5 Most Important Pending Free Agents for New York Yankees

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Five Pivotal New York Yankees Who Will Be Free Agents

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The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees will have some serious question marks at the end of the season, regardless if they make the playoffs, because many key players will come off the books and become free agents. The fact that the Yankees traditionally don’t negotiate with their players during the season doesn’t help to alleviate the problem they will have once the season concludes.

Even though this team, as it stands, doesn’t seem like they will make the playoffs, there are a ton of valuable players that they simply cannot let walk in the offseason. We know that Mariano Rivera will not return for his 20th season, but David Robertson seems to be his likely heir. However, there are some pieces that are irreplaceable that do intend to keep playing ball and become free agents.

Some of the players that are not signed through next year are MVP and Cy Young candidates. These types of players are pivotal in trying to be what the Yankees have been for 16 out of the last 17 seasons — a playoff team. Without the guys on this list, the Yanks would definitely be in the basement of the AL East — not just this year, but for years to come.

Sure the Yankees routinely reload in the offseason, but with their plans to get under the $189 million threshold of the luxury tax, it indicates that the Yankees cannot and will not sign all of these players. Some of the pending free agents are more important than others, obviously making them more expensive, but this is a list of the most important free agents the Yankees will have to negotiate with in the offseason.

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5. Kevin Youkilis

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Youkilis has barely played all season due to a back injury, but he is important because of his veteran presence, and he gives manager Joe Girardi flexibility with his third- and first-base positions to give Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez a day off in the field.

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4. Phil Hughes

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Hughes has had a tough year and clearly isn’t built for Yankee Stadium, being a notorious fly-ball pitcher. But pitching depth is hard to find and regardless of his potential to give up home runs, he still is a valuable piece.

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3. Curtis Granderson

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis Granderson hit the most home runs in the majors in 2011 and 2012 combined. He obviously hasn’t put up power numbers this year because of his injuries, but his swing is tailor-made for Yankee Stadium and the Yanks can’t reproduce his power.

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2. Hiroki Kuroda

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Hiroki Kuroda has been the Yankees best pitcher this year and is in the running for the Cy Young Award … Cy Young, enough said.

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1. Robinson Cano

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Robinson Cano is a perennial All-Star and arguably the best second-baseman in the game. He is also the future face of the Yankees as their older stars begin to fade away.

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