Not to be too Yankee-centric, but here's a fun what-if: what if George had decided Beltran was the number one priority this offseason? Their offense would be a lot better; no issues about Womack in LF; Bernie and Giambi could split DH/1B (that's an expensive platoon); and they wouldn't have had to sign both Tino AND Sierra so could get a little more bench depth.
Money of course was an issue. But I think it could've been done with some smart decisions. Beltran would've cost $17M, plus luxury tax -- could their 2005 salary be reduced by $17M, given previous contracts? Let's see...use Andy Phillips at 2B rather than sign Woe-mack (saving $4M); say yes to Wells when he called, rather than sign Wright (saving, oh, $3.5M)...hmmm...And then cancel the dental plans of everyone in the Yankees organization, leading to a total savings of $17M.
Ha ha. Seriously, how about this: if they had been content with Beltran, and not gone after The Unit, they'd have saved $5M (in salary) and $8.5M (cash to the D-Backs), plus they'd have kept two prospects, Dioner "Dave" Navarro and Brad Halsey -- who's doing quite well in Arizona so far (2-0, 3.09 ERA, 1.14 WHIP), while making league minimum. And despite a couple shaky outings to start the season, Javier Vazquez is starting to settle in. So there you have it: Beltran in CF, with a rotation of Vazquez/Mussina/Brown/Wells/Halsey, for slightly less money than they're paying now. Of course, Brown would still suck, and Wells could still get hurt, but Wang and Henn would be available. I would argue this rotation is no worse than their real one. Only this Yankees team includes Carlos Beltran in center field.
Not that I'm complaining.