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So much for Melky Cabrera being the starting left fielder. The Yankees and the Braves have agreed to a trade that will send Melky, Mike Dunn, and righty Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves in exchange for starter Javier Vazquez and lefty Boone Logan.

Vazquez would become the Yankees #4 starter. He went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts for the Braves last year, and finished 4th in the AL Cy Young voting. He also posted a WHIP of 1.03 and threw 219.1 innings.

Many fans remember him for his ugly performance in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS in which the Red Sox clobbered him, but he’s a very good pitcher and is a great acquisition for the Yanks.

Logan on the other hand, hasn’t been a great pitcher in the first couple years of his young career. The 25-year old lefty posted a 5.19 ERA in 20 games for the Braves this past season, and has a career ERA of 5.78. I think the Yankees accepted him just to make this deal happen. They will probably let Logan go.

I’m sad to see Melky go, but his batting average was poor. His defense was fundamentally sound, but you can easily get that from another prospect or free agent. This opens the door a bit more for the Yankees to consider Damon, or even move someone there, or yet sign or trade for another outfielder.

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I’m home sick with a cold, sinus, and congestion. So while I’m sitting in bed blowing my nose every five minutes, I’ve been reading blogs and people’s tweets on Twitter.  Here are some things for you all to read about this morning.

Top stories from last week:

Chris’ previous post must have been written in the early morning.  By evening, most of the local news stations here in New York, as well as ESPN.com are reporting that a deal is very close to being done.  This would be the first major trade conducted at baseball’s Winter Meetings.

The deal has apparently morphed into a three-team deal amongst the Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Yankees would receive Granderson, and would have to give up Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke and their best outfield prospect of their farm system.

Arizona would get Tiger’s pitcher Edwin Jackson and starting pitcher Kennedy from the Yankees.  The Tigers would receive left-handed reliever Coke and Jackson from the Yankees as well as Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth from the Diamondbacks.

He does bring a great defense to center field, but I’m still not sold on Granderson.  He has struggled against left-handed pitchers, strikes out a lot and has an atrocious .249 BA last season.  I don’t know a ton about Jackson, but he has been ranked among the top ten prospects in the outfield as well as one of the top in the Yankees farm system.  If they are willing to give him up, the Yankee brass must know something we don’t.

This can also mean one of two serious things for the Yankee outfield.  Either it means the Yankees have, or will have, no intention of re-signing Johnny Damon to man left-field,  OR, the Yankees still plan on signing Damon, but have no more use for Melky Cabrera and/or Brett Gardner in center.

Either way, for this story to get this much news, it must be getting serious.

With the Fall Classic slated to start tonight, here’s the preview from Generation Third.

The Bombers are coming off a thrilling 5-2 win in ALCS game 6 to eliminate the Angels and head to the World Series for the first time since 2003. Andy Pettitte pitched great, Mariano Rivera got a 6-out save.

And right down the Turnpike is Philadelphia, the defending champs, and after winning the NLCS almost a week ago, the Phillies were resting up to see who they would face in the Fall Classic. Last year the Phillies waited 6 days until playing the Rays in last year’s WS, and this year it will be 7 days until first pitch is thrown.

Let’s get to the comparisons.

First Base: Both Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard had huge years, but as soon as the playoffs started, Howard jumped in front of Teixeira by driving in 14 runs combined in the NLDS and NLCS, while Tex struggled and drove in only 4 combined. But, while Howard may be a bit better offensively, Tex provides much better defense at first, and after hitting that big 3-run double in Game 5 and then after picking up a couple hits in Game 6, Tex may be on the verge of a huge World Series. But it isn’t the same as actually doing it.

Edge: Phillies

Second Base: Both Chase Utley and Robinson Cano are slick fielding, power hitting, RBI machines, and both of them proved that in the regular season as Cano knocked 25 out of the park and drove in 85, and Utley slammed 31 out and drove in 93. Defensively, Cano has a better arm, but other than that, they’re pretty much even.

Edge: EVEN

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez is having the postseason of his life, as the slugger has finally gotten out of his playoff slump. ALCS and ALDS stats combine show A-Rod is hitting .438 with 5 home runs and 12 RBIs. Hopefully he can continue his dominance in the World Series, and if he does that, the Yanks have a very good chance to bring home #27. Pedro Feliz is having the complete opposite of the postseason that A-Rod is having. He’s batting .161 with just 1 walk in all 9 playoff games.

Edge: Yankees

Shortstop: Derek Jeter had an MVP-caliber year for the Yanks during the regular season, and Jimmy Rollins didn’t do that much worse for the Phillies. They’re both pretty even, regular season stats wise. But in the playoffs, Rollins has failed to pick up an RBI, while the Captain has drove in 5 and hit 3 long balls. Even if Rollins played better than Jeter this postseason, Jeter would get the edge, because of his postseason experience.

Edge: Yankees

Catcher: Jorge has more experience and is having a good postseason, hitting a couple homers and driving in 3 RBIs. The only bad thing – 7 strikeouts and leaving 10 men on base in ALCS game 6. He needs to swing at more pitches, and needs to actually make contact when he does swing. Fixes that, and he’s golden. Carlos Ruiz is in his 4th year in the Bigs, and had a pretty nice year. He hit 9 homers, drove in over 30 RBIs, and is a pretty good defensive catcher. He also had a big NLCS. But like with the shortstop comparison, its the experience that plays a factor, and Jorge has much more experience and really, is a better player overall.

Edge: Yankees

Designated Hitter: Back in May, when in Yankee Stadium, the Phillies used a better fielding outfielder twice and used Ibanez as a DH (Mayberry Jr. as the outfielder). Their DH/OF, in this case Matt Stairs and John Mayberry Jr. went a combined 3/13, with 1 HR, 3 RBI, and 3 Ks. Matsui is the more experienced DH, and obviously has better numbers than Stairs/Mayberry.

Edge: Yankees

Outfielders: For the Yankees, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher, is good – offensively, at least. Defensively, Damon, even though he’s one of my favorite players, plays a terrible outfield and Swish is right about average defensively if not a bit below average. Melky really is the only really good defender out in the outfield, but thanks to the power of Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher, putting them out there inning after inning isn’t a bad thing at all. For the Phillies, you got Raul Ibanez in left, Shane Victorino in center, and Jayson Werth in right. Ibanez has power and plays an average outfield, Shane Victorino “The Flying Hawaiian” has speed and plays a very good outfield, and Werth is a big home-run hitter and plays a good enough outfield to get by.

Edge: Phillies

Bench: The Yankees have Eric Hinske and Brett Gardner off the bench. Hinske went on a mini-offensive tear when he was acquired. Brett Gardner, if he had gotten more playing time, might have gotten ROY. For the Phillies, they removed former Yank Miguel Cairo in favor of pitcher Brett Myers. I think having Cario on your bench speaks volumes.

Edge: Yanks

Pitching Rotations: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte have all shined during the postseason, and rightfully so have been tabbed as the best rotation in the World Series. CC was the ALCS MVP, A.J. tossed a couple nice games before allowing 6 runs in Game 5, and Andy has been his normal postseason self. The Phillies’ have Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Pedro Martinez. Cliff Lee has been great as expected, Cole Hamels, has been okay, and Pedro, in his only playoff start, allowed a run against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS. Besides CC against Cliff Lee in Games 1, 4, and 7, it doesn’t look like the other matchups will be intriguing. The edge goes to the Yanks here.

Edge: Yankees

Bullpen: The Phillies have two reliable arms out of the ‘pen. Closer Brad Lidge and Scott Madson. Even though Lidge blew 11 saves this season, he’s regained his form. The Yanks have a potential unstoppable 7-8-9 bridge in Joba-Phil-Mo, along with Dave Robertson, Damaso Marte, Al Aceves, and Chad Gaudin. Lidge he does not compare to the best closer in baseball in Mariano Rivera.

Edge: Yankees

Managers: And last, but certainly not least, the managers. Charlie Manuel, coming off his first World Series Championship last year, has been the Phillies manager since 2006, and has lead the Phillies to three straight NL East titles. Joe Girardi has improved this year, and while I believe he handles the line-up better, he has made some questionable decisions regarding the bullpen. I’m hoping his bench coaches will help him make decisions.

Edge: Phillies

I don’t believe in making predictions ‘cuz I don’t want to jinx anything. It’s obvious, being a third generation fan, who I want to win.

This is the first time in the history of this blog that the Yankees have clinched the AL East. This is a first for Trevor and I, and to mark this, I want to address some things regarding the Yankees and how they will prepare the team for the ALDS.

The lineup and bench are deep. The lineup boasts seven Bombers with 20+ home runs and the first time in MLB history that a shortstop and second base tandem had 200+ hits in a season. The bench has speed and the ability to hit for runs.

Outside of a few locks in the bullpen, who will make it? The locks are Mo, Hughes, Aceves and Coke (Robertson if he’s healthy). Gaudin has a good shot because he’s so versatile. Bruney made a strong case with 1.2 perfect innings. Marte has been terrible, but he’s a lefty.

Will Joba start or a relieve? He had a solid game on Friday against Boston. If the Yanks pick the longer LDS series, Joba could be moved to the pen for it. But then, if the Yanks advance, does it screw him up if/when he goes back to starting?

Who should start the second game of the ALDS? Should the Yanks go two straight lefties or put Burnett in between? I’d do the latter.

Should the Yankees do the long or short series? It all depends on who they face – Minnesota or Detroit. If it’s the Tigers, perhaps the Yanks want the shorter series if it means having to face Justin Verlander only twice instead of three times.

Who should be in the outfield, Gardner or Melky? Melky’s got power and an arm. Gardner’s got speed and defense. The best bet is to platoon them. Use them vs. the pitchers they are facing, and situational hitting and base running.

The rest of the roster is up for grabs. I have no idea who will be there. This week will tell.

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