Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Hot Stove Starts To Simmer

The November installment of the GM meetings started yesterday and as expected not much went down. The real fun is at the December GM meetings. So if you're expecting some juicy stuff this week, you're going to be let down.

The "big news" yesterday was that both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui filed for free agency. Nobody should be surprised by this. The Yankees have a small window to negotiate with them exclusively before other teams can enter the mix. I believe that window closes on the 19th and I'd be surprised if the Yankees do anything with them before the deadline. There's a lot of question/debate going on as to whether the Yankees should bring back these guys back. A lot of people seem to think that they will sign one of them, but not both. Most people seem to think Damon will be the one returning. I see positives to bringing both back, but I don't see it happening. I think it's possible that neither return.

If you put me on the spot and asked me to pick which one I wanted back, I'd pick Damon over Matsui. I think Johnny can bring more to the table because he can still play the field. I also like him at the top of the order batting behind Jeter. He still has some decent speed and again he can play the field. Right now the Yankees OF is pretty weak with Swisher, Melky and Gardner. Even if you put Austin Jackson in that mix (I don't think they will) it's still weak. Johnny is a viable option. I also think if Matsui isn't on the squad that Damon can get some DH time and that should help him with his leg issues.

I think Matsui has a lot to offer as the guy hitting behind A-Rod but I think his bat can be easily replaced. The Yankees should be able to find a LH power bat for the same kind of money. I'm also not a fan of the full-time DH. But that's just me.

I wouldn't mind seeing both guys return but neither should get more than a 1-2 year deal if they do return. I also wouldn't pay them as much as they were paid in their last contract. I also wouldn't sign either until I explore bringing in other free agents, namely Matt Holiday and Jason Bay, to take their place. Cashman would need to move quickly though because you don't want to wait too long and end up with nothing. I'm sure Cash-Money is looking ahead at who will be available in a few years. It may make more sense to bring Damon back for a year and go after a 2011 free agent than to go after Holliday or Bay. Cash is a smart guy. I'm sure he'll make the right moves. I think we'll see Damon back in Pinstripes before it's all said and done.

You guys have any thoughts? Who do you prefer they sign if given the choice between Matsui and Damon? Do you even want those guys back? The Hot Stove is starting to simmer. Can't wait for it to be roaring. There's no better offseason in sports than baseball's hot stove.

The other Yankees who have filed for free agency include Andy Pettitte, Eric Hinske, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Jose Molina and Xavier Nady. In the next day or two I'll be posting my thoughts on the open roster spots and who I think should fill them. Assuming I can find the time of course.

Peace, love and Pintripes,