2014 Free Agents – Extreme makeover Yankees edition

BrianMcCann
This season is far from over. Despite the loss last night the Yankees are 2.5 games out of the wildcard with some time to catch up. That said, it’s never to early to look at the free agent market and fantasize about different players in pinstripes. This year there are actually some formidable free agents who could certainly make the Yankees better. Consider the fact that A-Rod could accept a one season suspension next year, saving the Yankees mounds of money which won’t even count towards the cap. There’s every reason to think that the Yankees will make a splash in the free agent market this year.

The question, however, is who can they go after with the A-Rod money (and the money from not resigning Granderson). The obvious answer is that a good portion of that money has to go to Robinson Cano. He has to be resigned and he’s going to have to take up a chunk of the money saved by the suspension. From there, many scenarios could play out.

One of the major positions the Yankees will look to address this offseason will be catcher. There are several catchers the Yankees could go after. Brian McCann, A.J. Pierzynski, Carlos Ruiz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia would all provide considerably more offense than the current lot of catchers. On the other hand, all but one (Carlos Ruiz) would bring defensive question marks to the table. Personally, I would love to see Brian McCann in the Bronx depending on the cost. He hit .270/.344/.489/.833 this season, with 19 homeruns in an injury shortened season. If healthy, he’s a huge upgrade offensively at the position.

I doubt if the Yankees pursue a first or second baseman outside of the organization given that Mark Teixeira will be healthy and they will likely resign Robinson Cano. If they do choose to go that route, there are some decent options though. James Loney, Kendrys Morales, and Mike Morse are all free agents this year. I’m not sure if any of them would be willing to sign on as a DH, but they could be helpful to the team in that role as well.

There will be a rather large PED induced hole in the Yankees infield next year at third base. There’s really not much out there in terms of an A-Rod replacement though. Michael Young is an option, and so is Placido Polanco or Kevin Youkilis. It’s scary to think about what the Yankees will do at this position in 2014, because they don’t have any prospects that are close to filling that slot either. If I were Steinbrenner, I’d go pretty hard after Michael Young and hope that he can pick up where he left off in the second half this season. It’s slim pickings at third, and the Yankees have an obvious need.

The Bombers already have a full outfield next season, as Soriano, Gardner, and Ichiro will be in the mix. Knowing the Yankees though they will add another two guys to serve as lefty or righty specialists. Nelson Cruz would be a fun guy to target, but I doubt if the Yankees needs will match up with his contract demands. In other words, the Yankees aren’t desperate enough for an outfielder to dish out the type of contract Cruz will command.¬† Corey Hart would be another interesting player to look at. He missed all of 2013 but if he can get back to his old self he is a shoe-in for 25+ home runs and an .800+ OPS. Carlos Beltran is another who would be a good choice if they were able to get him on a short term contract. Also, would it really be so bad to bring Curtis Granderson back? They could use the power output for sure.

Finally you look at starting pitchers, and there really are quite a few options. Solid pitchers like Matt Garza, Hiroki Kuroda, Ricky Nolasco, Andy Pettitte, Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum, and dare I say? Josh Johnson will all be available this offseason to fill out the three available rotation spots that will be left behind by Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte. The last question is who will replace Mariano. I don’t think the answer lies with free agents. David Robertson has earned his shot and should be given the first crack at it.

Looking at all of this it becomes pretty clear that the Yankees have an opportunity to perform an extreme makeover Yankees edition this offseason. If they play their cards right there’s no reason they can’t put a better team on the field than the 2013 version. Steinbrenner should dub 2014 “Cashman’s last chance” and if he can’t make it happen it’s time to find a new GM, or more politely promote cashman and allow someone else to make the GM decisions.

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20 Responses to 2014 Free Agents – Extreme makeover Yankees edition

  1. Tanned Tom says:

    What a terrible free agent market. There isn't anyone I would want on my team. Romine is ready-ish, and JR Murphy and Sanchez are close, no need to make a mistake there.
    Young or Youkilis? Are you insane? Young stinks with the glove and Youkilis was a horrid mistake. Jeter/Mustelier at 3B for 2014.
    They have enough outfielders in Gardner, Wells, Soriano, Suzuki, Almonte unless they start trading older players.
    What this team really needs is a SS. Jeter cannot field that position anymore, Nix is a utility guy, and Nunez was bad with the glove. They need a glove first player at what is after all a defensive position.
    Rotation will be Sabathia, Pettitte or Kuroda, Nova, Pineda, Phelps.
    What this team needs most of all is to break the paradigm of always filling holes with old, stopgap players. The way to do that is to trade the older players and commit to the younger ones. Of course not all of them will work out, and the team will struggle but unless you pull off a major trade for young or in their prime talent, or get lucky and draft a Trout, this is how it's done. It's called rebuilding. And with a free agent market that looks very much like a toilet flush, this is the way to go. It is after all how they found both Cano and Gardner, neither of whom were regarded as major leaguers before pressed into service in emergency circumstances.

  2. Tanned Tom says:

    The 7 reasons this club struggles in 2014:
    1) Veteran players in decline or injury-prone: Jeter may not play again, Sabathia and Teixeira in serious decline.
    2) Albatross contracts make signing free agents problematic (ARoid, Sabathia, Teixeira)
    3) Imminent retirements of valuable players (Rivera, Pettitte)
    4) Recent trend of extending players before they reach free agency (Verlander, Hernandez, Votto) means it won't be so easy to reload ala 2009.
    5) Young players who were supposed to be stars have not developed (Hughes, Chamberlain, Nunez)
    6) Farm system has no major league ready impact players
    7) Ridiculous mandate by ownership to reduce payroll against this backdrop, and by doing so degrade a $3 to $5 billion asset to save $30 million.

  3. Tanned Tom says:

    Given #7 above, the way back to the playoffs in 2014 will be a hard one, but 3 things must happen:
    1) Young players must step up. Nova must throw 200 innings with an ERA below 4.00. Players like Adams and Almonte must go from being stopgap to major leaguers.
    2) Cashman must continue to find value in unexpected places. The trade for Vernon Wells got a player for almost no money for 2 years who can field LF or RF and still crushes left handed pitching, more of this kind of thing is needed.
    3) Some of the big contracts simply must be shed. They need to void A-Roid after 2014; accept the fact that Jeter is done as an everyday player and not throw money away on him. If his 2014 is not a complete rebound, move on; and trade Sabathia and/or Teixeira. I know they both have no-trade clauses, but there are way to induce players to waive those clauses. Both are replaceable, and both could bring a decent return if they have okay 2014 seasons. Finding a team that needs one of them and is able to pay their salary might allow the Yanks to actually add some good prospects. Sabathia's 2013 is replaceable, and an Overbay/Reynolds platoon can easily replace Teixeira's bat.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Interesting perspective Tom. I agree with a lot of what you say. I don't want them to resign Youkilis at all. Michael Young, however, is better than anything they are going to be able to send out there next season. He's not a great defender but compared to the production the Yankees got from their third basemen this season he is much, much better. It's not like the guys they used were great defensively either.

      To me, getting back to winning will be about trying to improve in any way possible this offseason. That is one thing I would do.

      As for trading CC and/or Teixeira, good luck finding a team to eat those contracts. The Yankees would end up eating a huge portion of those contracts and probably not getting much in return. Not worth it.

      • I certainly agree with Greg. If the Yankees could even find a team interested in CC or Teixeira, they will still have to eat a lot of their salaries and take back nothing in return. I'm not sure the Yankees are willing to do that anytime soon.

    • Crazy and Nuts says:

      Wow, the yankees should fire cashman and hire you TODaY!!!!!!

  4. ChrisB says:

    Go with Seattle's Ryan at SS. He can't hit at all, but he is young and his defense is Gold Glove caliber and the Mariners have him on the market. With the usually great offense on the team, they can afford to have a great defense first shortstop.

    • Good point Chris. The only place I disagree with you is that the Yankees offense was not good this year. A major point of improvement has to be their offense especially considering Granderson and A-Rod will likely be gone next year.

  5. hotdog says:

    good news, AJ Burnett comes off the books this year…

  6. ChrisB says:

    Looks like I am "the man". Next day after my comment, the Yankees pick up Seattle's SS Ryan

  7. Yankee says:

    The Yankees need to sign brian McCann to 2 year contract yes he old but he's also a veteran catcher and the Yankees need a veteran catcher that knows what there doing behind the plate.

  8. Yankee says:

    Also the Yankees need to upgrade their starting pitchers by adding Matt Garza to a 2 year contract for 10 million.

  9. hotdog says:

    I'd like to see Cashman pull off one or two decent trades…with slim pickins at 3rd base, maybe there's a trade to be had…problem with these trades is that teams might very well want prospects…but maybe there's a good trade partner out there…we also need to re-sign Boone Logan…i wonder with Betances success in the relievers role (AAA) if he eventually gets a shot as our closer…i agree Phelps gets his shot but Betances has shown better control and he's hard to hit…i think he's a ways out but if he continues to improve, he might be a very good option…

  10. Humza says:

    2014

    Gardner
    Jeter
    Cano
    Soriano
    Teixiera
    Granderson
    Suzuki
    Reynolds
    We need a center and we need to sign Ibanez

  11. Humza says:

    Sign Pierzenski

  12. Humza says:

    Sign Loney

  13. Damon says:

    I took a peek at projected FA this off season and it was underwhelming. If the Yankees try and get to Championship Level by signing 4-5 of these guys the may strap themselves in for a wave of mediocrity. Given all of this year's injuries and PED drama they had a nice year…but I wouldn't want to see it again and again. They need to improve from within and add FA guys that make sense for the long haul.

    • MAck says:

      What scares me is that about 60 to 90 Million (if A-Rod is suspended all of '14) is coming off of the books and it will burn a whole in their pockets and they will do something dumb like sign the next "Danny Tartabull" type of deal. Be patient Mr. Cashman…please!

  14. Damon says:

    2014:

    Gardner CF
    Jeter SS (final season)
    Cano 2B
    Texiera 1B
    Soriano/Suzuki LF
    Granderson RF (FA options are slim)
    ??? DH (Wells/Lefty)
    Nunez 3B
    ??? C (C. Ruiz–2 year deal?)

    Rotation: 1. CC, 2. Expensive FA (Garza), 3. Nova, 4. Veteran FA (De La Rosa, Lincecum, Haren), 5. Pineda/Phelps

    Bullpen: Robertson, Logan, Cabral, Warren, FA (8th inning guy), FA