Thursday, January 21, 2010

Add One Free Agent

Please excuse the tardiness of this post. My fault completely.

In the interest of hopefully salvaging some form of a comments discussion today, I pose a question: if you were the Yankees or Red Sox as presently constructed, and you could add one more free agent regardless of price or years, who would it be?

There are some interesting names still out there. Johnny Damon, Ben Sheets, Chien-Ming Wang, Orlando Cabrera, Carlos Delgado, Orlando Hudson, Garret Anderson, Gary Sheffield, Rick Ankiel, Rocco Baldelli, Jermaine Dye, Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady, Randy Winn, Jason Giambi, Jim Thome, Erik Bedard, Jon Garland, Kevin Gregg, Justin Speier, Kiko Calero, Jose Arredondo, Joe Crede, Nomar Garciaparra, Adam Kennedy, and many others.

Clearly, all of these guys are not guys that are going to perform in 2010. But all of them have at least proven semi-recently that they can help a club. Some more than others, no doubt, and I was trying to make the list as comprehensive as possible, though I still definitely missed potential productive pieces in 2010.

If I could have just one regardless of price or years for the Yankees' present needs, I'd go back and forth between Damon and sheets. Really tough to choose between those two. Damon fits a little bit more of a need, or at least represents a bit more of an upgrade, as the Yankees have a pretty deep rotation and need outfield depth. He's also proven in New York and his game is a great fit for the Yankees and their stadium. However, you can never have enough pitching, and signing Sheets would guard against potential injuries to the rotation after a World Series run. He also represents a lot of upside if returns anywhere near his 2008 or previous form. At the same time, if the rotation is healthy, clogging the rotation with too many arms potentially stunts the development of the Yankees' youngsters, most notably Chamberlain and Hughes.

In the end I'd go with Sheets, though it's very close. You really can never have enough pitching, and I think the Yankees are more prepared to find an addition to the lineup/outfield during the season than they are to find a pitcher of Sheets' potential. That potential is really what ultimately brings me to choosing him. The Yankees would figure out a way to continue to develop Chamberlain and Hughes in order to have a rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez, and Sheets.

For the Red Sox, I'd actually probably add Damon. He's the most legitimate bat left on the market, and that's probably what the Red Sox need most. If you can't get a 1A bat, may as well get as many second tier bats as you can. I realize there is no direct positional fit, but just like the Yankees with Sheets, I think the Red Sox would find a way to make it work to add a dynamic top of the order bat like Damon.

Who would you add for each team?


Anonymous said...


One of the issues for the Sox is that we don't have a spot for Damon in the outfield (unless a spot was also not an issue like mentioned for salary or years). But even absent that, his swing is much more of a big deal for the Yankees than the Sox. Now I like Damon and always have. And of course, he's forever endeared himself to New England sports fans for his performance in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

Therefore I like either Sheets or Wang. Wang's health has been an issue for two years now and that's troubling. But he is two years younger and when he was healthy, he was healthier than Sheets and by that I mean, Sheets had serious injury issues that caused him to miss significant time in 2005, 2006, and 2007. And that's not mentioning the fact that he didn't even pitch in 2009. Also, Wang has many fewer innings on his arm at the major league level which could be a factor.

--the Gunn

PF said...

spot is definitely an issue, but as i mentioned even though the sox don't have a spot for him, i think this is where they would be best served under these admittedly narrow conditions i've provided. the red sox could always add another starter, but i think they have a greater need for a bat if they could just add whatever they wanted. i think it would be better for the sox to have an excess bat than an excess starting pitcher, as both the lineup and the rotation are complete on paper as it stands now. but there is a serious chance that if damon is added he is your best outfield bat when 2010 is done. i think it's less likely that sheets or wang become your best pitcher. you could make a legitimate case for starting damon over ellsbury and cameron (with damon in left) every single day, and jd drew on certain days (against tough lefties) depending on how you can swing it defensively (damon, ellsbury, cameron left to right). sheets or wang could well work their way into the rotation, but i don't know that they would have the same impact unless they returned to pre-2009 forms, which is no guarantee. nice upside to take a shot on, which is why i would take sheets, but i think the sox actually potentially need a bat, at least more than a starter, which is why i'd take the best available and figure the rest out later. but certainly a reasonable argument could be made in the other direction, as you just did.

in more realistic terms, if the yankees can't get damon, i'd love to see them sign reed johnson (crushes left-handed pitching) and better the best offer chien-ming wang gets within reason. it would be great to get wang back and see what he can do when he returns to full health, in addition to having the rotation depth he would provide.

Anonymous said...


Wang is just too young to be done yet. And it's not like his injuries have been an elbow or a shoulder. It's been foot and leg problems. You tend to think that it's easier to bounce back from those.

Also, if Damon was in Boston I'd just rather see him play all the time over JD Drew, or even have a rotating outfield depending on match-ups. Obviously Damon can't be an everyday right fielder because of his arm, but there are worse guys to have in that position.

Also, Reed Johnson KILLS the Red Sox. There's no doubt in my mind that if he ends up in New York he'll have a Karim Garcia/Miguel Cairo/Melky Cabrera-type experience against Red Sox pitching.

--the Gunn

PF said...

gunn -

i completely agree with you regarding wang's age and potential ability moving forward if he can get back to full health. unfortunately, this injury is his throwing shoulder, and he had surgery on it last summer. it was also a shoulder injury that caused him to miss two months of his first year in the big leagues in 2005. he also had a shoulder issue earlier in his minor league career, though i'm unsure how serious it was. 2008 was definitely the foot, and that may well have contributed to this most recent shoulder injury, but either way unfortunately he does have a history of shoulder problems that give rise to concern.

obviously, outside of this vacuum i've created in this post, paying johnny damon and j.d. drew at the same time doesn't make a lot of sense. but if the money for damon didn't matter, you're thinking is my thinking. you can use a rotation based on matchups, and i would not be surprised if damon got the most playing time of the four in that situation.

you're last paragraph made me actually laugh out loud at my computer. very good stuff. you've been complaining about these types of guys since at least 2004. if we don't get damon, i hope we get reed johnson if this the case. not to mention we could use a righty outfield bat against lefties considering granderson/gardner are both lefty.

Ross Kaplan said...

I too like Sheets for the Yankees, but I'm also intrigued by Bedard. This was a guy who owned the Yankees when he was pitching in Baltimore and the fact that he's a lefty only sweetens the deal. You can never have too much starting pitchers. Although I have to also wonder if neither Hughes nor Joba are getting consistent major league starts than how much that is going to retard their growth.

the gm at work said...

Randy Winn and Nomar would be reasonably intriguing as right-handed bench players. Wang is probably the best option though. I'll talk about it more later.

jflu12 said...

I think it would definitely be interesting if Johnny came back to Boston and grew the hair and beard out, but there really isn't a spot for him in the outfield because of his arm. Even bringing back Orlando Cabrera would definitely lift the spirits of the clubhouse, and he could be a good utility guy.