While the World Series is set to start on Wednesday, the Yankees' offseason is getting into full swing, as decisions loom about which players' options to pick up, which players to let walk, and which up-and-coming prospects playing in winter ball deserve the most notice.
Discussion of the Day: If it was your choice, would you have the Yankees pick up the option of Nick Swisher?
Behind Enemy Lines: The fallout from the Boston Red Sox collapse continues to grow, as now reports have surfaced that pitchers were drinking beer in the dugout during games. Pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey, along with ex-manager Terry Francona have since issued statements denying the allegations.
1) Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews argue over whether or not the Yankees should sign Albert Pujols, once he becomes a free agent at the end of the World Series.
Pujols is a historically great baseball player; despite breaking his wrist, he still managed to hit 37 home runs in 2011. The question thus isn’t whether or not Pujols could help the Yankees, but whether the Yankees would have a spot for him, especially concerning the likely cost of the contract. Pujols, in his age 31 season is not young, and the Yankees already have a first baseman signed through 2016. Even though the AL has the designated hitter option, the Yankees will likely need that spot to spell Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter; furthermore if Jesus Montero does not stick at catcher, it could make more sense for the Yankees to keep the cheaper Montero than go after the expensive and older Pujols.
2) Mike Jaggers-Radolf at The Yankee Analysts compares the salaries of Yankees’ pitchers to their actual worth to the team in 2011.
It’s probably not a surprise to find Bartolo Colon -- whom the Yankees signed in the offseason to a minor league deal -- and David Robertson, who ranked fourth in WAR among all qualified relievers. On the other end of the spectrum, Rafael Soriano and A.J. Burnett aren’t surprises, either; Soriano missing significant time due to injury, and Burnett being generally ineffective for a second season. What probably will surprise readers is Mariano Rivera’s name so close to the bottom – although this has less to do with Rivera pitching poorly (since he didn’t), and more to do with that it’s usually hard to justify $15 million for 60.1 innings of work.
When the Yankees originally signed Swisher, the thought was that he could back up Xavier Nady in right field, or else be a fall-back option for first base should they have failed to sign Mark Teixeira. Swisher has since turned into an All Star, and the Yankees’ starting right fielder. Although Swisher’s postseason slump might be frustrating to sum, it would be hubris to make a decision based on such a small sample size.
4) Montero will not play in winter ball this year, although teammates Eduardo Nunez and Hector Noesi will (the latter exclusively as a starter). Montero played in 127 games combined this season, catching most of them, so there seems little need to give him extra reps when rest might be more beneficial at this point.