Everyone Is Free!

Last night at midnight marked five full days since the end of the World Series and that means every free agent is now eligible to move to a new team. It’s a rule change MLB made last year and I really like it as it gets the hot stove burning a little bit sooner.

The question for the Yankees is, will they participate in free agency at all this year? They probably will sign or re-sign some smaller free agents, but there is a very good chance they do absolutely nothing of note.

I imagine the most likely free agent signing the Yankees will make is to bring back Andruw Jones. Jones got off to a slow start, but he finished with a big second half to put up a line of .286/.384/.540 against LHP. Considering two-thirds of the Yankee outfield is lefthanded and the lack of an obvious replacement in the minors, he should be brought back.

But the Yankees have eight other free agents, let’s look at them as well.

Eric Chavez had a great first month, but he broke his foot and put up an awful line of .252/.294/.339 when he returned. He didn’t do very much against righties and while Eduardo Nunez wasn’t great, he did enough with the bat to make Chavez a luxury. The Yankees would be smart to move on.

Bartolo Colon was the surprise of the year. Who could ever have predicted that he would pitch like that? But, we saw him wear down in the second half and when you consider his age and girth, I think the Yankees should take a pass here as well.

Freddy Garcia doesn’t fall too far behind Colon on the surprise meter. But, he is also a Type B free agent, which means the Yankees should offer him arbitration and hope he doesn’t accept it. Even if he does, the financial cost won’t be too burdensome and the Yankees
Luis Ayala had a nice and unexpected year out of the bullpen. At 34, he is not a prospect and the odds of him repeating it are low. Best to let him go and try one of the plethora of arms they have in the minors in his role.

Damaso Marte will always have those big outs in the 2009 playoffs. If he will take an invite to camp, do it, but the Yankees have already wasted too much money on him.

Sergio Mitre is going to come back. We all know it. The bigger question is why?

I would like to see the Yankees bring Andrew Brackman back on a minor league deal. The potential is there, but harnessing it seems like a long shot at this point.

And that leaves us with the saddest decision the Yankees have to make, saying goodbye to Jorge Posada.

We all know in our hearts that this is the right move, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Posada was a wonderful player for many, many years and nobody should wear #20 well into the next decade. But sentimentality doesn’t win you rings and Posada can’t help this club anymore. He can’t catch and his bat only really works against righties. If he could catch and play first, you could make an argument to squeeze him on the roster, but the Yankees need to give his AB’s to younger players.

That may mean seeing Jorge in another uniform next year. That would be odd, but Yogi did it in 1965, so Posada can too. What the Yankees should make clear to him is that a job is waiting in the organization whenever he wants it.