So what is the fallout of the Tex signing? Here are some questions to ask:
Will the Yankees need to trade someone away?
Maybe the Yankees will look to make a trade, but I doubt it. Much like with the rotation, the Yankees want depth and now they have it. If Matsui’s knees don’t respond, they’ll be fine. If Damon starts again with his nickel and dime injuries, they’re covered.
The player most often mentioned to be traded is Matsui, but how does that make any sense? His value is right now at its lowest, coming off an injury prone season. He has a full no trade clause. If the Yankees do make a trade, it makes more sense to wait until the season starts, so they can establish the health of their players and wait for other teams to have needs. Right now their is a plethora of corner outfielders available at a reasonable cost.
Where does Manny end up?
With his market collapsing, I still can’t believe the Mets aren’t involved – and I think they’ll get involved if they lose Derek Lowe to Boston. If Manny has to start fielding more reasonable offer to mid market teams like Rangers, Braves, Mariners, etc start to inquire? What about a team like the Marlins? They have been sandbagging money for years and still competing. What if they broke the bank and came up with some cash for Manny? Unlikely, but before this is all over you have to figure at least one team no one originally expected will come forward.
What happens to Andy Pettitte?
I still think Pettitte comes back. His 200 innings will be valuable, even if he just has a mediocre year. He should help the young guys and help the new guys adjust to New York. And as I’ve mentioned, bringing him back will still keep the payroll around, if not under, last year’s mark. And sure, the Yanks want to cut payroll, but considering they move into their new stadium this year, if they wait another season to cut it… well, they can make do.
So who is the team to beat now?
I say the Yankees, but I thought that before this signing. Pitching wins and the Yankees should have the best staff, especially if Pettitte comes back. I think the Rays year last year was a little fluky – don’t get me wrong, they’re very good, but I don’t think they’re 97 wins good. I think Beckett and Dice-K are a little overrated (though I like Lester quite a bit).
Bottom line, all three teams are good enough to win 90+, so as always there will be some luck involved. But I, as always, still like the Yankees’ chances.