Anaconda pointed me to an interesting article by Hardball Times' Jacob Jackson outlining 7 steps the Yankees need to take to re-establish their dominance.
Jackson suggests several trades and FA signings. Some I like, some I don't.
I want to focus on the two organizational concerns that I think are truly the keys for the Yankees' long term dominance.
First, the short term concern.
I've been over and over the free agent market- the best options there are Mike Lowell and Mike Lamb. The trade market is equally barren. Joe Crede's .300 OBP could be had, but why would we want it?
Meanwhile, we've been talking about Derek Jeter's defense for years, and the big question is 'what position will he play and when?'
So it's time to kill two birds with one stone. Cashman needs to have a sit-down with the Cap'n and tell him it's time to be the selfless player we've always praised him for being.
The circumstances surrounding A-Rod's departure give Cashman the perfect opportunity to make this transition now, and save Jeter's ego in the process. It's not hard to imagine reading this quote from Yankees' brass: "Derek is such an unselfish player, a true champion--we had the opportunity to acquire a player who could play shortstop, and since Alex left us high and dry, Derek volunteered to unselfishly fill the void."
Starting at third base- Derek Jeter.
Jackson then suggests trading for a defensive wizard like (the very available) Jack Wilson. Wilson's OPS will be similar to giving Betemit or Crede the job, while the defense will improve. The pitchers will allow fewer hits, fewer runs, and the Yankees will win more games.
The long term change is even more important: No More No-Trades.
The thing that has struck me the most as I do my championship histories is how often the Yankees would make a trade to fill a hole on the roster with an All-Star caliber player. Obviously, few (if any) modern teams are in the financial straits the Red Sox of the '20s or Royals of the '50s faced.
If the Yankees never offered no-trade clauses, and the baseball economy stayed strong, they could use their money to create a nearly unstoppable cycle: a.) Make sound choices on a few free agents each year and offer them multi-year deals, b.) trade those players for prospects during the last year of their deals for prospects (as they did with Gary Sheffield), when other teams can swallow the one-year hit to help them make a run for the playoffs, and c.) trade the prospects--the game's most liquid asset--for whatever needs the team has in a given year.
How many times have we said, 'If we could only trade Matsui, or Damon, or Giambi, or Mussina, or RJ...'?
No more. Cashman needs to change the team's policy. If that means we start offering performance bonuses, so be it. If it means paying another couple million dollars per year, so be it.