The Yankees lost again. At 36-39, the death knells are ringing louder and louder, and the nine-game winning streak is further and further in the distance. Getting swept in Colorado and dropping two of three to two of the worst ballclubs in baseball will do that. Play-off teams do not lose series against sub-.500 clubs.
This time, the Yankees lost with $28MM man Roger Clemens on the mound, and he failed to strike out any Orioles. That is ugly and not what the Yankees expected to get when going all Tom Hicks to sign Clemens.
Now there is word the Yankees are in talks to bring Shea Hillenbrand to the Bronx. Hillenbrand is all about the ABs. When he gets them, he keeps quiet. When he doesn't, he complains. How is this type of player going to help the Yankees?
Is there a plan to compel Yankees' manager Joe Torre to play Hillenbrand. Before potentially poisoning the clubhouse, there had better be. Otherwise, Torre will continue to play his new favorite, Miguel Cairo, at first base. That may not be 101% true, but Cairo is playing everyday while Andy Phillips sits. This after Torre averred Phillips would be the starter.
As a Yankee fan, this feels like deja vu all over again. It is 1988 again.
"What should the Yankees do then?" some wise acre asks. I'll offer some suggestions. All four are premised on the belief the Yankees will not make the play-offs this season. None of the moves involved any person with whom the Yankees have a 2008 contractual obligation either. Intrepidity now will equally redound to Brian Cashman's credit the same way it has to that of Mets GM Omar Minaya and White Sox GM Kenny Williams.
1. Designate For Assignment Bobby Abreu
The Yankees owe him $7.5MM. Offer to trade him for a a AAA outfielder who is on the wrong side of 24. This is more than the Yankees currently have and will help build some organizational depth. Ryan Rayburn in the Tigers system would be nice, but Shin-Soo Choo of the Indians is a much better fit for both teams.
2. Trade Alex Rodriguez
He is half-a-season rental, but, if White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle can garner interest from a handful of teams, so will ARod. The public relations aspect of this decision would be the big news, but the Yankees will have a hole at 3B next season regardless when ARod opts out, and offering a four-year/$100MM extension, in order to preserve Tom Hicks' ongoing contribution for the next three years, that begins in 2011 would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility. A deal with the Dodgers seems to make sense for both clubs. The Dodgers have enough prospects and players to make the deal. My suggestion: Nomar Garciaparra, Wilson Betemit and Jonathan Meloan for ARod.
3. Trade Roger Clemens
This may not be possible as Roger could retire rather than acquiesce to the trade, but he deserves to try and win a pennant. As long as the Yankees will pick-up the contract, then he should get something similar to the haul Mark Beuhrle would bring.
4. Fire Joe Torre
His game-time managerial skills have been exposed as poor, and he has been borderline mutinous the way he has has utilized the roster he was given coming out of the spring. He is a lame duck anyhow and hasn't done anything this year to merit the retention of his job. He can be replaced with an interim manager until Cashman rebuilds the team in the mold that Joe Girardi can work with.