Friday, July 18, 2008

I want your Sexson?

So the Yankees made on the surface what seemed to be a very "Yankees" move of recent times on Thursday when they reportedly signed veteran slugger Richie Sexson off the street.

Will Sexson be another example of the Bombers making a cash grab of a faded star -- the 2000 Jose Canseco Initiative and 2002 Raul Mondesi Embargo come to mind here -- or does Sexson have the ability to help this team and its woeful offense in the second half?

A look at the numbers say it's possible. Though Sexson's overall statistics were brutal in Seattle, his splits against lefties -- a Bombers weak point -- show he's not a total lost cause. The first baseman had a .344 average with five home runs in 71 at-bats against southpaws this year, making a matchup tandem of Sexson and Giambi potentially fruitful. And while Sexson's no Donnie Baseball defensively, he represents a sizable upgrade over Wilson "The Butcher" Betemit. The additional facts that he's only 33 and will be paid the prorated minimum makes this a low-risk high-reward scenario. Let's hope they catch lightning in a bottle here.

With reports clearly pointing to the reality that Hideki Matsui's season is over, the Yanks may be looking for another bat beyond Sexson. Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday is an intriguing possibility, and his free-agent status should lend itself to a lower price tag. Braves first baseman Mark Teixiera is another option also in the walk year of his deal.

Of course, this all means we have another test of the Yankees' new development-friendly front office policy. Will the club let its farm system continue to develop without outside interference? Or will they abandon the philosophy in light of the Hughes-Kennedy regressions and very real possibility that there won't be any October baseball in Yankee Stadium's final season?

If George was still George, I would think he'd go all out in an attempt to send the Stadium off with a winner. But George ain't George anymore. I think we all know that for sure now. That they stayed out of the Sabathia and Harden sweepstakes should provide you with a pretty good clue that a trade for a big-time slugger probably isn't happening unless something literally fell into his lap.

Cashman knows the truth here. This team is built around its offense of All-Stars. If the unit doesn't improve as a whole, all the trade deadline maneuvering in the world isn't going to save the Yankees in 2008. Cashman can only go by track records, and the track records say this team will eventually score runs in bunches on a consistent basis.

He has no other choice but to hope probability and reality sync up before it's too late.

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