Yankees Decisions: Eiland Dismissal Just The Beginning
Added by Gregg Snyder on October 26, 2010.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has started making changes. The Yankees were pushed from the playoffs by the Texas Rangers last week. Many decisions will need to be made as New York tries to regroup for next season.
The first decision was made yesterday when the Yankees announced pitching coach Dave Eiland would not be returning. This move is a surprise because of the history Eiland has with the organization.
One can only speculate as to the reasoning as Cashman would not give a reason other than to say it was “private” and “personal.”
Cashman also said the decision had nothing to do with the pitching staffs performance in the ALCS. Eiland missed a month of the season due to personal issues and there has been some speculation that may be part of the reasoning.
The team will begin looking for Eiland’s replacement once the negotiations with Girardi are complete. This will be an important position on the Yankees staff. Eiland had built a relationship with young pitchers like Phil Hughes.
So, Eiland, who pitched for the Yankees and became their pitching coach in 2008, will not return. Who else will not be returning?
You can expect the Yankees to decline options on Nick Johnson, Kerry Wood, and Lance Berkman. This does not mean any of these players will not be back with the team, just that their options are to high. Our of the three, Wood is the most likely to return.
Wood became a shut down set up man after the Yankees acquired him in a trade before the deadline. Wood would give the Yankees an excellent bridge to closer Mariano Rivera next season, assuming Rivera himself returns.
Berkman would be a nice player off the bench, backing up Mark Teixeira or being the designated hitter. Would Berkman take less money to do that role with the Yankees? Of course there are other options for that role. Free agent Adam Dunn would be a great pickup for the Yankees.
Bring Girardi Back?
The next order of business however will be negotiating a contract with manager Joe Girardi. Cashman and Girardi have both expressed interest in the manager returning. What do the Yankees offer Girardi? Would two years get a deal done? Girardi has not done much to warrant a long term deal.
Core Four members, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte will be free agents this offseason. The contract for Jeter will be interesting. Jeter had a down year and not getting any younger. He is however, the face of the Yankees. One of their all time greats.
Pettitte will do his normal routine of going home and talking to him family, deciding if he should retire or pitch again next season. The Yankees would love to have Pettitte back. The veteran lefty had a very solid season.
Marcus Thames, Austin Kearns, Javier Vazquez, and Chad Gaudin are also headed for free agency. Vazquez and Gaudin are all but assured of not being with the Yankees next season. It would be a shock if Kearns returned. Girardi rarely used the outfielder.
Thames could return. He proved to be a dangerous hitter against lefties, something the Yankees lineup desperately needs.
The Yankees top priority once again will be starting pitching. I’m sure the Yankees would love to dump A.J. Burnett on someone, but finding a team to take him will be tough. Assuming Burnett stays with the team and Pettitte returns, the Yankees will have CC Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes. That leaves one spot for another starting pitcher.
Cliff Lee is the biggest name on the market this season and will require top dollar. The Yankees will surely be in on the Lee sweepstakes. Texas will likely do it’s best to keep Lee on the club. New owner Nolan Ryan loves his lefty.
After Lee, the starting pitching market is not very deep. The Yankees may need to look into trades.
Left fielder Carl Crawford will be a free agent the Yankees will at least consider. Cashman and company need to decide between letting Brett Gardner continue to be the every day left fielder, or going after a player like Crawford or Jayson Werth.
Nick Swisher, Trade Option?
A potential option could be attempting to trade Nick Swisher while his stock is still semi high. Trading Swisher would open a spot for the Yankees to pursue Werth, Crawford, or possibly bring back Johnny Damon. Swisher however would be missed as he has become a fan favorite and great clubhouse guy.
A decision at the catching position is one to watch as well. Jorge Posada is clearly on the decline, both with the bat and glove. He will likely continue to see more and more time at designated hitter in the years to come. Francisco Cervelli was up and down as the backup this year. Will he hold onto the job?
Many believe top minor league hitting prospect, Jesus Montero, is ready for the big leagues. Can Montero make the roster and be an option at designated hitter and backup catcher? Would the Yankees consider carrying three catchers?
Decisions will need to be made, starting with the manager. The Yankees should offer him a contract on their terms. Girardi is not worth breaking the bank for. If better options are out there, the Yankees should consider them.
This offseason looks like it will be an interesting one in Yankee land.