Sure the major renovations to the lineup are nice, but has anybody considered how the Yankees plan to fill out their bench for next season?
Right now all we're looking at is Francisco Cervelli as the backup catcher, Ramiro Pena as the utility infielder, and Juan Miranda as the bench bat/emergency first baseman. With Jerry Hairston and Eric Hinske both being free agents and so far not re-signed, the outfield is only 3-deep with Swish, C-Grand, and Brett Gardner. I'm not even counting Freddy Guzman because the fact is he should only be on a Major League roster after the rosters expand to 40 in September.
So how are the Yankees planning on bulking up the bench for 2010? One of the unsung keys to last season was the moves they made to bolster their lineup and give themselves multiple options for both starting lineups and late-game situational substitutions.
For starters, I would bring Hairston back; he can play all 3 outfield positions if need be as well as third base and his approach at the plate fits right into the Yankee mentality. At this stage in his career he probably realizes he's only getting a chance to play every day on a shitty team and it makes more sense to him to stay in New York, contend for titles, and be remembered as a Luis Sojo/Chad Curtis type by diehard Yankee fans for years to come.
As for Hinske, for some reason I like the guy and wouldn't mind seeing him in pinstripes next year, but at the same time I'm OK if he leaves. He can play multiple positions but none as well as Hairston can, and isn't as good an all-around hitter as Hairston or any other Yankee. He's like a Glenallen Hill with a little less pop so to lose him would not be a major backbreaker to next year's potential for success.
The fact that neither of these guys have been re-signed already and that nobody else has been brought in has to make Yankee fans wonder what the plan is. Does that mean that Damon is still in play behind the scenes? Does it mean there is somebody else out there that the Yanks have kept quiet about? Whatever the case is, it looks like the major deals are done for the Bombers and it's time to put the last few pieces together; the room has been re-decorated and re-painted, and now it's time to do the touchup in the corners and vacuum to put the finishing touches on it.