The New York Yankees capped off a 95-win season with a spectacular collapse against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. Now it seems like everyone on ESPN is talking about what they should do with their lineup. If you want some answers, see below.
First of all, the Yanks will have to get rid of Alex Rodriguez. If they put him and Curtis Granderson in a package together, maybe, just maybe, they can get Miami to give up Jose Reyes (I think Ben Shapiro was the first writer I read who mentioned a potential A-Rod to Reyes trade). There's no doubt this is a crazy idea, but this is the same team that signed CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett in the same offseason. Anything's possible.
But if Jose Reyes is at shortstop, you can't have Derek Jeter at the same position. What should the Yankees do? Move the captain to third base to replaced the departed A-Rod. Jeter's getting old, and will be coming off a broken ankle in 2013, so putting him at an easier defensive position should help him keep playing a little longer.
As for Robinson Cano, don't pick up his option for 2013. Instead, restructure his contract and lock him up for the next five years. He'll turn 30 in just a few days (October 22), a relatively young age for a baseball player, so it would be wise to sign him through 2017 to ensure the all-star stays in New York for years to come (A bleacherreport.com article noted one of the Yanks options when it comes to Cano is a contract extension).
So next season the Bronx Bomber infield should look like this: Mark Teixeira at first, Robinson Cano at second, Jose Reyes at shortstop, and Derek Jeter at third.
As for the outfield, enter Yankee money. There's some guy down in Texas named Josh Hamilton who's a free agent this season and would be a perfect fit to the Yankees' lineup. What's that? He comes with some baggage? No problem. In New York, bad athletes go good (An idea that came from my father, Matt, Sr.). Kerry Collins had a drinking problem, but he led the New York Giants to Super Bowl XXXV upon arriving in Gotham. The new New York Yankee way is supposed to be spending less money, but that won't be a possibility if they want to continue producing on the field year in and year out, so it would be wise to go get The Hammer.
Corner outfielders: re-sign Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, but let Nick Swisher walk. Ichiro had a fielding percentage of 1.000 as a Yankee last season, and his .340 OBP (on-base percentage) as a Bomber was just 25 points below his career number. Plus, he also had 29 steals, 14 in his 67 games as a Yank. These are the kind of statistics the Yankees need: good defense and an offensive player that can help the team fabricate runs. Keep Suzuki in New York for one more season.
As for Gardner, fingers crossed that he returns to pre-2012 form. If so, he'll get on base enough as a number two hitter for Cano, Teixeira, and Hamilton to drive him in on a regular basis.
Behind the plate, Russell Martin will do the Yankees just fine. He's got the defensive skills, but his offensive numbers are lacking quite a bit. Hit him eighth or ninth, and let his defensive skills make up for his deficiencies with the bat.
Last, but certainly not least, sign Raul Ibanez for one more season to play the DH spot. His numbers for 2012 stand just a tad below his career stats, but he came through in so many situations for the Yankees this season that he really deserves another year in the Bronx.
So in sum, replace Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson with Jose Reyes and Josh Hamilton, move Jeter to third, ditch Swish, and keep everyone else the same. It might be a little bit crazy, but these are they Yankees after all.