Well the fat lady has sang. Put a fork in the 2013 Yankees, because they are done. With all the injuries this was quite a season. Give Joe Girardi and Brain Cashman a lot of credit for making this a winning season. No doubt the best job these two have ever done. They will not get any off season hardware this year. But dam they should.
Gone forever are the legends, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. These two Yankees are nothing short of remarkable, awesome and inspiring. Both should be enshrined in Cooperstown. We may never see a pair like this again.
What are the needs of the 2014 Yankees? Where does one start?
Is that 189 million a true goal? Most in baseball believe it is not set in concrete. We simply do not know. One thing to remember, how creative Cashman was with the contracts of Sori and Vernon. With that said we could be looking at some back loaded contracts. Some large final year trigger options and or large buyouts of the final year of a contract.
Estimate salaries for 2014:
a. Committed salaries (Jeter, CC, Tex, A-Rod, etc.) should be around 78 million*.
b. Insurance etc. will be close to 10 million.
c. Arbitration eligible and non arbitration eligible will be near this amount 26 million.
d. This gives a total of 114 million.
e. That leaves 75 million for free agency, trade additions and miscellaneous additions.
*You have to believe that A-Rod will receive some sort of discipline. That will effect the overall strategy. For example Alex is sure to make at least one contract triggers for a bonus of 6 million. If he receives 50 games suspension, his salary would be 18 million plus 6 million bonus for a total of 24 million. Resulting in a 8 million coming of of the total salaries. 100 games: 8 million base plus 6 million bonus for a total of 15 million or a savings of 17 million of overall salary relief. As you can see if he is suspended for the year would be a 32 million windfall for the Yankees. The good news for the Yankees is that a decision is expected by the end of October.
Retain Joe Girarde. He will have substantial offers from the Nationals and the Cubs. The most alluring will come from Chicago. Joe is from East Peoria, Illinois and attended Northwestern University. Coming back home to manage a team he played for is a strong possibility.
No doubt an upgrade is needed. Best upgrade option here is via free agency.
1. The best choice would be Brian McCann. He will be hotly pursued by those bean-town rascals, the Boston Red Soxs. They will be looking to sign him for a 5 to 6 year contract in the 75 to 90 million dollar range. The Yankees will be the only other team to consider going that long. That is because after 3 to 4 years he will be used as a backup catcher and full time DH. His left handed power and good batting average is idea for both stadiums.
2. No McCann. Then Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the second choice. He should be a much cheaper option. A 3 to 4 year deal from 8 to 10 million average per year. He is a switch hitting catcher with some pop. Those power number should increase with the short porch in Yankees Stadium.
Mark Teixeira returns. We improve at the dish and in the field. Plus the added dimension of a switch hitter in the middle of the line-up. Makes a tough decision on which reliever to bring into the game for an opposing manager.
Resign Robinson Cano. He is the best second basement in baseball, period. Being realistic no way is anyone worth 300 million for 10 years. Just look at the recent big signings. Only Prince Fielder has come close to expectations, that go along with a huge contract. Prince is not even half way threw his contract. When the dust settle I would imagine Cano will get a contract that will be for 8 to 10 years. That contract will be incentive loaded with a base of 160 to 200 million. I would expect this contract to be heavily back loaded as well. For example I would anticipate his salary for 2014 to be around 15 to 20 million.
Derek Jeter is no longer an everyday short stop, I am sorry to say. If he plays short, it should be as a back-up. The Yankees need to upgrade here. There are three potential trade target here and one free agent signing.
1. Best Choice is Troy Tulowitzki. He will come at a price but when healthy he is the best in baseball at short. His glove and his bat speak for themselves. Trevor Story, the Rockies #2 prospect, has shown increased power and a good glove. He should be ready in 2014 to be promoted to the big leagues. It will take two top ten position prospects and a couple rising lower level hard throwing pitchers. Good news is Gary Sanchez should not be included. The Rockies have a very good looking young catcher. To save prospects the Rockies might consider a Brett Gardner, David Adams or a Zoilo Almonte to replace one or two prospects. One thing to keep in mind here is the Cardinals have been trying all year to get him. They have more talent to get the job done but so far they seem unwilling to part with that talent.
2. Starlin Castro is my second choice. The Cubs have Javier Baez up and coming at short. Castro is very young and has been asked to be the leader of the Cubs. So far he has not been up to the task. He will cost a least a top 20 pitching prospect and a couple high end prospects in all. Some one like a Nik Turley, Mason Williams, etc.
3. Asdrubal Cabrera is my third choice. His price tag should be the easiest to swallow of the three. I would believe that a top 10 prospect and a top 30 prospect might get the job done. They have Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings and Mike Aviles to insure a smooth hand off.
Free Agent target:
1. Stephen Drew is the best and maybe the only free agent choice. Boston has Xander Bogaerts ready to take over at short. Drew will be out the door. He is steady in the field and has an above average bat, for short. He is a left handed hitter. Whose power numbers should increase in pinstripes. Drew would sign for 8 to 10 million a year on a three year deal.
No doubt this position is up in the air. It comes down to the possible suspension of Alex Rodriguez. I suggest moving the Captain to third. Derek Jeter would become the everyday third basement if A-Rod is suspended for any long period of time. If nothing else Derek would be a viable back-up to short and third. To me A-Rod is in the top 15 at this position. It all comes down to the length of his suspension, if any.
Resign Curtis Granderson. Curtis might except the one year free agent offer (around 14 million this year). This would allow for him to rebuild his name. If not he will require a 4 year deal in the neighborhood of 52 to 60 million. Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner in the outfield and Vernon Wells or Ichiro Suzuki as a platoon or 4th outfielder. One could see why Curtis would not be retained. Then again signing Curtis, would give you so much flexibility if he was retained.
Has to be used for your aging players. Future home of A-Rod, the Captain or Sori.
1. Free Agent Jesse Crain would be a nice addition. They will be lining up for his services. Most likely take a contract of 25 million for 3 years just to get his attention.
2. Grant Balfour could be available for around 8 to 10 million two year contract.
3. The loogies are the problem. Boone Logan has been good but he is to have bone spurs removed. I would think a contract around 3 million keeps him. Might be worth considering a minor league contract for Boone because of his surgery.
4. Potentially a Scott Downs would fill the bill. Would take 3 to 4 million to get him.
You have to believe that CC Sabathia will return to form. Ivan Nova looked incredible at times this year. Is Michael Pineda ready? How far is Manny Banuelos away from the big leagues? Is David Phelps ready for the rotation? Way too many questions. We need to sign a #2 and a #3 starter.
1. Resign Hiroki Kuroda to a 14 to 16 million dollar deal. He has become the ace of the staff.
2.. Matt Garza he maybe the top choice in this group. Just hard to believe that the Rangers will let him walk. He will get at least 75 to 105 over 5 to 6 years. With his injury history the past two years and his results in Texas so far. Hard for me to think Yankees would give him that much money. I would assume the Yankees would go a maximum of 5 years on a back loaded contract.
3. Ervin Santana, will the Royals let him walk? He will get 70 to 80 million for 5 years. I believe Royals are 1 more good pitcher away from competing in the central for that tittle. With the success they had this year, they will keep him in a Royals uniform if at all possible.
4. Tim Lincecum is very intriguing. Will the Giants pay him 14 million a year for the next two years. I believe he will accept a three year deal for about 40 million total. He is learning to become a pitcher rather than a thrower.
5. Josh Johnson needs to stay healthy. He can dominate like no other. He woulld be a good pick up for around 8 million a year to rebuild his credentials.
6. Phil Hughes. Yes Phil. For whatever reason he seems to have a good year every other year. I could see him taking a one year deal for 5 to 8 million to stay in the Bronx. In a larger stadium he just might get a contract for 10 million a year for 3 or 4 years, Just not from the Yankees.
SIGN Joe Girardi
1. We need to resign: Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson.
2. Find a shortstop for the future.
3. Find a top free agent catcher.
4. Sign a #2 or #3 starting pitcher.
5. Find a 8th inning reliever or closer.
6. Sign a top left handed reliever