For all of those people who love the demise of the Yankees as much as I do, I have some bad news for you: this won't last long. Because the Yankees still have tons of talent and tons of money to throw around, which means their futility shouldn't last that long. Granted, there are so many different ways for the Yankees to screw this up. My thinking is that they won't. And here's what they should do.
1. Do not resign Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, or Pudge Rodriguez
Not bringing Pudge back is the only obvious move of this group, but it is clear to me that the Yankees need to free themselves from Pettitte and Abreu and use the savings elsewhere. Pettitte used to be "ole reliable" for the championship Yankees, but has been mediocre this season. Pettitte is sporting a 4.49 ERA this season, which is obviously not worth $16 mil or anything close to it. The Yankees would be better off letting Hughes and Kennedy fight for the sport and using the money elsewhere.
Abreu on the other hand, has very good numbers this season. Abreu has a $16 million dollar option for next year and based on the statistics, he deserves upper level money. Abreu is hitting .301 with 15 HR and 84 RBI while hitting over .300 with runners in scoring position. So why do I think the Yankees should not pick up his option and let him go? Because simply, Abreu is not a winning player. After Abreu left Philadelphia, the Phillies thrived and I think the Yankees can do the same. Abreu often appears to be lacking passion and intensity for the game and strangely refuses to run anywhere close to a wall when playing right field. Abreu's OBP has been on the decline from previous seasons and he is no longer a stolen base threat. The Yankees will regret signing him for 2009 and beyond.
And Pudge has been terrible for the Yankees during his two months and is clearly washed up. Moving on.
2. Decline the option on Jason Giambi, make a run at Teixeira.
Giambi has been able to put up some good numbers this season, but there is no way the Yankees should pick up his $22 million dollar option. Giambi is a liability in the field, cannot run the bases, and is a horrible hitter with runners in scoring position. Giambi is another guy whose OBP is on the decline from previous seasons and the Yankees cannot afford to watch him slide at his high salary.
With that said, the Yankees should make the most of their savings and go after Teixeira because he is everything the Yankees need. He is young, plays great defense, hits for tons of power, and switch hits. And with the Yankees payroll, they should have no problem making a strong offer to Teixeira. However, if he turns them down, look for the Yankees to make a strong run at bringing back Jason Giambi at a reduced rate.
3. Do not trade Hughes or Kennedy (or Cano)
The Yankees had their shot to move either one of these guys last offseason for Johan Santana, but the Yankees refused to move them. They look pretty foolish now. Hughes and Kennedy have been awful and injured this season, but I think right now is not the time to move either one. Both players have severely hurt their value this season and trading them now could be highway robbery for another team.
And please Yankees, lets not move Cano just yet. Sure he had a poor 2008 campaign, but young 2nd basemen with Cano's potential are impossible to find. Cano still has the potential to hit 25+ HR to go along with a .330 batting average. The Yankees just need to find a way to light a fire under his butt to get him to play some defense. Larry Bowa was the perfect flame in 2007; we'll see who the Yankees can bring in to work with Cano.
4. Make a hard push for Sabathia or Sheets
There is no denying the fact that the Yankees have been missing a true shut down ace for the past few seasons and adding either one of these guys should make any Yankee fan giddy. Especially Sabathia. He's a stud and doesn't get hurt as much.
5. Get Younger
Simply put, the Yankees are really old. If they can trade one of their older players (Matsui, Damon) for some payroll relief or a mid level prospect, I would do it. Youth is the new trend in baseball and the Yankees are still severely behind the eight ball.
6. Make up your mind on Joba
If the Yankees want him in the bullpen, put him there for the entire season. If the Yankees want him to start, put him there for the entire season. I think they are doing more harm that good by switching him in the middle of the season and this guy is too good to be jerked around.
7. Depth is Key!
If the Yankees are going to go into the 2009 season with another old roster filled with some young starters then I plead to you Mr. Cashman, have 2-3 starters in the minors who can do better than Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson. Cashman needs to have the ability to pluck a pitcher from AAA for 10 starts to stabilize the staff and actually give the Yanks a chance to win. And Mr. Cashman, you cannot expect your 30+ outfielders to stay healthy for the entire season, so again, depth is key.
8. Resign Mussina (only on YOUR terms)
Mike Mussina has been brilliant this season and is one of the main reasons why the Yankees still have a pulse. But we need to remember that it was only one year ago that this guy was relegated to the bullpen because he was pitching so bad. So Mr. Cashman, do not go overboard by offering Moose 2-3 years at $10-$14 million per season. He is not that good and he will be 40! If he accepts your terms (whatever they may be), then by all means take him back, but don't let Moose's great season skew the negotiations too much.