Last offseason, the Yankees spent nearly $500 Million to boost the offense (Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran) and the rotation (Masahiro Tanaka). However, this offseason they took a more economical approach, an approach that had fans questioning whether this was George Steinbrenner’s Yankees or the economical Yankees. Believe it or not, this offseason was a pretty good one for the Bronx Bombers so let’s go over what the Yankees lost, eventually gained and holes they filled.
Notable Major League Signings
- 3B Chase Headley: Four-years, $52 Million (2015-18)
- 2B Stephen Drew: One-year, $5 Million (2015)
- SP Chris Capuano: One-year, $5 Million (2015)
- OF Chris Young: One-year, $2.5 Million (2015)
- RP Andrew Miller: Four-years, $36 Million (2015-18)
Notable Minor League Signings
- RHP Scott Baker
- RHP Andrew Bailey
- INF Cole Figueroa
- INF Jonathan Galvez
- INF Nick Noonan
- C Justin Graterol
- C Eddy Rodriguez
- RHP Kyle Davies
- RHP Jared Burton
Notable Trades and Claims
- Yankees acquire LHP Justin Wilson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for C Francisco Cervelli
- Yankees acquire SS Didi Gregorius in three team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers. Yankees send RHP Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers
- Yankees acquire SP Nathan Eovaldi and INF Garrett Jones from the Miami Marlins in exchange for INF Martin Prado and SP David Phelps
- Yankees acquire RHP David Carpenter and LHP Chasen Shreve from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for LHP Manny Banuelos
- Yankees acquire prospect RHP Johnny Barbato from the San Diego Padres in exchange for RHP Shawn Kelley
- David Robertson: Signed four-year, $46 Million deal with Chicago White Sox
- Derek Jeter: Retirement
- Ichiro Suzuki: Signed one-year, $2 Million deal with Miami Marlins
- Hiroki Kuroda: Signed one-year contract with Hiroshima Toyo Carp
- Brandon McCarthy: Signed four-year, $48 Million deal with Los Angeles Dodgers
- Alfonso Soriano: Retirement
- Brian Roberts: Retirement
- Martin Prado: Traded to Miami Marlins
- Shawn Kelley: Traded to San Diego Padres
- David Phelps: Traded to Miami Marlins
- Shane Greene: Traded to Detroit Tigers
In 2014, the Yankees made a couple of blockbuster signings which opened the eyes of everyone in baseball; they signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to play in the outfield, they signed Brian McCann to replace Russell Martin and they signed Masahiro Tanaka for rotation depth. While the Yankees addressed their needs last season, most of their acquisitions failed to produce, being one of the many reasons the Yankees missed out on the postseason. However, once the season ended, the Yankees realized they had new needs to address.
— They needed to bolster the rotation after the injuries to CC Sabathia (knee), Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) and Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery). While Michael Pineda made 13 brilliant starts for the Yankees, he was also hit with the injury bug, and struggled to stay on the field for the duration of the season.
With Hiroki Kuroda deciding to go back to Japan and Brandon McCarthy going to the Dodgers, the Yankees re-signed Chris Capuano as depth for the rotation. He started the season last year on the Boston Red Sox as a reliever before he was designated for assignment, but the Yankees figured Capuano had something left in the tank and gave him a low-risk, high-reward contract. To add insurance, the Yankees traded for Nathan Eovaldi, who throws hard, has decent breaking pitches but has trouble racking up strikeouts. The Yankees are optimistic that with a little bit of tinkering, Eovaldi could end up being a bright spot in the rotation. They’re also hoping for a bounce back season from Sabathia and they’re hoping Tanaka’s elbow holds up for the entire campaign. The rotation continues to be the Yankees weak spot, and if someone goes down with an injury, the entire rotation could ultimately be in shambles.
— With Derek Jeter‘s retirement, someone had to play shortstop, which was why the Yankees made the three-team trade with the Diamondbacks and Tigers to acquire Didi Gregorius. Gregorius plays stellar defense, but there have been concerns about his bat. Joe Girardi said Gregorius is going to play everyday to begin the season, but there are questions on whether Gregorius’s bat could ultmiately be as impressive as his defense.
With the acquisition of Gregorius, the team didn’t stop adding to the infield. After a lackluster 2014 season, the Yankees took a chance and re-signed Stephen Drew to a one-year contract. The signing of Drew eliminated the possibility of Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela battling for the second base position, but many question whether Drew will produce enough to stay on the roster the entire year.
— Last season, the Yankees had their closer in David Robertson. Following the 2014 campaign, Robertson packed his bags and went to the windy city of Chicago to play for the White Sox. And with Robertson’s departure, the Yankees currently don’t have a closer. Many figure Dellin Betances would take over the closer role, but Girardi has toyed with the idea of having a closer by committee, which is where Andrew Miller comes in. Miller isn’t a closer, but he has electric stuff and helped the Baltimore Orioles advance to the 2014 postseason. If Miller isn’t the closer, he could be the eighth inning guy, a role Betances had last season when Robertson was dubbed Mariano Rivera‘s successor. The Yankees are expecting great things from Miller and they should–they’re paying him $36 Million to be a great addition to the pen.
Although Miller is the main shiny toy in the bullpen, he’s not the only one: the Yankees acquired David Carpenter (with recommendation from McCann) and lefty Justin Wilson. The bullpen could use one or two new arms, but the Yankees are more likely to fill those holes while in camp.
The Yankees didn’t make many blockbuster moves because they’re relying on bounce back seasons from most of their players. It’s a smart approach versus buying every free agent on the market and forming a team full of aging superstars, but will the economical approach work and eventually get them to the postseason? We’ll just have to see how the 2015 season pans out.