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Building case for '09 Yanks


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Building case for '09 Yanks

News' experts dream up team for new Stadium

By ROGER RUBIN

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Posted Wednesday, July 11th 2007, 4:00 AM

Across the way, the new Yankee Stadium grows larger every day, and with it so do questions about the team that will play there come 2009.

The new Stadium will have new features such as large concourses, luxury suites and a myriad of new concessions. But it also will pay homage to the team's history with a face that harks back to the original facade and a transplanted Monument Park.

The Daily News staff reviewed the prospects in the organization, the coming free agent market and quality of the current players to give fans a glimpse of what the '09 team might look like. The Yankees will probably be a lot like the park, boasting many new additions and important remnants of the team's best days, such has Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

Catcher

None of the News staffers could see Posada, 35, anywhere except where he's been for all 13 of his major league seasons.

"He's having a monster season," baseball writer Anthony McCarron said. "It'll get him a two-year deal and maybe more."

"He says he wants to see what's out there on the free agent market, but there's no way the Yankees want him playing anywhere but here," baseball columnist Bill Madden said.

Posada will turn 37 during the 2009 season but the feeling here is that, unlike with other catchers, his on-field performance won't decline much. Catchers that start to slip at 35 have been playing the position - and taxing their knees - from before the day they were drafted. Posada was an infielder, so his legs have suffered less wear and tear.

The Infield

The biggest dispute came at third base with regard to Alex Rodriguez's future.

"Even if Yanks miss the playoffs, I don't believe A-Rod is looking to leave New York," baseball columnist John Harper said. "He enjoys all the buzz around him, good and bad, and (George) Steinbrenner will be desperate to keep him. With few position players in their system, the Yanks will have to overpay somebody for offense, so why not A-Rod?"

Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand and baseball writer Peter Botte see third base as a spot where the team could pluck a big talent like Miguel Cabrera off a small market club like the Marlins. "A-Rod gets replaced when the Marlins can't afford to keep this slugger," Feinsand said.

Mike Lowell is earning $9 million in an All-Star season for the Red Sox and will merit a raise they might not be willing to give. He came up through the Yankees system and speaks reverently about it. The bet here is the Yankees bring him while dealing their archrivals a blow.

The Bombers could continue to work Johnny Damon into a first baseman, but most of the panel likes Mark Teixiera of the Rangers.

"Teixiera is the best guy who will be available and money will be freed up when (Jason) Giambi's contract is through (in '08)," baseball columnist Bill Madden said.

The Outfield

The sole consensus in the outfield is that Hideki Matsui will be there in the final season of his four-year deal. There is a strong feeling, though, that Melky Cabrera might continue his development and hold on to a job and that Minnesota's Torii Hunter could be the Yanks' big offseason acquisition come this winter.

"Minnesota will have to make some tough choices because they don't have the money to keep everyone," McCarron said. "With a new ballpark coming, keeping (pitcher Johan) Santana is a must and that will free up Hunter."

Designated Hitter

If Damon's physical decline from this season continues, his grinding at-bats may be his only asset in the final season of his contract. That is why he would fit as the DH.

Madden sees it as the only spot for minor leaguer Shelley Duncan, the team's only power-hitting prospect. The feeling here is that with sluggers Troy Glaus of Toronto and Travis Hafner of Cleveland becoming free agents, the Bombers won't be able to resist.

Pitching

All agree that the Yankee organization is strong on pitching and that Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes will be rotation mainstays for years. There also is overwhelming support for Double-A prospect Joba Chamberlain, who becomes the top pitching prospect after Hughes' promotion.

Still, they are the Yankees, and they always like big-ticket items. Aces from other teams - Minnesota's Johan Santana, Baltimore's Erik Bedard, Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia and Milwaukee's Ben Sheets - will hit free agency in the next two years. Botte sees Houston's Roy Oswalt as an expensive asset if the cost-conscious Astros drop from contention.

"They will offer Santana the moon," Harper said. Added Madden: "That's the kind of big score they'll want to make."

There also was some sentiment that as long as Roger Clemens continues to pitch effectively, he could remain on his half-season program.

"Roger would like the idea of going after Christy Mathewson and Grover Cleveland Alexander at 373 (career wins)," McCarron said.

Manager

The consensus that Joe Torre will be gone is the survey's biggest upset. And there are concerns that Don Mattingly's low-key approach would be too much like Torre's.

"The Boss is the kind of guy who's going to want a fiery personality to replace a laid-back style," McCarron said.

"They don't want to stick Donnie with being the guy who follows Joe, especially because he has no managerial experience," Botte said.

"I have a feeling that (GM Brian) Cashman is not as sold on Mattingly as Steinbrenner might be," Harper said. "He can sell Mattingly on getting a chance down the road, but assuming that Torre is gone after this season, it's now or never with Joe Girardi."

General Manager

The majority feel Steinbrenner will stick with Cashman. "There may be a talent inside the organization capable of replacing Brian," Feinsand said, "but George would have to see it."

The feeling here - and for McCarron - is that the Red Sox's new model may be the one to emulate. The Diamondbacks are thriving under former Theo Epstein assistant Josh Byrnes and another top assistant, Jed Hoyer, may be ready to leave the nest. McCarron predicts that Epstein's contract will run out and likes the Yankees' chances in a bidding war.

Projected starting rotation

BILL MADDEN

Johan Santana

Chien-Ming Wang

Phil Hughes

Andy Pettitte

Joba Chamberlain

JOHN HARPER

Johan Santana

Chien-Ming Wang

Phil Hughes

Joba Chamberlain

Tyler Clippard

MARK FEINSAND

Ben Sheets

Chien-Ming Wang

Phil Hughes

Joba Chamberlain

Humberto Sanchez

ANTHONY McCARRON

C.C. Sabathia

Chien-Ming Wang

Eric Bedard

Joba Chamberlain

Roger Clemens

PETER BOTTE

Roy Oswalt

Chien-Ming Wang

Phil Hughes

Andy Pettitte

Roger Clemens

ROGER RUBIN

C.C. Sabathia

Chien-Ming Wang

Eric Bedard

Phil Hughes

Joba Chamberlain

Closer

Madden: Rivera

Harper: Rivera

Feinsand: Rivera

McCarron: Phil Hughes

Botte: Rivera

Rubin: Rivera

Catcher

Madden: Posada

Harper: Posada

Feinsand: Posada

McCarron: Posada

Botte: Posada

Rubin: Posada

First base

Madden: Teixeira

Harper: Teixeira

Feinsand: Teixeira

McCarron: Derrek Lee

Botte: Teixeira

Rubin: Johnny Damon

Second base

Madden: Cano

Harper: Cano

Feinsand: Cano

McCarron: Cano

Botte: Cano

Rubin: Cano

Third base

Madden: Mike Lowell

Harper: Alex Rodriguez

Feinsand: Miguel Cabrera

McCarron: Rodriguez

Botte: Cabrera

Rubin: Lowell

Shortstop

Madden: Jeter

Harper: Jeter

Feinsand: Jeter

McCarron: Jeter

Botte: Jeter

Rubin: Jeter

Left field

Madden: Matsui

Harper: Matsui

Feinsand: Matsui

McCarron: Johnny Damon

Botte: Matsui

Rubin: Matsui

Center field

Madden: Hunter

Harper: Melky Cabrera

Feinsand: Eric Byrnes

McCarron: Hunter

Botte: Hunter

Rubin: Hunter

Right field

Madden: Matt Holiday

Harper: Cabrera

Feinsand: Jose Tabata

McCarron: Cabrera

Botte: Cabrera

Rubin: Nick Swisher

Designated hitter

Madden: Shelley Duncan

Harper: Damon

Feinsand: Damon

McCarron: Hideki Matsui

Botte: Damon

Rubin: Troy Glaus

General manager

Madden: Cashman

Harper: Cashman

Feinsand: Buck Showalter

McCarron: Theo Epstein

Botte: Cashman

Rubin: Jed Hoyer

Manager

Madden: Don Mattingly

Harper: Girardi

Feinsand: Girardi

McCarron: Lou Piniella

Botte: Girardi

Rubin: Girardi

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That's nothing-one of these guys has 19-year old Tabata(who has some potential) as leaping from A Tampa in 1 year. For a team that wouldn't bring up Hughes, that is a joke. Another thing-they sign Hunter, Texiera, Santana, Sabbathia, Lee, et al. What's the payoll-$300 million?

Sign A-rod. Or don't bitch about anemic offense or lousy fielding at 3rd. Without him, this lineup is hurting.

And have they learned nothing from Damon, Matsui, Giambi, Mussina? I'd have no problem giving an ace like Santana or Oswalt a huge deal, but all of these postion players are about the same as those signings-guys just past their prime on the way down looking for one big payday. That doesn't work, and it's why the team is an untradeable mess now.

They need a backup catcher, an outfielder who can play CF(Aaron Rowand?) and a 1st baseman. An ace starter would be great, but Hughes, Wang, Mussina (under contract for 2008) figure to have spots, and I'd be surprised if Chamberlian isn't here after what happened with Hughes.Pettitte also has a mutual option. If Santana or Oslwat shakes loose, sure, but may be they should look downmarket for a #5, like they should've done this year with Ted Lilly instead of Igawa.

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This was good for a laugh :P Phil Hughes as a closer?

Sure, they're going to sign Bedard, Sabathia, Lowell, Hunter, Swisher, and Glaus all in the next two years and none of those guys will get extensions from their current team, or that the world is round and revolves around the sun. I guess these guys don't buy that the yanks are moving away from the huge payrolls. Anyway, that would be really good for the Pirates (or at least the owners).

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If George still has his hand in things, I am positive the Yanks will not only be a great team in '09', but will be great in '08',, thats what makes fans of other teams wish they had him as manager,,he wont tolerate this for long..

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Man, that was some funny sh#t. I bet none of them will be even close to the exact team.

And what in the HELL is with all the no love for Aaron Rowand? Every time an announcer or analyst talks about bringing in a CFer on the FA market after this season, all they ever mention is Tori Hunter (completely overrated & alittle old), Ichiro (he's great but he just resigned), Andruw Jones (completely overrated) and Mike Cameron (completely overrated & alittle old)

Hello - Aaron Rowand, after Ichiro, is the best dam CFer on the FA market. Plus he's just 29.

Oh, and the Yankees need to keep Arod. I literally had a nightmare about 2 weeks or so ago that mike lowell was our 3rd baseman, I kid you not.

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When Pirate fans "build a case for '09 Buccos" its more like "these three prospects will be up by then, so what cheap project FA will there be to fill the holes? And what can we get for this guy when he's traded to cut salary?"

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Man, that was some funny sh#t. I bet none of them will be even close to the exact team.

And what in the HELL is with all the no love for Aaron Rowand? Every time an announcer or analyst talks about bringing in a CFer on the FA market after this season, all they ever mention is Tori Hunter (completely overrated & alittle old), Ichiro (he's great but he just resigned), Andruw Jones (completely overrated) and Mike Cameron (completely overrated & alittle old)

Hello - Aaron Rowand, after Ichiro, is the best dam CFer on the FA market. Plus he's just 29.

Oh, and the Yankees need to keep Arod. I literally had a nightmare about 2 weeks or so ago that mike lowell was our 3rd baseman, I kid you not.

Torri Hunter is a total repeat of Devon White and Kenny Lofton.

I don't get it. If they's making CF a priority, Rowand HAS TO BE the choice.

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Torri Hunter is a total repeat of Devon White and Kenny Lofton.

I don't get it. If they's making CF a priority, Rowand HAS TO BE the choice.

Now, I have only seen Rowand for 2 years, so I cant really comment on what he looked like with teh White Sox, but.......

His first year with the Phillies, this guy was getting the bat literally knocked out of his hands. It didn't look like he had a clue at bat, and nary earned a walk.

This year, the guy is hitting teh fastball with authority and driving gaps.

I don't know what to make of the player. He obviously was hurt part of last year, but that does not explain how clueless he looked at times.

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Torri Hunter is a total repeat of Devon White and Kenny Lofton.

I don't get it. If they's making CF a priority, Rowand HAS TO BE the choice.

None of the above. They are better off signing a RF when Abreu walks such as Fukudome, keeping Melky or Damon or a platoon in CF and filling other holes.

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Torri Hunter is a total repeat of Devon White and Kenny Lofton.

I don't get it. If they's making CF a priority, Rowand HAS TO BE the choice.

Really?.....I like Tori's game.....Rowand is a nice player but not in the same league just yet unless your point is that it's too late in Hunter's career to go giving him a huge contract.

I don't think Abreu gets to "walk" on his own terms Mike. I think the Yanks trade him barring a torrid 3 week winning streak.

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