It's early, very, very early. This time last year, the Yanks were sitting pretty at 9-13 and they had a much more favorable early season schedule than they've faced so far in 2008. That being said, with Posada going down, the rooks struggling and Mike Mussina's roller-coaster performance thus far the Yanks kind of have to start taking a look at who's available out there to plug a couple of holes.
The biggest holes at this point, in order of importance, are as follows:
- Catcher - Molina as a full-time starter is questionable. Mainly because I doubt he could last the season, he's not exactly the model of health.
- Starting Pitching - I'm beginning to think the best thing to do with Ian Kennedy may be to send him back down to AAA and let him take a month or so to work on his confidence. His last outing was a drastic improvement, but if he backslides, this may be the best course of action. Bringing in a veteran arm would give the Yanks a ton of options going forward, both to help coddle the kids a little bit and aid their development, and to stabilize the rotation and the pen.
- Relief Pitching - I could care less if they bring in a situational lefty, I just want them to bring in someone who can throw strikes and get people out. I thought Ohlendorf may be this guy, but he's going to have to show more consistency (and Joe's going to have to stop extending his outings to 2 and 3 innings)
So those are the needs, now the options.Catchers:
Peter Abraham does an excellent job of breaking down the list here
. Personally, of that group I think I'd go with a guy like Mike DeFelice. Good defense, not going to cost you anything to get, and won't stand in anyone's way once Jorge comes back. Just a stop-gap. Getting a starting caliber catcher would cause some big problems next year, unless they got someone good enough to allow a move to first for Jorge, which should absolutely be explored, if at all possible. For comedic value, I'd vote for Doug Mirabelli, mainly because I think it would cause a fatal fracture in Cameron
's psyche if Dougie was wearing the pinstripes. Mike
is obviously rooting for Piazza to come back to NYC.Starting Pitchers:
The big name left hanging at the beginning of the season was Joe Blanton, however with the A's tied for first out West I don't think even Billy Beane could muster support for shipping Blanton out at this point, I also don't think he'd fare well in the A.L. East. There is, however, a guy out on the left coast who I think would be worth a look, depending on the asking price. Back in December I was hoping the Yanks would make a run at Randy Wolf
. Well, he signed with the Padres (the number one destination on every free agent pitcher's wish list) and thus far he's looked pretty good. If the Padres dig too deep of a hole for themselves, which looks entirely possible, the Yanks should jump into any sweepstakes for the veteran lefty. Adding him to the rotation would be a huge boost.Relief Pitchers:
I don't think there's a team out there who couldn't use another arm in the pen. This means the Yanks will probably have to overpay for an arm from one of the small market teams, once they admit to themselves they won't be competing for anything this season. The Pirates are always a popular training ground for this type of player, but Damaso Marte is off to a horrible start but John Grabow is a possibility. K.C. seemed to have a plethora of arms out in their pen, but they've actually been spending money recently, so I think a deal with them seems far-fetched. Honestly, most trades for relievers come out of the blue, and they aren't for big name guys, they're for the Mike Stanton's of the world.
The Yanks will go for a split in Cleveland tonight, Mike Mussina vs. Aaron Laffey, weather permitting.