Jon Heyman SPORTS COLUMNIST Meet the 2006 Yankees 10 ways to fix the Yankees and make them World Series champions again October 12, 2005
George Steinbrenner didn't spend $210 million to see his team go out in the first round of the playoffs. It's been five years since the Yankees won a championship, and it's time for some radical changes.
Before the Yankees do anything else, before they re-up general manager Brian Cashman or fire whomever they're going to fire, they should put in a call to the Boston Red Sox. There's a blockbuster to be made, if only these two teams could put aside their hatred.
While there's no guarantee the Red Sox would answer the phone after seeing their caller ID box says "New York Yankees," the Yankees shouldn't let that inhibit them from offering Gary Sheffield for Manny Ramirez in a straight-up superstar swap. Although this may seem farfetched or even fanciful -- and it probably is both those things -- Ramirez is obviously up for grabs, and Sheffield could be, too.
Boston has long been dangling Ramirez, the native of Washington Heights who's asked out multiple times and is viewed by Red Sox management as an expensive irritant. And, they'd have to admit, Sheffield makes for a much better return than Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff and the Mets' Mike Cameron, the trade-deadline proposal they eventually rejected in late July.
The Yankees did consider dealing Sheffield to the Mets midway through the season. And like Ramirez, Sheffield has his hang-ups; for instance, at times he seems more interested in chasing cash than fly balls.
Of course, even if the teams agreed to talk, they'd still have to negotiate finances. Ramirez has three years at $19 million per remaining, while Sheffield, who did his own deal, has one year at $13 million left and would undoubtedly try to blow up the deal or want more money, as he's done before.
Whatever they do, the Yankees have to make bold moves. They have to know their $210-million team is fatally flawed (even with such future Hall of Famers as Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter) after suffering a first-round knockout and barely qualifying for the playoffs on the last weekend.
If there's anything positive in the misfortune of drawing the pesky Angels, it's that they provided a workable blueprint. That team is way deeper than Vladimir Guerrero, Frankie Rodriguez and the Rally Monkey, it turns out. Hopefully, The Boss' baseball people were paying attention.
If the Yankees don't do anything else this winter, they must shore up that crummy defense, deepen that thin bullpen and re-emphasize character (the Ramirez-Sheffield trade goes to the third objective).
My other go-for-the-gusto trade proposal may be even less likely to happen since Cashman, who's still here at last head count, has declared promising second baseman Robinson Cano off-limits. In any case, I'd propose trading Cano for allegedly available Twins centerfielder Torii Hunter.
While Cano's a budding virtuoso at the plate, he's a certifiable space cadet in the field. If the Yankees could grab Hunter, they could try replacing Cano with a better defender at second, say Braves free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, who batted .322 after the All-Star break and could switch positions.
1. Sign B.J. Ryan to be Mariano Rivera's main bullpen set-up man.
Closers generally don't like setting up, but the chance to be in the playoffs might appease him (and if not that, then a little extra cash). If Baltimore's Ryan won't come, check out vastly improved San Francisco lefthander Scott Eyre.
2. If Hunter can't be acquired, try for Red Sox free agent Johnny Damon.
Word is, Damon's very open to leaving for the right contract (say $40 million for four years).
3. Make Jason Giambi the full-time DH, alleviating the need to hold their breath every time he has to throw.
It was nostalgic to see Tino Martinez return, but five home runs in the final four months won't cut it. John Olerud (.289) is a better first-base option.
4. Trade Chien-Ming Wang for A's starter Barry Zito.
The Yankees are extremely reticent to trade the youngsters who outperformed expectations. I say, sell high. Zito is at the same stage when Oakland traded pitchers Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, and the colorful lefthander is a guy who could make it big in New York.
5. Carl Pavano, not the guy for New York, should be traded.
The truth is that we can analyze and poke holes and make suggestions etc. for every team in the major leagues but actually carrying out the trades/signings is a much harder task then articles like these make it out to be.
Yes but I doubt Cano will get you Hunter and signing Damon is a bad idea IMO.
Obviously they'll look at CF, but trading Cano for Hunter is not the answer. They could get Hunter for NOTHING if they wait one more year.
Trading Cano is just a dumb, dumb idea. The kid is 22 or 23 and plays one of the toughest spots to fill.
The fact that the writer thinks 4 years, $40M for Damon is a good deal is just sad. By the end of it, he'll be another Bernie, with even less power than Bernie, a terrible arm and a lack of the speed he once had that made him so good.
Wang knows how to pitch and what makes anyone think he could fetch Zito?
Pavano's contract renders him virtually unmovable for anything of value. They're better off keeping him.
Where's the rest of the article? He says 10 ways to fix them, but you've only got 5 of them there.