The New York Yankees are far from finished this offseason after signing Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury to big contracts. While much of the offseason attention has been centered on Robinson Cano and the contract he is looking for and the game of contract chicken the two sides seem to be playing. Right now, the Yankees are far from finished and there will be at least two more major singings and possibly a trade or two as well.
The Yankees, as it stands right now, are not necessarily out on free agents Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran and Omar Infante. The Yankees have also been linked to Nelson Cruz in recent days as well. Nor are they out on the Masuhiro Tanaka sweepstakes which should get under way as soon as Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball hammer out an agreement which is expected soon.
The Yankees interest in Beltran and Choo is curious but not as crazy as it might seem. With Ichiro Suzuki slated to play right field either one of Choo, Cruz or Beltran would be an upgrade, at least offensively, over Ichiro. Ichiro can always move to being a fourth outfielder and Vernon Wells can be dropped from the roster without having to take a monetary hit. Of course, the signing of Ellsbury could be the line in the sand with other free agents, especially Beltran and Cano.
Even if the Yankees wish to stay under the $189 million luxury tax threshold they still have enough money to throw at Cano and Tanaka and potentially Infante. Adding Infante would be a smart move for the Yankees with Derek Jeter’s health up in the air, Cano’s future with the Yankees uncertain and Alex Rodriguez’s future in baseball a big question mark. The Yankees could use Infante as a super utility guy who plays a different position every day but does play on an almost daily basis.
The general consensus right now is that the Yankees are still hoping to get under the luxury tax but their drop in ratings on the YES Network by 31 percent and also seeing a drop in attendance at the ballpark could mean the Yankees see the money they would gain from television and gate receipts as more important than paying into the luxury tax.
On top of free agent and international signings, the Yankees could be active in the trade market as well. The signing of Ellsbury could make Brett Gardner available, possibly for a pitcher. The Yankees could also hold onto Gardner and choose to use the signing of McCann as a way to dangle on of their catchers, perhaps a top prospect like Gary Sanchez.
The Yankees are far from done this offseason. These are just appetizers at the moment. McCann and Ellsbury might be large appetizers but they are just the start. Brian Cashman has seemingly had his hand in everything this offseason and has certainly made it known who he is interested in from the get go. So far, the Yankees have plunked down $238 million this offseason and they are far from done. This offseason could put the offseason following the 2008 season, the last time they missed the playoffs, to shame.