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Signing CC makes too much sense for Yanks

Signing CC makes too much sense for Yanks
Yammerin' Hank Steinbrenner vows change. And this is not particularly good for the Yankees. Hank has the same instincts as his father, which is to go famous, expensive and long-term.

The ideas attributed to him last season were to re-sign Alex Rodriguez for 10 years (what will that deal will look like in, say, 2016?) and trade for Johan Santana and give him the largest pitching contract in history (he was outvoted on that one). So pretty much anyone who knows the top 20 players in the game will know how Hank is thinking.

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The most important initial decision the Yanks face, however, is not in deciding which players to reach out for, but in determining what to do with their current position players. Obviously, minds can be changed in the final month - especially by baseball miracle finishes — but this is how I feel going into the offseason:

Jason Giambi — The Yanks cannot live with his defense at first any longer, especially his tentativeness to throw. And they can't afford to bring this free agent back as a DH exclusively, not with Jorge Posada, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui under contract at least through next year. Giambi could still help someone with his power and keen eye. But buyer beware: He gets on base plenty, but scores infrequently because of poor speed. And his bat has slowed enough that good pitchers beat him too routinely.

Robinson Cano — If he is the second baseman next year, fine, he still has the capability to be both a batting champ and Gold Glove. But the YanksNew York Yankees should investigate his market in the way Tampa did in turning a high-end young hitter (Delmon Young) into a young front-of-the-rotation starter (Matt Garza) last offseason. Cano for Zach Greinke, Chad Billingsley or Matt Cain anyone? To replace Cano, the Yanks could sign free agent Orlando Hudson, who I have heard was heartbroken when the MetsNew York Mets enlisted Luis Castillo long-term because he wanted to play in New York. Hudson is a defensive magician, a switch-hitter and - unlike Cano - a guy who brings high energy and concentration every day. Hudson is expected to make a full recovery from a dislocated bone in his left wrist that was operated upon earlier this month.

Bobby Abreu/Johnny Damon/Hideki Matsui/Xavier Nady — Even without Giambi, the only way to keep all four would be to play Damon in center or Nady at first, neither of which is ideal with Yanks needing to get younger and better defensively at those positions.

Abreu is a free agent and, thus, the most obvious to go. You would have Nady shift to right, Damon in left and Matsui as the primary DH. But I would definitely offer Abreu arbitration because he is a Type-A free agent and compensation is a first-round pick and a sandwich pick if he signs elsewhere. And if he accepts, having Abreu on a one-year contract is not the worst scenario, but it would force the movement of someone else.

Whatever the outcome with Abreu, the Yanks should be open-minded about maximizing Damon, Matsui and Nady if they can find good returns.

Damon and Nady are both under control for just one more year and are represented by Boras. So if you were imagining tying up Nady, 28, long-term, forget it. Boras does not let this kind of under-30 player whose batting skills have climbed from good to above-average sign without testing free agency. So if the Yanks are not going to have Nady beyond next season, they must see what his much-craved righty bat can fetch.

Damon's leadoff skills make him appealing for the Yanks to keep, but also should make him desirable in the market. Damon has no-trade rights, but is from Orlando. The Braves train in Orlando and I wonder if there is a way to get Casey Kotchman, an exquisite defensive first baseman whose offensive potential remains high, but yet untapped. Coincidentally, Kotchman was recently traded for Teixeira.

Matsui's knee problems and two years left at $26 million make him hard to move. But his professional mien as a person and hitter could make him attractive to teams wanting a DH, possibly such as Oakland, Toronto, Cleveland and Minnesota.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: August 31, 2008

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