New York Yankees: 5 Realistic Moves To Make This Offseason
An Offseason of Change Is Looming for the New York Yankees
Heading into the offseason, the New York Yankees will be entering a period of insecurity and questioning that has not been seen in the last 20 years. Between the questions surrounding the possible suspension of Alex Rodriguez, the health of Derek Jeter, and the retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, there is little doubting that the Yankees have major areas to address this winter.
As is the usual way of the Bronx Bombers, it appears as if the tactic to better the roster this offseason will be to spend, spend and spend some more. But unlike most offseasons, it seems that general manager Brian Cashman will have his hands somewhat tied by a mandate owner Hal Steinbrenner to keep the team's payroll under $189 million in 2014. Doing so will make sure the organization avoids going over the luxury tax, which will help avoid huge monetary penalties going forward.
With this need to make changes and an unofficial monetary cap in mind, immense pressure will be put on Cashman to make smart and efficient moves this winter. At $98 million currently due out to seven guys --although Rodriguez's $26 million could come off the books if he receives a season long suspension -- it would appear that the team has $91 million to spend on 18 guys.
What this available money to spend means is that the organization will have to pick up a number of guys that are willing to come on somewhat cheap deals in order to subsidize the huge contracts that are inevitable to come in and keep the overall salary below $189 million. Keeping this in mind, we have compiled a list of the five moves that the Yankees could make this offseason that will both help the team's on-field product and attend to monetary constraints.
5.Sign Carlos Beltran
Throughout his 15 year career, there has been no hiding that Carlos Beltran had wanted to play for the Yankees, as he has offered to take less money to sign with the club in 2003 and 2011. While neither of these attempts seemed to work out, it appears that if the player and club are a perfect match today. At 36 years old, Beltran is still extremely effective, putting up a statistical line of .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI in 145 games. In addition to just being effective, he would likely be available on a two year, $16 million deal, which will be much cheaper than trying to re-sign Curtis Granderson, and in turn, will fit better into getting the team's payroll below $189 million.
4.Re-Sign Hiroki Kuroda
Hiroki Kuroda was the Yankees' best pitcher in 2013, putting up a 11-13 record with a 3.31 ERA, 4.1 WAR, and 1.16 WHIP in 201 1/3 innings pitched. While his overall record was underwhelming, this was largely an indication of the team's lowly hitting, as Kuroda was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball throughout the season. At 38 years old, it is clear that he will not be bringing in a long term contract, which has been further exemplified by playing on one year deals each of the last two seasons and a stated willingness to continue doing so in the future. What is also encouraging is that the Japanese pitcher has stated that he will only play for the Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers, providing the Bronx Bombers with a bit of leverage in negotiations. Still expect a one year, $12 million to be forked out to secure Kuroda as a top of the rotation arm that comes on a relative bargain.
3.Sign Brian McCann
Throughout 2013, one of the biggest areas of concern for the Yankees was the position of catcher, as the team got a combined statistical line of .213/.289/.298 from the position. This was simply an unacceptable return, and has made it clear that a long term fix needs to be made. Brian McCann would prove to be a perfect fit for this spot, as the 29 year old has long been one of the best offensive catchers in the game of baseball and will be a free agent. Since being called up in 2005, the catcher has played in an average of 122 games, putting up a statistical line of .277/.350/.473 with 20 home runs and 73 RBI. It is easy to see that this is a remarkable line that will have teams drooling and inevitably drive bidding for McCann's services extremely high. Still expect the Yankees to break bank and fork out a five year, $80 million deal to secure his services above rivals clubs.
2.Win the Posting Process and Sign Masahiro Tanaka
If you have not heard of Masahiro Tanaka, we recommend you get to know him. Tanaka is a 24 year old from Japan, where he posted a 24-0 record with a 1.24 ERA while playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles of the Pacific League in 2013. While MLB is undoubtedly tougher than the Pacific League, scouts rave over the pitchers' mid-90s fastball, plus slider and a split finger fastball that has been described as the best in the world. Luckily for Yankees fans, this split finger will likely be featured heavily at Yankee Stadium in 2014, as Tanaka is expected to be posted to the highest bidder this offseason. Expect this bidder to be the Yankees, as the team will push bidding close to $60 million with the knowledge that not a penny of this will go towards the $189 million luxury tax threshold. After this bidding is completed, expect the two sides to complete a contract approaching six years and $60 million, bringing the newest Japanese sensation to New York heading into 2014.
1.Re-Sign Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano is the consensus top free agent available this offseason, and he knows it. One must only look at the fact that he is reportedly looking for a 10 year, $310 million deal to confirm that, although it would be foolish to expect anyone to offer a deal in this range. Still, bidding will likely go up to $200 million, meaning that only a precious few teams will be able to afford his services. The Yankees have never been one to get be ousted because of money, and it would be foolish to believe they will let it happen this offseason. Expect Cano to return on an eight year, $190 million deal, although it may take until late January before this deal is finalized.