After missing the playoffs for the second time in six seasons, the Yankees may be willing to go on another spending spree like they did after missing the playoffs in 2008 when they brought in CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett. Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York writes that sources tell him that the team believes it can cut payroll while spending money on the available big name free agents.
The Yankees obviously are interested in bringing back All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, as well as competitively bidding for Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka. Marchand's sources also believe the Yankees could pursue Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. The team is set to trim $85-$90 million off of 2013's payroll with the retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte coupled with free agent departures of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda, and Curtis Granderson. The Yankees could also gain some extra payroll flexibility from Alex Rodriguez's suspension that would free up at least part of his $25 million to be spent elsewhere.
Whether or not you believe Hal Steinbrenner's claims that the goal of a $189 million payroll won't come at the expense of fielding a competitive team is another matter entirely, but the Yankees really cannot afford to spend themselves into more trouble. Giving Brian McCann a six-year deal worth $100 million, as Marchand speculates he might receive, seems like a classic Yankees move that would only spell trouble down the road. Beltran, coming off a good season for the Cardinals, is an older player who will likely receive a deal that exceeds his worth going forward. That is the price you pay on the free agent market, however, and the Yankees have little choice if they hope to compete in the near future.
Standing pat with what they have would likely result in another disappointing season that falls short of a playoff run. The Steinbrenners are surely aware of the fact that attendance plummeted and that their plans for 2013 were not good enough to put the team in a place to make the playoffs, even aside from the flood of injuries. Putting together a smarter plan for the offseason while using some of their deep pockets to make smart decisions may just get the team back to where fans and the front office want it to be. A huge shopping spree can certainly help move them toward that goal, but spending with reckless abandon just to prove to a fan base that they're willing to make some moves would be as foolish as it is harmful to the future. Being willing to open their pockets to make necessary moves is the first step, and if Marchand is correct, the Yankees plan to do just that.
Do you want the Yankees to make a big splash this offseason, or do you think another 2008-esque spending spree would do more harm than good?