I'm going to start this Monday's column the same way I started last Monday's - with pure, unadulterated speculation about a free agent the Yankees should consider.
Octavio Dotel, anyone? After suffering through a spell of injuries from 2005-07, Dotel has remained mostly healthy and effective over the past two seasons, putting up above-average ERAs to go along with phenomenal strikeout rates (12.4 and 10.8 K/9). He struggles with command at times, and is a flyball pitcher prone to the occasional longball, but he's still a useful pitcher. He won't come anywhere close to last year's salary ($6 million), but he's exactly the type of veteran who's likely to settle for a low base salary contract as Spring Training approaches. The bullpen has been a strength of the Yankees these past few seasons, but cheap depth is cheap depth.
-Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs posted a nice article about the value of prospects and veterans as the baseball economy shifts. I suppose that everything is cyclical in nature, but he makes a good point. When you can sign a solid veteran like Mike Cameron for just 2 years/$15 million, you have to question the merits of relying too heavily on young unproven players. This is exactly why I've argued against the Yankees just settling for Brett Gardner as their 2010 left fielder.
-On that note, Chad Jennings asks how much do you really need from a leftfielder? This point has been made dozens of times before, but it's worth noting that, while lacking a superstar in left field, the Yankees still got roughly league average (or better) offense production from whomever they put out there in at least three of the four championship seasons. Gardner has yet to prove he can give them that.
-It turns out yesterday is a pretty important day in Yankees history.