Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yankees pursuing Manny?

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman reports the Yankees are ready to go after Manny Ramirez if they fail to land Mark Teixeira:

The Yankees are in on the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes but don't appear overly optimistic to outbid the determined Angels or Red Sox. Should the Yankees lose out for Teixeira, who's drawing interest from the perennially also-ran Nationals and Orioles in addition to the three aforementioned clubs, they seem ready to pounce for Manny Ramirez.

There are those suggesting the Yankees are only in the running for Teixeira to either monitor the rival Red Sox or drive up the price for the switch-hitting slugger. But while it's true the Yankees don't appear as eager to sign Teixeira as the Angels and Red Sox, they do appear willing to sign him at the right price. After already signing CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett for $243.5 million combined, the Yankees appear disinclined to offer $200 million for Teixeira, which is what it may take to get him.

Thats where Manny may come in.

While the Yankees have a trio of accomplished corner outfielders -- Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady -- they appear to love the idea of Manny and could still utilize Damon in centerfield on occasion.

If Teixeira goes to the Red Sox, Ramirez's market becomes that much better because the Angels become a possibility for his services as well as the Yankees and the incumbent Dodgers. If Teixeira stays in Anaheim, Ramirez loses a little leverage because the Red Sox don't want him back. Boston's resolve to win Teixeira is heightened since they don't have a viable fallback option like Ramirez.

Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras, has been telling teams he envisions Teixeira closer to Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million, or $30.5 million annually, depending whether you count the performance bonuses) than Torii Hunter ($18 million), and baseball people believe Teixeira will surely beat the $20 million mark, and perhaps even CC Sabathia's $23 million salary.

While I still prefer Teixeira, and Manny definitely doesn't help the defense (see picture above), he may not be a terrible fall-back option. He for sure would not require the 8+ years Teix will, but may equal or exceed his annual salary. We would most likely have to trade Matsui or even Nady/Damon to make room for Manny, but he would add the bat needed behind A-Rod. Imagine A-Rod and Man-Ram hitting back-to-back.

Off the top of my head some fits for Matsui could be Seattle, Oakland, Kansas City, Texas or even Anaheim if they miss on Teix. It's safe to say no NL team would take on Matsui after his surgeries on both knees. Nady would have a bigger list of suitors. The Reds pop into mind first. Would the Reds do some variation of a Nady for Bailey swap? Matsui would likely have to be in a bad-contract swap. What about Matsui for Jarrod Washburn? Washburn is set to make $10.75 next year, only slightly above what the Yankees are offering Pettitte, and both Wash and Matsui will become free agents after this year. Seattle needs to replace Ibanez's production somewhere.

This line-up doesn't look too shabby:

LF Damon
SS Jeter
3B Rodriguez
DH Manny
C Posada
RF Nady
2B Cano
1B Swisher
CF Gardner/Melky

All this being said, I still prefer Teixeira. But keep your eyes, and minds wide open.


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