There will be hundreds of MLB rumors around the New York Yankees this winter. Many of them will make sense, some will not. However, every free agent will almost surely be linked to the Yankees in some fashion or another.
However, the Yankees plan will revolve around getting younger and getting their payroll under the $189 million threshold for the 2014 season when the luxury tax would basically double the payroll. The days of stupid spending for the Yankees are over.
Expect the Yankees to make several moves this winter but nothing that causes them to give a long-term commitment to anyone outside of their own organization. That means you can cross Zack Greinke and almost every other pitcher off the wish list. However, the Yankees could also use this offseason to almost completely rework their roster.
The Yankees hold a $13 million option on Curtis Granderson for 2013. Yes, Granderson led the team in home runs and RBI this year but the Yankees have to ask themselves if he is worth the $13 million at this point after hitting .232 and striking out almost 200 times. If the Yankees do decide to go a different route they could pursue Michael Bourn who is slated to hit the free agent market and will likely see some interest from teams around the league.
Bourn will be 30-years-old next season and will likely ask for at least a five-year deal around $8-9 million. He is a .272 career hitter and has stolen at least 40 bases five times in the last seven seasons, including two years of 60 or more. He does have some pop in his bat, as he hit 9 home runs for the Atlanta Braves this season but the Yankees wouldn’t need him to hit for power.
One detractor is the fact that Bourn struck out a career-high 155 times this year but he did have a .348 OBP which was helped by a career-high 70 walks.
The Yankees could conceivably go with an outfield of Michael Bourn in center, Brett Gardner in left, and Ichiro Suzuki, assuming the Yankees re-sign him this winter. That would be one of the best defensive outfields in all of baseball and would create a huge dilemma for opposing teams on the basepaths.
A Yankee lineup with those three along with Derek Jeter and possibly Eduardo Nunez at third, would surely be interesting. Almost overnight the Yankees would go from the Bronx Bombers to the Bronx Burners, where a single could very easily be turned into a double via the stolen base and where going from first to third on a single would be commonplace.
It probably won’t happen as the Yankees are likely to keep Granderson and his 43 home runs in the lineup for next season but it would surely make for a very interesting team next year. The Yankees led MLB in home runs this past year and that was with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira both sporting career-lows in homers so there would still be plenty of pop in the lineup. Hey, it is worth a thought.