It turns out the Yankees didn't want Curtis Granderson to accept the $14.1 million qualifying offer after all, and only wanted the draft pick that came with a rejection. Granderson in turn only considered the offer out of respect to the Yankees organization, rather than dismiss it immediately.
Now that he has declined the offer, it looks like the Yankees have moved on and are already looking to sign a big-name outfielder. Shin-Soo Choo is thought to be their number one target, with Carlos Beltran being a close second and Jacoby Ellsbury just behind the two. All three will cost the Yankees their 19th overall draft pick in the 2014 draft, and could all cost more than Granderson will make.
The Yankees like Choo's on-base abilities, however, as someone who could cost $80-$100 million over six to eight years, his lack of power and struggle against lefties (92 wRC+) is concerning. Beltran could require three or four years to sign and Ellsbury has been injury prone over the last few years, so none of the three are without risk.
As much as it pains me to watch them forfeit a draft pick on imperfect targets, the alternatives drop off rather quickly. Jason Kubel, Nate McLouth, and Michael Morse represent the best of the remaining bunch now that Marlon Byrd is signing with the Phillies.
If Choo is their main concern, it makes me wonder where Robinson Cano is on their list. It's possible it simply means Choo is their biggest priority, other than Cano, but it could also mean they're either letting the market take shape or they're letting him go.
As part of their due diligence, the Yankees have contacted second baseman Kelly Johnson as a backup plan in case they don't re-sign Cano and Alex Rodriguez is suspended. Johnson, a league-average hitter over his career, is primarily a second baseman, though he did play in the outfield and at third in 2013. While he would be a decent edition as a part-time player, Johnson will probably make a lot of Yankee fans unhappy if he's starting.
More from Pinstripe Alley:
- Yankees sign outfielder Antoan Richardson
- Arizona Diamondbacks to interview Mike Harkey and Scott Aldred for pitching coach opening
- GM Meetings: Yankees "going to end up with" McCann, Phillies sign Marlon Byrd
- Yankees Rumors: Curtis Granderson, Carlos Beltran
- Masahiro Tanaka: A new posting system is coming