Who do you keep?November 5, 2009
Now that the Yankees have won their 27th World Championship, General Manager Brian Cashman has some tough decisions ahead of him.
Damon, Pettitte and Matsui are all free agents, and most likely, the Yankees can only keep two of them. So who do you choose?
Damon had a career year in his final year with the Pinstripes. He had 24 homeruns –tying a career high –, a .280 batting average and drove in more than 80 RBIs. Matsui batted around .290, had 25-plus jacks and damn near drove in 100 RBIs. Pettitte was good ol’ reliable, being the second-half dominant pitcher the Yanks have come to expect from him. Oh yeah, he also closed out every playoff series this year.
I think that even though Matsui is the WS MVP, Game 6 was his swan song. The Yankees, who are moving more toward a younger, mobile group, rather than a bunch of power hitters, don’t have the space to have a full-time DH who can’t field. With aging players like Arod, Jeter and Posada, they need days off from the field, and having a permanent DH would leave them out of the lineup.
So who’s more important? Posada, Jeter and Arod…or Matsui?
Damon may have swung himself into a one-year $8 million contract by batting .380 in the WS, but Matsui batted in 6 RBIs in one WS game! I think Damon gets the contract because he still has some life in his legs and he and Jeter have formed a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup. He can still play the outfield — barely — but that’s more than Matsui can.
Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye to old friends. It’s even harder to watch them detiororate in front of your own eyes. I think this is the best we’ll see of Matsui, and I’d rather see him go out on top, than struggling to stay in the lineup.
I wouldn’t keep Damon for more than a year or two, and I would definitely DH him if the Yanks choose to bring up Austin Jackson to play left field.
The question with Andy is easy though. Bring him back. Period. The crafty left-hander baffled the Phillies left-handed bats, and he provided a steady, veteran voice in the clubhouse. All the young pitchers love Andy. He teaches them. Directs them. And he leads by example.
He gobbled up 200 plus innings, again, and when it mattered most, he pitched great. He doesn’t let the moment faze him. He excels in the spotlight. He devours pressure. That was a key component to this club, and Pettitte epitomized it.
The Yankees can’t get caught up in the moment. We are building a dynasty, and though Matsui’s Game 6 was epic, he just doesn’t fit into the plans for 2010.
My idea: Damon, 2-year $16 million.
Pettitte: One year deal, $8 million with incentives to take it up to $13 mill.
Matsui: It’s been great old friend. Thanks for the memories. You’ll always be No. 55 to me.