Does the 2010-2011 offseason got you down, Yankees fans? Then why not look ahead to next winter? Larry Koestler of Yankeeist does that this morning. The upshot? Seems like the free agent pickins are a tad slim:
A quick glance at the free agent starting pitching list yields the following potentially interesting names: Mark Buehrle,Chris Carpenter (though he has a team option), Edwin Jackson, Joel Pineiro and C.J. Wilson … For fun, a quick perusal of position players — just in case the Yankees end up trading one of theirs — yields no one particularly interesting in the infield, and includes outfielders Jose Bautista, David DeJesus, J.D. Drew, Corey Hartand Yankeeist favorite Josh Willingham.
Larry’s list doesn’t include guys like Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, probably because Larry seems like a reasonable guy and doesn’t engage in that “sure, we could sign Pujols to be our DH” nonsense that so many of you people like to traffic in down in the comments. Could it happen? Sure, nothing is impossible in Yankees land, but it’s just not reasonable to think that the Yankees are going to base their plans on that kind of thing. Fielder and Pujols have every incentive to avoid DH situations as they head into free agency and I won’t believe that they’d go to the Bronx until the minute I see them wearing pinstripes at a press conference.
The overall lesson here? Teams are getting better and better about locking up young talent. There are fewer stud free agents hitting the market. For the Yankees to maintain their dominance in the coming years they’re going to have to continue to improve their farm system — which they have done a good job of in recent years — and to be more aggressive in the trade market.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.