This discussion started on Saturday - but more traveling has delayed my editing process...
Well we are both sitting watching the Fox national game of the day - the only problem being that the Sox fan in NY can't watch the Sox, while the Yankee fan in the UK can watch any game they like... don't ya just love national broadcast blackout restrictions...
Given the Yankees poor week, I thought I would take the opportunity to get Neil's take on his team - what changes if any should be made and more importantly, what changes if any can be made?
RSN: What can the Yankees do to turn the season round - if you could change one thing what would it be?
NYN: Well the Yanks can't do a lot and nor should they. Our farm is thin but we can't make silly moves for anyone. Do we want Roger back? Maybe, maybe not. Wang needs to stay up in the bigs, and we need to get Stanton and Quantrill out, and bring up Bean and Anderson. As for hitting, these guys will hit.
RSN: At what point do the Yankees stop ignoring the flaws though - the pitching isn't what was expected, and there appear to be too many easy outs in the lineup?
NYN: How can the Yanks make any SP moves? And the batters are the best we have; maybe drop Womack n play Bernie in LF, but that is tinkering.
RSN: Not saying any move would be easy, but I just don't see how this Yankee team can win it all - too much inconsistency, too little spark?
NYN: In reality years of dumb moves are catching up – we are finally reaping what we've sown
RSN: In the various reports about the Steinbrenner / Cashman / Torre Conference Call, Steinbrenner is quoted as saying "what do you need - pitcher, hitter" so he sees a need, and thinks it can be done - no bite from you?
NYN: I hope we don't gut the farm, I hope George steps aside and lets Gene Michel take over the day to day running again, if not, we will be very lucky to win it all again
RSN: But the Yankee farm was barren by all accounts, and here we are two months in with Wang and Cano as solid contributors - I think there are moves the Yankees can make, but they would be expensive - Giambi could be moved, Brown could be moved…
NYN: There are moves we could make - yes, but we need to build a team and have a mix of players who bring the right chemistry, we don't have that at this moment
RSN: I just think they have to start exploring radical moves - I think the team needs a radical shake up - I would be saying to George, look it is going to be expensive, but lets start getting something back for some of our older stars - so Giambi to Oakland for someone out of the bullpen, a prospect and Dotel, Womack to anyone that thinks they need a top of the lineup spark and relies on a scout rather than stat outlook, Matsui to someone - get value for him rather than him getting a big contract from the Yankees...
NYN: Whoa, whoa, whoa horsey, Matsui?
RSN: Why not - how is he helping you at the moment? He will look for a major contract increase this year trade him, and then get him back next year if you must…
NYN: Matsui is our best hitter with RISP how is that not helping us?
RSN: Then you need to change where he is hitting - he only has 37 RBI from that stat - his HR numbers have regressed so far, yet he is still hitting clean up regularly despite little long ball threat.
NYN: I think Matsui is one of our smallest problems; we have problems all over the shop
RSN: Starting with?
NYN: Starting rotation. They are not great, Randy is poor, and Moose n Pavano blow hot n cold. Wright was a bust n Brown we all knew he was at best a #5
RSN: And that problem might be a long term problem? Brown will be gone after 2005, but theses other guys are all here in 2006 and beyond for Moose, Johnson, Pavano and possibly Wright?
NYN: It is a long term problem I agree. This is what I've been saying, we have made lots of poor decisions and they are coming back to bite us in the bum
RSN: But the Yankees have the resources to buy out of problems - you may not get full value, but if you think the unthinkable.... Mussina back to the Orioles?
NYN: but is the money really endless?
RSN: It is not infinite but... they could raise money from limited partners, or raise debt against the value of the franchise - I do think Steinbrenner would need to accept that the exercise is a one off, that it isn't a long term, lets blow it up every year thing - salaries have stepped back from where they were, so you do this one off and position the team for the future
NYN: But we are still handing out stupid contracts even this winter
RSN: Well, RJ was expensive, Pavano was market, Wright was silly but they realized that themselves and renegotiated, Womack was a silly acquisition, but not expensive in the grand scheme?
NYN: Give a guy with a dodged up shoulder $21m guaranteed is stupid in my book
RSN: Is that contract un-tradable - or is tradable at $5m - a cost of 2m per year, taking on a ST expensive contract gone after the season?
NYN: Maybe Wright is tradable but not sure who'd take him
RSN: You look at teams that are struggling, or teams that are not performing as they should - you could get pitching from Oakland at the right price, and hitting / defense from the Phillies?
NYN: Ok how about this - Jeter - CF, A-Rod - SS, Lowell - 3B?
RSN: I think that is the type of move the Yankees need – something radical to shake out the malaise that the group is displaying…
To be continued!