All of this, of course, is via Cot's (one of my favorite websites).
I've spent most of the season ruminating on how the Yankees could best invest the $60 million that will be coming off the books.
Like everyone else, I assume that the Yanks will start by giving Giambi and Pavano their buyouts (that cost is figured into the $119 million figure for next season).
We've all heard the Teixeira rumblings, and I admit I salivate a little when I think about a 29 year-old switch hitter who plays strong defense. But I think the Yankees need to leave the first base spot open. There's no guarantee that Jorge Posada's shoulder will be any good in the spring, and I love a good backup plan.
So if I'm the GM, in November I'll be mailing first baseman's gloves to Jorge, Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. The plan is whoever looks the best there can be the first baseman, either Hideki or Johnny can play left, while the third guy's the DH; I want to see another couple months of Pudge before I decide between him and Rod Barajas. 2 years/ $20 million. 2009 budget: 129
Assuming he can be talked into leaving the NL for the pressure cooker of the AL East, I'll sign C.C. Sabathia for (gah!) $107 mil/ 5 years (which is greater than the guaranteed value of Santana's contract, which should make his agent happy). 2009 budget: 149
Mark Kotsay is probably the best free agent centerfielder on the market, but his back troubles have undermined a productive season (.284/.333/.396). So I'm looking at the trade market to find an average centerfielder. Could we get Reed Johnson from the Cubs for Veras and some cash?
At the same time I'll be aggressively shopping our two left fielders, because if I can clear space on the roster I can make the offseason very interesting.
Now, if you haven't seen the Manny Ramirez wants to be a Yankee story already, be warned it comes from the king of making shit up: George A. King III. But I'd been daydreaming about the same turn of events even before Manny's trade to the Dodgers. Flip Damon to Seattle (to cover more ground in the outfield than FA Raul Ibanez) or Matsui to the Giants (so the Giants have at least one hitter in their lineup), and that opens up space for Manny as DH. 3 years/ $75 million. 2009 budget: 174.
I'm open to re-upping Pettitte and/or Mussina for 1 year/ $12 mil to fill out the back end of the rotation. And Hughes' performance in September will dictate how important I feel it is to add another innings eater. If he's good, he can fight for the fifth spot (or sixth, if we resign both Pettitte and Moose) with Alan Horne and Alfredo Aceves (IPK, we'll discuss your future as soon as I can watch you do a post-game presser without grinding my teeth).
If Hughes is lousy and either (or both) of Pettitte and Mussina decide to hang 'em up, Derek Lowe and Jon Garland figure to be the best pitchers available without initials for a first name, while cheaper (and less attractive) options abound.
This brings my budget to the 185-195 range, with a rotation of CMW, CC, Joba, Pettitte, Moose; the lineup runs righty heavy: Jeter SS, Cano 2B, Arod 3B, Manny DH, Matsui LF, Nady RF, Johnson CF, Posada 1B, Barajas C. Fill out the arbitration cases (Wang, Nady, and the bullpen) and I imagine it brings the total budget to around 215. And since New Yankees Stadium includes a money press among the amenities, that shouldn't be much of an obstacle.