After the butt-whipping the Yanks took in Detroit, the Yanks need to make changes and make them big. But they also need, for once, to be smart. No more Randy Johnsons, Carl Pavanos or Jaret Wrights. No more Sheffields, ARods or even Matsuis. Instead, they must look to deal from strength (where they can) and get whatever help they will obtain by trade or free agency with a strong consideration of the player's character.
Here are some do's and don'ts for the Yanks in the offseason:
(1) Reassign Torre. The Monk loves Joe, but he's gone from magic touch to no clue in the playoffs since the '03 ALCS. As I noted before here and elsewhere. This team was mentally off-kilter when the Tigers took the lead in game 2 and never recovered. It lacked mental fortitude in the '04 ALCS and the team showed a complete inability to overcome mistakes in the '05 and '06 playoffs too. The team has lost emotional spark. Torre has always been reserved, but the team retained a tough-guy mentality even through the '03 playoffs. Thereafter, bench coach Don Zimmer resigned due to health reasons -- dealing with Steinbrenner wasn't good for his mental health, and his knees were killing him. The Monk guesses that there is at least some causal nexus there.
(2) Dump Wright. The Yanks have a $7M team option. He's not worth half that.
(3) Dump Sheffield. His me-first nature came to the fore this year as he started griping about his contract. And to think the Yanks could have had the speak-softly-and-wield-a-big-stick Vlady Guerrero in the same offseason.
(4) Move A-Rod. The Dodgers, Angels, Marlins and others would love to have him. The Angels still have a stacked minor league system, and have an attractive young pitcher for the Yanks to try to obtain in John Lackey (the Angels wouldn't part with Jered Weaver). Whomever the Yanks deal him to, and they MUST deal him, they need to obtain a major league ready hard-throwing pitcher, a major league ready infielder (the Dodgers seem to have a good 3B prospect) and a third prospect (preferably a catcher).
(5) Move Matsui. Yeah, you read that right. There's no need for a poor defensive outfielder patrolling left field in the Stadium. Melky can play everyday and he'll only get better. Seattle or another west coast team would be thrilled to have him and he's semi-affordable considering the offensive production. Better yet, the Yanks and Ms can swap bad contracts -- Matsui for Beltre whilst the Yanks move Arod for young pitchers.
(6) Keep Abreu. His defense won't win a Gold Glove, but it's better than Sheffield. And his 120+ walk, 100+ RBI, 20+ steal approach is what the Yanks need.
(7) Don't go for any righty starters -- there aren't any worth the trouble on the free agent market. But there are intriguing lefties: Zito, Pettitte, Mulder, Lilly.
(8) Re-sign the Mooooooooose. Two years and an option. Nothing more, but the fact is he still had better numbers than Verlander or Wang this year.
That's the start point. But the Yanks need to get younger, better on defense, and better arms. If Philip Hughes and Tyler Clippard, their AA stars, are both 1-2 years away, that means the Yanks need to work the phones to fill the gaps before Hughes steps in for Johnson in 2008.