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futureyankees.jpgThe last shovel-full of dirt hasn't been tossed on Joe Torre's managerial casket and the rumors are already reaching fever pitch. MLB Trade Rumors has a piece today chock-full of Yankee speculation. Here are the highlights, my thoughts are below:

  • The Yanks are very interested in Aaron Rowand, an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Yanks are going to offer very, very lucrative contracts to Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada before the World Series ends. They do not want either guy to hit the open market.
  • The Yanks are apparently mulling an offer of Ian Kennedy, Chien-Ming Wang and Melky Cabrera to the Minnesota Twins for Johan Santana.
In order: I like Rowand a lot, but he isn't needed. I'm assuming he could be had for somewhere in the neighborhood of $40-$48 million over 3 or 4 years. Not a bad contract for a guy like him, he plays the hell out of center field, and his offensive numbers were excellent last year (though they'd drop a ton in Yankee Stadium). Overall, I think they're better off sticking with Melky.

I'm very happy to hear that the Yanks are going to take an aggressive tact with Rivera and Jorge. Those guys are Yankees, and need to be for their entire careers. Not to mention the fact they are both still performing at a very high level. I think both will probably get 3-year deals, probably around $13M per year.

Now, the trade rumor. Obviously, if this trade happens, then getting Rowand becomes a lot more palatable, and necessary, but that's beside the point. This is just too much to give up, in my opinion. Yes, Johan is the best pitcher in the game (his numbers were down a bit this year, but he was still dominant with a 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 9.66 K/9). He'll only be 29 when the 2008 season starts, and I'd have to think any deal of this caliber would be dependent on the Yankees signing him to a long-term extension. Under normal circumstances, I'd say no price is too high to get a legit ace. A guy you can throw out there in game 1 of a playoff series and know he's going to shut the other team down. Frankly, if it was Wang, Kennedy and either a prospect, or Matsui, I'd be thrilled. I just have a very big problem with giving up 2/3 of your rotation, and your starting center fielder for anyone. Wang will be 28, Kennedy will be 23 and Melky will be 23 to begin the '08 season. That's not only youth, but major-league tested, bonafide talent in Wang and Melky, and a top-shelf prospect with major league experience in Kennedy.

It's tempting to think about going into a season with a rotation of Johan Santana, Pettitte, Hughes, Joba and Mussina, very tempting. The bottom line, for me, is that I don't want to see Melky included in any deal. For my money, the four untouchable young guys on the Yankee roster, and in their system, should be Melky, Cano, Hughes and Chamberlain. It's a little fuzzy, but I think Johan also has a partial no-trade clause, which may turn into a full no-trade clause should he finish in the top 3 in Cy Young voting this season, which he probably will not.