Can the Yankees be a better team without a major signing?


After the 2012 season, the Yankees were in rebuilding mode, but they weren’t rebuilding just anyway. They were rebuilding the Yankees way. Prior to the 2014 season, the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Beltran. Prior to the 2015 season, the Yankees traded for Nathan Eovaldi and Didi Gregorius. And as the 2015 season ends, the Yankees have almost everyone slated to come back next year minus Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew and Chris Young.

These aren’t George Steinbrenner’s Yankees, which means the Yankees aren’t going to go out there and get a top flight starting pitcher and the best bat on the market. They’re going to stick with the current set of Yankees they have. But can the Yankees compete next season without making a big deal? Joe Girardi thinks it can be done, but only if everyone has a good first and second half of the season.

“If you look at our club, if guys would have had some of the offensive numbers that they had in the first four months in the last two months, I think we substantially would have had more wins.” Girardi said. “I think it’s possible we would have won our division. I know that didn’t happen and those are reasons that we have to sort out as an organization, probably more me as a manager. If you look at that, we won 87 games. Our division winner won [93]. We had some guys that really had some tough second halves. If they had the same second half as the first half, I think it’s a much different story.”

The Yankees would have been a completely different ball club if the following scenarios had happened:

A) If Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t flounder during the second half of the season.
B) If Mark Teixeira didn’t get hurt in late August.
C) If Carlos Beltran didn’t struggle offensively the first half of the season.
D) If Didi Gregorius played better defense the first two months of the season.
E) If Chase Headley didn’t have 23 errors at third base.
F) If the Yankees experimented at second base with someone other than Stephen Drew.
G) If the Yankees had more reliable arms in the bullpen.
H) If the Yankees rotation–with the exclusion of Nathan Eovaldi–was more consistent throughout the year.

Now, I’m not saying the Yankees can’t go out there and get a second bat or a pitcher for the rotation or pen, but they’re not going to sign someone who will shake up the chemistry of the ball club. The Yankees have shown flashes of brilliance in 2015, but they also showed flashes of disappointment. If the Yankees can play as well as they did before the All-Star break, then the division next year could easily be theirs.

Every team has holes. Can the Yankees find a way to plug up their holes without sinking their battleship?

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19 Responses to Can the Yankees be a better team without a major signing?

  1. tom says:

    Headley's 23 errors is acceptable but any less than 20 errors a season would be much better.

    Hard to believe that Teixeira did not need August and September to win team's WAR.

    Just because those struggles would be opposite does not mean their successes would remain the same.

  2. Terry says:

    That's the million dollar question.Unfortunately a lot of those "if's" will probably play out again next year.I don't see Ells and Brett staying healthy,it's just part of them as players.Alex,Tex,Carlos are all aging players and their seasons or health can go south at any time.The youth looked real promising but the veterans will hold them back.Pitching?One thing we've learned over the last few years is you can't count on anyone staying off the DL.You can only prepare for it.All in all,I did enjoy this season more than the previous two but without a couple of changes and trades will have to happen to open up roster spots,I see pretty much the same type of season next year

    • Jimmy1982 says:

      Exactly. This seems to be at least the second year girardis left saying "oh if so and so didn't get hurt we would've been right there" or "if so and so performed in the second half like he did in the first…" This is tiresome. Why not just assume, since we have ample proof to back it up, that these following players will be healthy for 2016: bird, gregorius, headley, refsnyder, pirela, ackley, young, and severino. Everyone else will be at risk. Proceed from there. Also assume that everyone on the wrong side of 30 will suffer some type of extended slump during 2016, whether it be such as beltran's to start the year, or mccann's to end it. Now i have no idea how to solve the injury bug, since the average age of our team is 31. But, as suggested before, this idea of a floating dh among bird/tex/arod is a good one. Tex and arods numbers may go down, but at least theyll be there at the end of the year, hopefully not just in body but also refreshed in mind. Murphy must see more at bats, as mccann was abysmal at the end. The 1-2 speed punch experiment has failed miserably with ellsbury and gardner, and while they both had their setbacks this year, the very idea of having a "base stealer" in gardner who seems much of the time to not know when or how to steal them negates the whole idea. At this point, ellsbury's contract is certainly immovable, but gardner's……

  3. Jack says:

    Way to many ifs. The Yankees need to make major signings this winter or they will be lucky to qualify for the wild card . Additionally a new GM and a Mgr would help out immensely. The Yankee players are tired of clueless Joe rhetoric. When he was asked why Gardner didn't attempt to steal his answer was Gardner always has the green light. If Gardner had the green light and didn't steal did clueless Joe ever think of going up to him and ask why? What a mgr!

  4. Dan says:

    This Yankees team as many have all ready said is pretty much shaped up to be the same team next year. This team has too many question marks currently to think that they could be the same next year as they were this year, let alone being better. Will Ellsbury play the way his paycheck says he should play or is he gonna be the most overpaid outfielder in history that puts up numbers I could get from a 4th outfielder (personally I believe ellsbury's contract could be the worst contract the Yankees ever gave a player. I like ellsbury but come on this past yr regardless of injury he batted well under 300, had I believe only 7 hr's and 33 rbi's and he didn't steal bases as much which is a big part of his game. What does that equal in the end, one highly overpaid player). Then of course theirs the inconsistency the Yankees rotation has, theirs a lot of talent in the rotation but will everyone live up to it and be able to stay healthy. Without a doubt though Yankees need another good reliever we got 3 n after that it's a crap shoot. Their are moves that I would like to see the Yankees make but it will be difficult based on payroll and with so many guys under contract nxt yr. Good luck Cashman

  5. Robert Rufa says:

    If we've seen the best of what Triple-A has to offer, probably not any time soon. Plus regulars who are supposed to perform consistently don't. If the team NY fields next year isn't much different, the results won't be much different. Cashman probably made a few more mistakes this year, and we have no reason to believe he won't make any more.

    • Celerino says:

      What Scranton had to offer included Bird, Severino and Refsnyder. They looked very good and there are more on the way. Cashman's mistakes? Lets see. He stole Gregorius for Shane Greene. Picked up a very promising starting pitcher in Eovaldi. Traded his third string catcher for a valuable reliever in Wilson. Didn't throw $50 million at McCarthy. If he gives us more of the same, I'll be very happy.

  6. Olie says:

    Teixeira, Beltran and Arod will be a year older and they probably all overacheived this year especially Arod! Without bringing in any new talent they will be more like the Yanks of the 2nd half of season with little chance of making the playoffs in 2016!

    • enter42 says:

      You're right Olie….maybe Tex can duplicate his season but I think Arod will be more like 2nd half Arod…and Beltran will be a .250 12 HRs 50 RBI guy…not enough for a corner outfielder.

    • Celerino says:

      Bird replaces either Tex or A-Rod if they go down. Aaron Judge, with a little more time at AAA should be ready to replace Beltran. That's the new talent you're looking for.

  7. phxyankee says:


    • enter42 says:

      You may want to stick with realistic scenarios. These are not the Phillies, they have some youth that can and will contribute going forward. Severino and Bird are products of their system…you have to count their contributions for something. I'm glad they held on to these 2 at the deadline. I don't need to see Severino turn into a front line starter for someone else. They are far removed from being the laughing stock of MLB, lets not overreact.

  8. Nunzio says:

    When Girardi speaks about what happened to the Yankees bottom line is they were not good enough to win, he does not have to try andale up a story why they lost , let's face it the end run was horrible , Cashman did nothing to make this team a winning team and the Bluejays did what Cashman could not do ,bring in Donaldson , instead we got Headley, Tulowitzki we got Gregorius, Travis and goins we got nothing at second base, Smoake, Colabello and Encarnation we got Texeria who is always injured , At catcher Cashman does not sign Rusell Martin who can frame a pitch an throw you out at second base better than most and gives you Over 20 home runs at the plate he is as fast as a cat, we got McCann who is slow motion at best and cannot run or throw players out because he is to slow…. They have Ben Revere in left field and pillar and Bautista in Center and right ….. Then they add Price to there pitching staff with Estrada what do we get from Cashman pitchers that are always hurt…. Best moves Yankees can make for next season is throw Cashman to the curb with Girardi on his back , talk about under performing he should get five stars for that he did absolutely nothing to cut off the Jays GM and sat on his hands when there GM improved his team….no tears for Cashman he has to go please no more excuses for him

    • Celerino says:

      Tulowitzki hit 230 for them and missed a month when he bumped into Pillar. You worry that Tex is injury prone, are you familiar with Tulo's history? Tex managed to hit 31 homers and Bird another 11. That's 42 homers out of the 1b position, yet you prefer Smoak. McCann and Murphy are both better hitters and better defenders than Martin. You prefer the job the Blue Jays gm, but the results are the same. No post season wins. The Jays lost two and are a game from going home. Price will be a free agent and a complete waste of prospects. But two Blue Jays will continue in the post-season. Noah Syndergaard and Travis D'arnaud, the guys they traded to get R.A. Dickey. I bet they would take back that one in a heart beat.

    • Scott says:

      And what is that going to do for them ? They went for it and they are a game away from being swept so it just shows you never know . Everyone complains we always get rid of young talent and this time he didn't and we found two good guys so far in severino and bird

  9. Mike says:

    The Yankees are the second oldest team in baseball. They need to get younger and more athletic, to run the marathon that the baseball season is. Of Tex, Ells, Gardner, Beltran, CC, need to trade two or three, probably eating some salary, and get a RH power hitter and one more starter.

    • Tex, Ellsbury, Sabathia and Beltran all have full no-trade clauses so they aren't going anywhere. Even disregarding the clauses, none of these guys has any trade value with the exception of Gardner. And Gardner's value is that he is on a very team-friendly contract, so they are not about to trade him. Nope, the Yankees are stuck with all of them until their contracts expire.

  10. mosc says:

    Here's my hopeful 2016 yankees roster

    Against RHP
    1) Ellsbury CF
    2) Gardner LF
    3) Teixera 1B
    4) Rodriguez DH
    5) Beltran RF
    6) McCann C
    7) Zobrist or Ackley 2B
    8) Headley 3B
    9) Gregorious SS

    Bench: Ackley or Zobrist, Refsnyder, Bird, Murphy

    Against LHP:
    1) Zobrist LF
    2) Young CF
    3) Teixera 1B
    4) Arod DH
    5) Headley 3B
    6) Beltran RF
    7) Refsnyder 2B
    8) Murphy C
    9) Gregorious SS
    (8 right/switch and a superb defensive shortstop I can live with)

    1) Severino
    2) Tanaka
    3) Eovaldi
    4) Pineda
    5) Sabathia
    Warren long relief
    Shreve (AAA option)
    Pinder (AAA option)

    That's already probably another 25M a year to field that roster. If they have more I'd say trade Garnder and sign Heyward but if that's too much money they should stick with this.

  11. hotdog says:

    that's the hope Delia because I do not see the Yankees going past $50 mil this off season on any one player…but something tells me they could go after Cueto but Hal is a numbers guy and I could see them moving prospects before taking on salary…

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