As the Winter Meetings began, 3460Kuri, Travis G., and I (Brandon C.) decided to discuss many different topics about the off-season. The roundtable discussion is a two part series, with the first part being posted yesterday.
Q: Would you make a move for Matt Thornton?
3460Kuri: No. Thornton's a fine reliever, but with Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and Joba Chamberlain already in the fold, I'm not sure that it makes sense to acquire another high-profile, high-cost reliever. I know some fans, and probably some in the front office, are thinking about "the heir to Mo" but let's get to 2013 first.
Travis G: Probably not. The bullpen was excellent this year and Thornton will be 35 next season. At best he would be the "6th Inning Guy."
Brandon C.: That's a definite no. Same reasons as the other two listed, it would simply be a bad move.
Q: How would you try to create roster/payroll flexibility as the players who signed long term contracts enter their mid-to-late 30s?
3460Kuri: First, I'd get a suitable utility infielder who can play a passable SS and 3B while not embarassing himself at the plate. Second, I'd get off the fence with Jesus Montero and stop calling him a DH. The Yankees need to keep DH open for their older players, and so Montero either needs to catch, or the Yankees need to trade him, ASAP. Last, I'd continue to stay away from signing non-elite free agents to long-term deals. 2015/2016 already carries the potential of a roster logjam, and it's one thing to throw Cliff Lee into the mix for that season, and quite another to throw CJ Wilson into it.
Travis G: This is like that joke about "How does a dentist work on an alligator? Carefully." There's no easy answer. The good news is that only one pitcher is part of that group (CC Sabathia), and he should continue to be excellent for a long time. The killers, I think, will be A-Rod and Tex. If it gets so bad that they can't play their positions or even hit anymore, the Yanks are at least in the fortunate situation where they could straight up release them. They wouldn't want to pay a guy sitting at home or playing for a competitor, but it might be better than the alternative (taking up a roster spot when superior options are available).
Brandon C: I basically agree with 100% of what Kuri and Travis said. The Yankees need to avoid long, expensive deals, unless they are for certain young, effective players. No mistakes can be made.
Follow after the jump for more!Q: What kind of seasons do you expect from A-Rod and Jeter?
3460Kuri: Realistically, probably something similar to what they did in 2011, with hopefully 130 games for A-Rod. I think that privately, if they both put those numbers up, the Yankees front office would be thrilled.
Travis G: I expect (and have to hope) A-Rod bounces back from a disappointing 2011: Think ~.280/.380/.500. Jeter should pretty much duplicate this season, with an OPS+ between 95-100, and that's fine considering he'll be 38.
Brandon C: I expect A-Rod to play in ~120 games, hit ~.295/.395/.515, and breakthrough in the playoffs if the Yankees make it. Jeter will struggle in the beginning again, and improve as the season goes on. Think ~.280/.340.
Q: A darkhorse move this offseason?
3460Kuri: I just don't see one. There doesn't appear to be a team in salary-dump mode that's shopping talented players (i.e. Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher), and there doesn't really appear to be any elite talent on the trade market at the moment. If I have to pick something, I'll say Tim Lincecum, just because his salary will probably bring the cost in prospects down to the point that the Yankees are willing to pay it, and his two remaining years of arbitration decrease the urgency of signing him to a long term contract.
Travis G: * In the interest of being bold, I'll say the Yanks trade A.J. Burnett along with a few prospects (something like Adam Warren, Hector Noesi and/or Mason Williams) to the Cubs for Matt Garza.
Brandon C: Yankees trade for a starting pitcher that has not been rumored to be available yet. At all. No clue who, but someone completely out of the blue.