Many of us cringed this year coming into the season, looking at the makeup of this roster. We saw a lot of home run power jettisoned and question marks in the rotation. Most additions to fill holes in the lineup were reclamation projections or guys who never did much to begin with, while the best pitching options were in house candidates with uncertain upsides. However, there was not really much that the Yankees could have done otherwise. While they could have done a better job in some of their player acquisitions, it was not as if there were any slam dunk options out there. Plus, the power that the Yankees let go were not exactly players in their peaks. Past Yankee heroes like Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Mike Mussina, etc., do not grow on trees. Unfortunately, we all knew this day would come. No one can play baseball forever. Our core group of Yankees from the most recent dynasty is now down to three players and is likely going to be down to one, Derek Jeter, when this season ends, and he is also on borrowed time now. So where do the Yankees go from here? Here is My Dream for the Next Yankees Dynasty
Position by Position
Catcher - In 2014, JR Murphy mans the catching position while platooning with someone else like Dionner Navarro However, Murphy is just keeping the spot warm for Gary Sanchez,. the next in a line of Yankee all star catchers.
First Base - Like it or not, the Yankees are stuck with Mark Teixeira for three more years. However, with his health being problematic for the past two years, the Yankees need to sign Jose Abreu. Yes, it will cost some dinero but this guy is supposed to be a major offensive weapon and is only 26 (or so his papers say.) The Yankees need a big bat and this is a great add that should help the Yankees immediately. Abreu can play 1st and dh for the next two to three years until my favorite Yankee prospect arrives, Greg Bird. I know a lot of guys tear it up at that level but not too many tear it up like Bird has. With Abreu at DH and Greg Bird at first, that is a lot of offensive fire power.
Second Base - The Yankees need to anchor the team with veterans. A nice balance of vets and youth is needed to be a winning team. Robinson Cano is the only star in his prime on this team. While, I wish he was a couple years younger, and know that he will not be worth the back end of his next deal, the Yankees really need to ink Cano to a new deal. While I do not believe the Yankees should give him anything he wants, they should make every effort to keep him within reason.
Third Base - Suspension or not, ARod will at most be around for four more years. I doubt that he plays for all of those years so long as he finds a way to get paid not counting the money he loses for the time he is suspended. While the Yankees do not have anyone ready to replace him now, down the road they have two players to be excited about, Peter O'Brien and Eric Jagielo. The former has been in the minors for two years and has shown that he can rake. His ability to hit for average is questionable at this point though his overall average this season is solid. His defense is lacking but hopefully time corrects that. Jagielo was just drafted and seems to be getting into a groove as of late. His bat is supposed to be fairly polished and his glove solid if not great. However, since the Yankees need a 3b now, why not sign Alexander Guerrero. He can play either 3b or ss. His bat is supposed to be significant and his defense okay if not great. He could replace Derek Jeter at shortstop in the future if needed or stay at 3b for a couple years or so.
Shortstop - Derek Jeter is irreplaceable. He is possibly the most popular Yankee in history and in my mind, one of the most underrated shortstops in history. Jeter alone is reason enough for me not to trust sabermetrics completely. That said, as it is an entirely different conversation, his time is near the end. In that regard, as stated, Guerrero could be the answer. No one else playing shortstop in the minors is even remotely close enough to talk about in conversation. The best shortstop are either on the short season teams (E.g.. Tyler Webb, Avelino) or the Dominican League teams (e.g., Jorge Mateo.) I have another choice I like a lot but to get to it, a trade will need to be involved. How about Jurickson Profar? I know, I know. How could the Yankees get Profar when Texas would not trade him for Justin Upton? However, something significant has changed. Texas screwed up. They gave a ridiculous deal to Elvis Andrus plus have a substantial contract in place with Kinsler. Does Texas want to move any of those guys to the OF or 1B? Maybe and if so, Profar may not be going anywhere, but if not, Profar would have to be available. If not Profar, Ian Desmond would be another nice shortstop option. He does a bit of everything well. For who could either player be had? That answer will be looked at as we explore the Yankees outfield and pitching.
OF - As of now, come 2015, the Yankees have no outfielders under contract. Of the outfielders currently on the team, the only one who has some likelihood of still being around is Brett Gardner, but that still leaves two other starting positions. In the Yankees farm system, the most highly touted OFers right now are Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott. I am not personally sold on any of those guys. Mason Williams, the consummate five tools guy, has not done much with any of those tools. I am not a big fan of guys who have unfulfilled potential that seemingly hold that label indefinitely. Slade Heathcott has had one very good half season while the rest of his minor league career has been injury riddled. Tyler Austin seems to be the best of the bunch but had a bad year this year which could have been because of his wrist or possibly because of the promotion to AA. Regardless, this where I think the Yankees should go outside. Aaron Judge could be nice but he is years away. As stated earlier, it is nice to have vets on a team. There should be a couple young vets that could be had, and for which we could use pieces like M. Williams. Heathcott, plus more to get. One option, which many people have mentioned before is Giancarlo Stanton. There are other teams who have the pieces to get him but he would be a great option. There is no way Stanton stays in Florida up until free agency. If some of the Yankees top prospects in the OF and otherwise do not land the Yankees Stanton, they could be used to land the Yankees Profar or Desmond, as Texas needs some OF prospects. Another nice addition would be Yoenis Cespedes. In two years, he will be a free agent but still only 30 years old. That type of power would be great on the Yankees especially in that stadium. We know the A's will not pay to keep him. The Yankees should be able to add of the aforementioned outfielders to pair with Gardner.
SP - The Yankees, as of now, only have CC Sabathia locked into the rotation for the next few years. Of the remaining pitchers, Ivan Nova and David Phelps would seem the best bet to stay in the rotation as it is currently constructed. However, should Michael Pineda debut at some point and reflect the ability that we believe he has, he could be a viable number 2 or 3 starter in this rotation. Nevertheless, as we do not even know if CC is a viable top end starter any more, some good pitchers still will be needed. In the minors, the closest higher end prospect to making the majors is Jose Ramirez. His minor league results have been mixed so his status as a prospect is mixed. Probably the next closest to major league ready ranked prospect is Nik Turley. However, he is not seen as a front of the rotation starter either. The best arms on the Yankees are in A Ball at varying levels. Those pitchers include Vicente Campos, whose injuries have slowed his progress but is supposed to have high end stuff but ist still a few years away, Ty Hensley, who is out for the year because of injury, and is even more years away, Ian Clarklin, who could be one of the steals of the draft but is very raw, and Rafael De Paula, an International signing, who is growing prospect status quickly. Of the guys mentioned, as of now, De Paula, Clarklin, Hensley and Campos seem to have the most major league upside. However, a sure thing in the rotation would be nice. How about David Price? (I love Clayton Kershaw but I do not see him reaching free agency.) I am not sure if he will be traded first or a free agent first but this is the type of must get, if the Yankees can. He is one of the top pitchers in the game. At 30 years old, if he keeps pitching the way he has been the majority of his career, he would be a great acquisition. In the meantime, since Price cannot be had yet, the Yankees can upgrade their rotation by adding Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees missed out on Yu Darvish. They cannot afford to miss out on another opportunity for a young high end pitcher. His Japanese stats nearly mirror Darvish's and he is considered a number one or two pitcher in the major leagues, just a notch below what Darvish is. He has he size and frame of a MLB pitcher and unlike Kei Igawa, actually has movement on his pitches and command. Tanaka and Price on a staff in say 2016 would be nice. (in the alternative, if he can ever prove healthy, Johnny Cueto could be a nice addition.)
RP - The Yankees biggest strength has been bullpen building. The Yankees have plenty of strong options. They likely will not find the next Mo but then again who will?
The Yankees 2016
C - Gary Sanchez
1B - Greg Bird
2B - Robinson Cano
3B - Peter O'Brien
SS - Alexander Guerrero/Jurickson Profar/Ian Desmond
DH - Jose Abreu
RF - Mike Stanton
CF - Brett Gardner
LF - Yoenis Cespedes
SP - CC Sabathia
* When CC Sabathia's deal is up, De Paula and or Campos should be ready. Plus Hensley, and Clarklin will only be a couple years off hopefully. Jagielo and Judge should also be close by then.
Do you like this team? Who could you see being on the future Yankee teams?