So we have entered the offseason for Major League Baseball and the winter meetings are upon us. Typically there is a lot of non-sensical trade feelers thrown around at these meetings with few of them actually having any teeth... So, I would like to play devil's advocate for a second here and see how likely or unlikely the following situation is:
My first Improbable Prediction for 2011: The New York Yankees' pitching rotation will consist of CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Zack Greinke... Follow my reasoning after the jump below:
- We know that CC will be a Yankee for the foreseeable future - no mystery there.
- We also know that the Yankees can offer more money to Cliff Lee than any other team in baseball - again, no mystery, the only question is whether Lee will take the big big money and how much it will be...
- The dark-horse in this whole thought experiment is Zack Geinke.
Here is why I think good ole Zack could wear pinstripes next year:
- He is good - very good - and the Yankees should always want to add someone of his pitching caliber to their roster (duh).
- Recent reports suggest that his no-trade list is not quite indicative of his desire to stay low profile and away from big markets, but rather is to give him bargaining power if a trade becomes possible. It seems likely that his desire to play with a winner is stronger than some assumed and that his anxiety issues of the past are manageable and not a concern (to him at least).
- The Yankees have excellent prospects and players to offer a trade in exchange for one of the best young pitchers in baseball.
- Zack's contract is no problem for the Yankees to take on and is quite team friendly for a large market team
I think the recent reports that Cashman will let Jesus Montero have a chance at the starting catcher job is grossly over hyped - purposely to try and downplay Montero's defensive inadequacies and enhance his trade value by suggesting that he can handle a MLB pitching staff. Let's note at this point that I love Montero and own him in a keeper league and further believe that he has a special bat - for fantasy purposes, thats all we need to know - as long as he can get the AB's, his defense really doesn't affect the fantasy value. In real-life however, there is more to the game than just being a smash-a-holic with the baseball.
The Yankees are bleeding young catchers and young pitchers, so as crazy as it may sound, Montero is expendable (as was shown with his availability in the Cliff Lee offer last season). The Yankees have veteran Jorge Posada and the scrappy Francisco Cervelli. Also, they have two minor league catchers with excellent projection to stay at the catcher position (everyone reports that Montero is likely to move from Catcher in the future) - Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is very young but draws rave reviews for his advanced approach at the plate and does have some power projection to go with what has been described as a 'special package'. Sanchez will be the next Montero but could actually stick at catcher.
So here is what I propose we could see over the course of the offseason:
- The Yankees sign Cliff Lee
- The Yankees trade a sizable package to acquire Zack Greinke
- The Yankees would instantly be World Series favorites (big leap of faith there huh?)
What could a potential trade look like for Greinke? How about Jesus Montero, Andrew Brackman, and Joba Chamberlain? If Kansas City is convinced of the reports that Montero could be ready to give the MLB pitching staffs a go, then it could happen. The big thing is if they don't quite buy it and really have no use for Montero who would move to DH or 1B if he can't handle the defensive duties. Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer (soon to be ready) will have 1B and DH covered for a long time pending any trades.
How far fetched would it be to see the opening day pitching staff consist of CC, Greinke, Lee, Hughes, (and someone else - doesn't matter)?... They can go Lefty, Righty all the way to the best record in baseball and not miss a beat with giving up a good haul for one of the premier young pitchers.
You heard it here first!