The 2015 Yankees were a team that many expected to once again miss the postseason. But Joe Girardi led the Bronx Bombers to a postseason berth where they made their first appearance in the playoffs since 2012 during the Wild Card game against the Houston Astros. While the Yankees season ended prematurely, the season was still a success and it leaves the Yankees in a position to once again fight for a playoff spot next year.
- Alex Rodriguez, 3B, $40 Million through 2017
- Mark Teixeira, 1B, $22.5 Million through 2016
- CC Sabathia, SP, $25 Million through 2016 (plus 2017 vesting option)
- Masahiro Tanaka, SP, $111 Million through 2020 (may opt out after 2017 season)
- Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, $105 Million through 2020 (plus 2021 club option, $5 Million buyout)
- Brian McCann, C, $51 Million through 2018 (plus 2019 club option)
- Carlos Beltran, OF, $15 Million through 2016
- Chase Headley, 3B, $39 Million through 2018
- Brett Gardner, OF, $36 Million through 2018 (plus 2019 club option, $2 Million buyout)
- Andrew Miller, RP, $27 Million through 2018
Arbitration Eligible Players
- Sergio Santos (5.110): $900K
- Andrew Bailey (5.034): 900K
- Ivan Nova (5.024): $4.4 Million
- Michael Pineda (4.099): $4.6 Million
- Dustin Ackley (4.087): $3.1 Million
- Nathan Eovaldi (4.013): $5.7 Million
- Adam Warren (3.036): $1.5 Million
- Justin Wilson (3.035): $1.5 Million
- Didi Gregorius (2.159): $2.1 Million
- Brendan Ryan, INF, 2016 mutual option
- Dellin Betances, RP, team control through 2020
- Bryan Mitchell, RP, team control through 2021
- Luis Severino, SP, team control though TBA
- John Ryan Murphy, C, team control through 2021
Majority of the Yankees roster is expected to return in 2016, which means the Yankees would have approximately the same team to play with when it comes to making a run for another postseason berth. But while the Yankees have most of their team returning, they still need to make a few moves.
Out of their three free agents, it would be the most likely that the Yankees would want Chris Young to return, although Young hasn’t decided if he will be a Yankee next season. The Yankees are showing little to no interest in Chris Capuano and have decided to go another route when it comes to Stephen Drew.
If the Yankees want to improve their team, they’re going to need to add bullpen arms, and their best bet would be to add someone that has experience with the American League East. That would leave Darren O’Day as a possible target as taking him would deplete the Orioles pen and would bolster their own. Plus O’Day joining the ranks of Wilson, Betances and Miller could strengthen what was once their Achilles heel. The Yankees also have a tough decision to make when it comes to what they plan to do with Adam Warren. The Yankees have stated Warren will be a starter next year, but Warren actually provides more value in the Yankees bullpen, which was shown throughout 2015.
If the Yankees do plan on putting Warren in the pen, they might look into finding a starter for the rotation. So far they have CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka and Nathan Eovaldi as potential candidates. The issue is, the entire rotation is filled with uncertainty; Sabathia hasn’t had an All-Star season since 2012, Pineda was inconsistent throughout the entire year, Severino is heading into his sophomore year as a Yankee, Tanaka still has a tear in his elbow and Nova was terrible coming back from Tommy John Surgery. Eovaldi was the only starter who showed some consistency throughout the year, until elbow inflammation sidelined him in September. Many have predicted the Yankees might go for Jeff Samardzija this winter, but when reading between the lines of Brian Cashman’s comments at the end of the year, it sounds like the Yankees are going to try to piece together their rotation internally.
The Yankees also need to rely on their offense having a bounce back 2016 campaign. Brian McCann, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury were awful during the second half of the season, Mark Teixeira missed majority of the second half with a broken leg and Alex Rodriguez began to wear down as the season went on. One of the bright spots from 2015 was Didi Gregorius, and while he started off poorly, he emerged as the perfect candidate to replace the recently retired Derek Jeter.The Yankees still have a hole at second base that hasn’t been filled since Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners, and the Yankees are trying their third attempt in filling the hole, this time using Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder as a platoon to begin the 2016 season. The Yankees recently tried Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew, but neither panned out the way the Yankees were expecting. The Yankees did say they liked Martin Prado and Ben Zobrist, but they would rather try to fix the problem internally before going into the free agent and trade market.
Along with the veterans, the Yankees also have a lot of the young kids hoping to make a contribution to the team. Greg Bird, Slade Heathcott, Refsnyder, Severino and Jacob Lindgren were a few to make their debuts last season, and the Yankees are anticipating the Major League debut of Aaron Judge which could be either in the second half of the season or in September. 2016 seems to be a promising year for the Bronx Bombers, especially if they could once again exceed expectations like they did during the first half of the 2015 season. Only time will tell if the moves, or lack of moves, will pay off.