2014 Free Agent Class: Who will the Yankees not go after next year?

Yankee coupon clipper
It’s a bit premature to look at the 2013-2014 offseason, especially because a lot can happen between now and then. With the recent trend of one year contracts, it’s also questionable whether the Yankees will continue to pursue aging veterans on short term deals in 2014.

Despite that, the Yankees will have plenty of money to spend after the 2013 season, and the free agent class as it stands today doesn’t look all that bad. It would be surprising if they didn’t target some top free agents, or at least their own top free agent when the time comes.

Without getting into the gory details of the calculations, by my estimation the Yankees will have about $100 million to spend on somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 players. That means they will have about $6.67 million per slot. Use a prospect at an important position, save $6 million. Re-sign Cano, then you better use some young players at important positions. You catch my drift.

This is most definitely an oversimplification, however the front office will have a considerable amount of money to spend on the 2014 roster and a reasonable amount of flexibility with how to use that money. This brings up the next question, who will be available to spend this money on? I’ll stick to positions the team has an obvious opening at, and the players who jumped off the page and piqued my interest when I looked at the list on MLBTR.

There’s not much in the way of catchers, and none at the age you would like to see. Brian McCann will be 30 and a free agent. The question is do you want to sign a 30 year old catcher to a long term deal? Outside of him there is Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He has done it in the AL East, but do you want to pay premium dollars to him for the high homerun, low average hitter you’re going to get? If that’s the case, Russell Martin should have been re-signed this off-season.

At second base, there’s nothing that is going to come close to Robinson Cano. In this case, it’s Robinson Cano or you’re probably best off looking at in house options. Chase Utley will be 35, and the only other decent names are Alexi Casilla, Brian Roberts, and Aaron Hill. I’ll pass.

Jeter will be our shortstop, and Tex will be our first baseman. At third base, the Yankees are going to either have to look in house or basically go down the same list they did this year after A-Rod went down with injury.

In the outfield there is Nate McLouth (32), Jacoby Ellsbury (30), the Grandy Man (33), Hunter Pence (31), Shin-Soo Choo (31), and a bunch of old heads. There could be a deal to be had somewhere in that group. If so, another hole will be plugged.

There are a few pitchers who, if still available, would be good choices to fill the holes that will be left behind when Pettitte, Kuroda, and Hughes leave after this season. Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Matt Garza, Gavin Floyd, Ricky Nolasco, Edinson Volquez, and Adam Wainwright are names that could end up being popular at the Winter Meetings next year.

As far as relievers go, I would hope the Yankees are smart enough not to spend too much given what they already have on their team and what they have on their farm.

How the Yankees choose to go about solving this puzzle is anyone’s guess. There is a huge amount of production to replace in 2014, and a limited amount of money to replace it with. One would have to imagine the game starts with signing a number two starter and giving it the old college try to get Cano back. After that, the chips can fall where they may as far as I’m concerned.

Someone between Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores, Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa, and Abe Almonte should be ready to contribute by 2014, so the outfield should be covered. Third base, catcher, and the rest of the starting rotation will have to be addressed one way or another. There’s not enough money to sign a star, or even a Kevin Youkilis type at every position, so Cashman will have to develop some sort of strategy and get creative between now at then.

Many are calling 2013, or 2014, the end of the Yankees dynasty (and hopefully the beginning of another). Personally, I am not ready to say that the Yankees are poised to fall out of playoff contention just yet. Some serious challenges and questions lie ahead, but I still think there is a reasonable chance that those questions will be answered before the sky falls and the Yankees Universe implodes.

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23 Responses to 2014 Free Agent Class: Who will the Yankees not go after next year?

  1. Mike says:

    One player cannot win championships. It's about players with particular talents and skills becoming a productive unit. The Yanks seem to be sacrificing all to retain Cano, and though I like him as a player I'm not convinced he will ever be the leader that this team needs to WIN championships.

  2. Keena says:

    Love the Hal "Coupon Clipper" picture. He makes me physically ill to look at. I pray he'll sell the team to someone who cares about winning.

    • R Maharg says:

      To say Hal doesnt care about winning in just flat out stupid. No he isnt George or runs things the way I think HANK would but he wants the payroll at 189$ million. You can combine about 15 teams and it won come to 189$ Use your head instead of your heart when speaking about the payroll. Tampa won for the last five year with a seriously low payroll and look at what the As did last year. Its the way you develop them not how much you pay them.

  3. Greg says:

    Arod, CC, Tex and Jeter is $83M. Assume Cano at $25M, Hughes at $15M, Ichiro at $6M. That's $130M on 7 guys. And then you have the arb and FA guys like Roberston, Joba, Gardner, etc. Which leaves no money for Kuroda, Andy, Mo or Grandy. Everyone else has to be cheap.

  4. No way Phil Hughes makes $15 million per even with an awesome season. He just doesn't have the track record yet. Maybe $10 million a year is a bit more realistic.

    • The only thing I would say is that whether it's Phil Hughes or someone else, the Yankees are going to have to spend big money to get a legit #2 starter next season. Depending on who that is, it could cost anywhere from 15-25 million. That leaves somewhere between 38 and 48 million for the rest of the team, 18 players. Some will be cheap arbitration players and farm guys, so I do believe it can be done.

    • Chris says:

      10m a year? u crazy? I wouldnt give him even 1m a year he sucks…

  5. Ken says:

    I couldn't agree with you more. This guy is a joke to the Yankee tradition and thinks by saving millions in tax dollars is worth losing billions in team value. Would love to see mark Cuban buy this team as he is the second coming of GS

  6. Ken says:

    The Bean Counter we know as Hal Steinbrenner has sunk to new lows. I am not sure if he ranks up there with what the Jets are all about but he is a close second. This franchise was built by reinvesting in the product and Hal's philosophy is to line his pockets and laugh all the way to the bank. You have to spend money to make money and I don't want to hear about that we are the highest payroll crap because cashman is and was inept in his deals that put us in this situation in the first place.

    Lets look at some of the things Cashman did, first lets look at his trades or FA signings of pitchers. Pavano, Wright, Weaver, Brown, Igawa, Felciano, Vasquez twice and not wanting to sign Soriano which he was overruled by Randy Levine and we all know where the Yanks would have been without Soriano last year. He trades his top prospect for not one but two damaged goods pitchers.

    Now lets look at his farm system which is a joke, he hasn't drafted one 20 game winner or stud pitcher in his tenure. He drafts Brackman in the first rd knowing he needs TJ surgery. Where is Brackman now? He is out of baseball. He has no talent on the farm above single A. He instituted the Joba rules and ruined that kid. He has been able to buy his way out of giving stupid contracts like Tex and others and now that he has a budget he has to get creative and we all know this guy can't do it. Why is is that Cherington of the Roid Sox was able to get rid of over 250 million dollars worth of deadwood yet Cashman couldn't get rid of anything we have deadwood like Tex and get anything in return? The guy is a 2nd rate gm and we will be lucky to be anywhere near the playoffs for the next few years with these jokers running the show.

    Time for the bean counter to sell and lets get rid of this repelling fool named cashman who would rather pickup skank women and repel down buildings then to do his job.

    • Brian Cashman has made his mistakes but I do feel this reply is a bit harsh. You are angry at Cashman and Steinbrenner for neglecting to spend money on free agents this season, but then you criticize them for the big money free agents they have signed in the past that didn't work out. Yes, the Red Sox have shaved a lot of payroll, but they are not a better team for it. They missed the playoffs last season and they don't look that much better this year. They are in full rebuild mode.

      Personally, I like the fact that the Yankees are in a modified rebuild mode, where the team still competes for the playoffs year in and year out while trying to develop a young group through trades and/or the farm. The Pineda trade didn't work out, but at the time I, and many others, thought it was a great move. Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi are not big losses at this point. I don't think this is the end of the line for the Yankees, and this offseason is far from over.

      • @lefftee says:

        I criticized the choices they spent the money on, not that they spent money. Tex only swings for the short porch He is a selfish player that could break the shift he he drops a few bunts down third and uses all of the field. Look at his BA since his first season as a Yankee. Its worse then the deficit. I am a season ticket holder and I spend a great deal of money on the tickets and at the stadium and If they aren't dropping prices for putting a second rate team on the field then I want them spending money. I don't like Cashman because he hasn't built the farm system and he has made more bade trades and FA signings then good ones. Hal is a money monger who wants to take the money and run and not reinvest in the team like his dad. Ever since GS has passed away this clown Cashman has gone off the deep end with repelling down buildings and cheating on his wife with various skanks.

        I want Hal to sell the team because he is not want the Yankees stand for and is the polar opposite. I don't want to hear about that we have a 200 million payroll because it is a wasted 200 million that is a geritol team. I would trade Cano because Hal won't spend on him so get something in return but don't let Cashman make the move because he will get back damaged goods players or players past their prime. Do what Cherington of Boston did and get rid of the deadwood. Cano, Tex, Granderson, Hughes and Nova to name a few

        • gcorcoran says:

          I agree with a lot of what you say. Cashman has definitely made some poor decisions in the past, and Steinbrenner is cheap, and this type of behavior never would have happened during George Steinbrenner's years. The Yankees probably would have signed Josh Hamilton by now if the real Steinbrenner was still here. Why didn't they sign Pierzynski? I mean even if he is a horrible defender they could use that bat in the lineup and they could use his body to catch some innings behind the plate. It's just sheer penny pinching and there isn't a reason for it, because AJP could have been had on a one year deal.

          Where I disagree is that Cashman is all bad. He's made some good moves and quite a few moves that have kept the Yankees in contention in recent years despite poor performance by their stars. I don't fault Cashman for the farm system because I do feel the Yankees have had some bad luck for the past 2 years, and I think that luck is about to change.

          As for trading Cano, Granderson, Hughes, and Nova, I can't say I agree with this at all. They have a team capable of competing for the playoffs now. Once in the playoffs, anything can happen. There's no reason to give up before the season even starts. I'm all for rebuilding, but not when you're trading someone like Cano. If you trade Cano, you are getting prospects in return that you HOPE can become what Cano already is. As we've seen in the past, these prospects often don't work out. If our team falls out of contention then I'm all for it, but until then no way. As for Granderson, the Yankees have actually been actively shopping him, and I wouldn't be upset if he was traded as long as we got something good in return, maybe a major league catcher.. Same goes for Hughes and Nova, although I suspect the return for either of those two wouldn't be what I would hope for.

  7. thurmanmantle says:

    I don't understand why they wouldn't just let Cano go in free agency, or trade him at the deadline. He's no good in october, he proves it every year. We need players that don't freeze up in october, like Cano and Arod do, although this year none of them did much in october. 39 and 40 year old ball players don't seem to freeze up in october. I don't have much use for head-cases like Cano and Arod, especially in october when it counts the most.

    • greg cororan says:

      What I don't get is that Cano is the type of player that usually excels in the playoffs. He's loose, doesn't get too excited, not easily rattled. Maybe he needs someone to light a fire under his ass. Either way I think Cano will eventually start hitting in the playoffs. He's too good not to.

    • Mike Sommer says:

      I take it you weren't watching the 2010 ALCS when Cano was 8 for 23 with 4 HR, or the 2011 ALDS when he was 7 for 22 with 2 HR and 9 RBI.

      • LOL forgot about that. I'm an advocate of resigning him regardless.

        • Mike Sommer says:

          Was actually replying to thurmanmantle, the point being that Cano has had great postseason series as well as the stinkeroos he posted last year. It happens to the best… some years you have a great postseason, and some years you stink. Check out my Classic Yankees piece on Hank Bauer, for instance. Bauer had a 17 game WS hitting streak and hit 4 HR in the 1958 WS. But in his first 4 WS (1949-1952), Bauer was a combined 7 for 57. Yogi Berra hit 12 WS HR, as well as rings for all of his fingers. In his first three WS (1947, 1949-1950), Yogi was 7 for 50. Ruth was awful in the 1922 WS, Mantle awful in 1962. If you are in the postseason long enough, that happens. Some years will be good and some bad. You can't just remember one end of it and forget the other end. Yes, Cano (3 for 40) stunk last year. But to write that Cano is "no good in October, he proves it every year" is simply not supported by the facts.

  8. martyvan says:

    I totally disagree with the majority of posters. I assume they're too young or suffer from fan amnesia. The current Yankee run was built by resetting- of course it took Stein Sr. getting sent to the penalty box for the second time… The current trend line for the Yankees (absent a reset) is to over pay declining stars, and pay welfare to #hitsburgh et al- just like the eighties. Short term pain long term POTENTIAL gain.

    • To me the issue is what you are hoping for in terms of the long term potential gain. The teams that most of the rebuilding advocates emulate are mostly teams that have not won any world series recently. In that sense, they are no better than the current Yankees. I don't see how the Yankees team will be better after rebuilding than they are right now. They had the best record in the American League last season. Therefore, to me, it's like you are advocating to "reset" and go into full rebuild mode, HOPING that the team COULD be as good as they are now a few years down the road. Seems unnecessary when you have the resources the Yankees have. This philosophy makes sense for small budget teams, but not for the Yankees in my humble opinion.

      Don't get me wrong it's a legitimate opinion and I applaud you for your patience and willingness to watch a bad team for a couple of years in hopes of a better team in the future. Personally I think the way they are doing things right now makes more sense though. Give the kids a chance to get close to the majors, and each year make less and less veteran one year signings. Before you know it, you have a young team and you can fill the gaps with big FA signings, which is the Yankee way.

  9. martyvan says:

    Greg,

    Thanks. I don't know that they need to be "90-92 bad" if they "reset" by being prudent about who they sign. You and I both know the payroll goes up over 225 million after the MLB tax resets and I trust they'll spend wisely and we'll retain talent we should and fill spots as necessary. Personally I'll take the chance in 2013 and 2014 to avoid paying skinflint owners and their fans who don't understand the regional funding nature of baseball versus national contracts in the NFL. It kills me to have to spend $600 to take my kids to a game at Yankee Stadium and know 30% of that revenue is going into another franchise… Thanks great site you're running!

    • gcorcoran says:

      Good response. There are two sides to every story and you're opinion represents the opposing viewpoint to mine. Responses like these are what makes the discussions about the articles on this website interesting and I am very thankful for that.