.

Marte Re-signs -----------

On Wednesday they re-signed lefty Damaso Marte to a 3 year contract with a club option for 2012. The Marte signing was bound to happen as there was no way the Yankees were gong to lelt him walk away from the team considering that lefties out of the bullpen are hard to come by these days.

“We looked at him over a broad range of his work. His stuff is there and finding a left-hander has been difficult,” Cashman said. “I can’t say exactly what his role will be, but he can pitch from the fifth inning through to the eighth.”

The Yanks haven't had a good lefty reliever since Mike Stanton back in the dynasty years. His last productive season was in 2002. I knew this deal was going to get done because the Yankees traded away 3 guys toget him. This was the great trade pulled off by Cashman in which he robbed the Pirates of Marte and Xavier Nady. Both men are now under contract for 2009.

Yanks Get Nick Swisher ---------

The other move the Yankees made was acquiring switch-hitting first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher and right-handed pitcher Kanekoa Texeira from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for infielder Wilson Betemit and right-handed pitchers Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez. Swisher addresses the need for a 1B for the time being. When asked who would be the starting first baseman if the season started tomorrow Cashman replied "Nick Swisher". Swisher can also play the outfield which adds to his value. I do have to question his overall value to begin with. He has power and can get on base but his average wasn't great last year and he doesn't look like he'll improve. A positive sign with Nick is over the last 4 seasons he has recorded at least 20 doubles and 20 homers, not bad, not to mention he's also a switch hitter. The addition of Swisher gives the Yanks a lot of flexibilty with just one guy. He can be your righty hitting first baseman or your lefty hitting centerfielder, how cool is that? If Nick can just hit around .270 the Yankees are a winner in this move.

“We’re excited with the addition of Nick Swisher,” said Yankees Manager Joe Girardi. “We feel he has a ton of upside. He’s a patient switch-hitter, adds versatility at a number of defensive positions, including first base and the outfield, and will be a positive presence inside the clubhouse.”

The Yankees were so impressed by how the Tampa Bay Rays won on the basis of being young and athletic. Swisher fits the bill on both. Swisher, 27, batted .219 (109-for-497) with 86 runs, 21 doubles, 24 HR and 69 RBI in 153 games with the White Sox in 2008, leading all American League switch-hitters in home runs and ranking 2nd in RBI.
He made 69 starts in center field, 47 starts at first base, 16 starts in left field and 11 starts in right field. The guy can move around.

I didn't expect this move by the Yanks but I like it. It gives them flexibilty at a few different positions and didn't cost them much. It saves the Yanks money by not throwing the checkbook at Mark Texieria (even tho that's still a possibilty). It appears that Cashman and the front office are clearing looking to get younger and athletic. As I mentioned the Rays made it all the way to the World Series on those two things. Sure there were a lot of other factors that got Tampa Bay to the dance but youth and athleticism got them a long way. Many organizations look to follow in those footsteps and now use Tampa's foundation as a model to go by.

The offseason of change has started and with Friday being the first day of free agency ANYTHING is possible. The Yankees and CC Sabathia watch will be on. Is it a matter of time before he's in pinstripes or will it take more than a blank check to lure him to the Bronx? We'll find out.
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