With the disappointment that was the 2013 season, I'm sure everybody from Hal Steinbrenner to Vernon Wells is looking forward to next season. That being said, 2014 is one of the most unsure Yankee seasons in recent memory. Who should the Yankees sign, resign, and release to help them bounce back from a playoff miss in 2013?
Internal Options (who the Yankees should resign):
Robinson Cano (.314, 27 HR, 105 RBI, 185 H, 145 OPS+)
Sure, I'd be elated if he accepts a qualifying offer, but Robinson Cano has been one of the best hitters in the MLB in 2013. Say what you want about his laziness and impatience at the plate, but he's had yet another stellar season. We're paying him $15 million this year, and I'd be willing to pay him that for the next two years. I'm not going to go too far into the future because I don't want another A-Rod type contract. Cano is a smart hitter, an above-average fielder, and has the kind of personality you'd want in the clubhouse.
My Take: Extend qualifying offer, if refused resign for 6 years and $170 million
Curtis Granderson (.233, 7 HR, 14 RBI, 45 H, 102 OPS+ in 56 games and 193 AB)
Grandy's fluky 2013 season has been one to forget. If the Yankees can flip the page and focus on 2014, they'll be smart enough to sign him. With his excellent raw power and plus speed, I think he has the potential to have a great comeback season next year, whether it is with the Yankees or another team. He is also getting paid $15 million, and though he probably isn't worth that much, with the Yankees' awful offense I would pay him that anyway. I would sign him for a shorter deal to make sure he rebounds well- and hopefully he doesn't face J.A. Happ ever again.
My Take: Extend qualifying offer, if refused resign for 2 years and $30 million
Reynolds would be a nice option at first or third base in 2014. He hits lefties well, actually has an OPS+ higher than Overbay despite being the perennial MLB leader in strikeouts, and provides good power. He's been overpaid this year, making $6 million, but I'd like to see the Yankees take a gamble and try to sign him for less. If another team signs him for more, he didn't deserve it anyway. Maybe Kevin Long can help him raise that horrific average.
My Take: Resign for 1 year and $4 million
For most of Brendan's season, he was playing for a team that knew it wouldn't contend. He's struggled with the bat his whole career, but the change of scenery seemed to give him an adrenaline boost. In 40 at-bats with the Yankees, he's gotten himself 10 hits, good for a respectable .250 average. Of course, he's much better known around the MLB for his amazing glove work. Ryan is one of the premier defensive shortstops in the game, and I'd love to see him manning shortstop next year, whether it is as the backup for Derek Jeter or as the regular if Jeter gets hurt again. With Jeter an uncertainty for the future, I say lock up Ryan for a few years. He's cheap anyway.
My Take: Resign for 3 years and $10 million
External Options (who the Yankees should sign)
James Loney (.300, 13 HR, 74 RBI, 159 H, 118 OPS+)
Loney has been a stellar contributor for the Tampa Bay Rays this year at age 30, and he's been a consistent performer his whole career aside from 2012. In each of his other seasons, he's put up at least 10 home runs, 65 RBI's, 100 hits, and an OPS+ of at least 98. His career batting average is .285, a nice mark, and his defense is also good with a 6.4 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), well above-average. He's also a lefty, and he would play in Yankee Stadium. A player on the cheap side, he'd be a nice fit for the Yankees, who are likely to be without a backup first baseman in 2014.
My Take: Sign for 1 year and $5 million as backup 1B
Brian McCann (.256, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 116 OPS+)
I think the Yankees should make a splash in the market with this one. Brian McCann is the antithesis of Chris Stewart: a power-hitting catcher who rarely strikes out and has saved his team 125 runs in 5 years framing pitches. McCann has been punched out only 65 times this year, which is less than once every two game. His 7-year, $41.3 million deal expires at the end of this year, and he'd be a great fit for the Yankees, who desperately need both offense and a catcher. If he's getting paid around $6 million a year, I'd like to see the Yankees go for a three or four year contract. Anything less and he probably refuses, anything more and Hal Steinbrenner thinks we're paying too much. We'll use A-Rod's 2014 money to pay for him.
My Take: Sign for 4 years and $38 million as starting C
Scott Feldman (3.51 ERA, 0.9 HR/9, 2.8 BB/9, 116 ERA+)
Feldman is one of the most underrated pitchers on the free agent market this year. With a weak pitching market this year (check it out here), Feldman is one of the bright spots. A ground-ball pitcher who strikes out less than seven hitters per nine innings, the former Ranger had a good season with Baltimore and the Cubs this season, putting up a 3.51 ERA and giving up only 8 home runs in his last 88 1/3 innings. The Yankees play half of their games in a hitter's park, so it would be nice to have a pitcher that can get ground balls and not give up home runs. Feldman is getting paid $6 million this season, and I would want to have him for more than a year simply because of his ability to induce ground balls, so I say give him a multi-year deal to bolster a rotation that doesn't look too bright for next year besides Ivan Nova and maybe Hiroki Kuroda if he is resigned.
My Take: Sign for 2 years and $22 million as SP
Market Fodder (who the Yankees should let go)
Phil Hughes (5.19 ERA, 78 ERA+, 1.7 WHIP)
I shouldn't need to say too much here. Hughes has been the Yankees' worst starting pitcher this season by a wide margin. He strikes out no one and gives up tons of home runs while being really inefficient.
Lyle Overbay (.241, 15 HR, 58 RBI, 106 H)
Despite having a decent season with the Yankees in 2013, I don't think Overbay should come back to the Yankees next year unless some complications arise with Teixeira as well as a failure to sign Loney or some other first baseman free agent. Then he could be resigned as a backup. However, he's terrible against lefties, and his mediocre batting average isn't a sight many would like to see.
Stewart is the second player I won't say anything about.
Undecided Players (players I am still debating over whether the Yankees should sign them, or if the Yankees should let them leave)
What do you guys think?