Yankees Hot Stove: A look ahead at the 2014/2015 MLB free agent class for position players

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The players who will hit free agency next year will influence some of the decisions the Yankees make this off-season. It's never to early to take a quick peek ahead.

With most of the major pieces in this season's free agent class already trying on brand new jerseys and deciding how to spend their ridiculous newfound riches, it's never too early to take a look at what lies ahead a year from now. Odds are the 2015 free agent class has influenced decisions made by the Yankees this winter as they decide which positions must be filled right away and which they can afford to bide their time with. Here's a glance at the position players who - as of now - will be available.

Catchers

Player Age (in 2015) 2013 fWAR Contract Notes
Ryan Doumit 34 0.1
Nick Hundley 31 1.9 $5 million club option for 2015
Gerald Laird 35 0.9
Russell Martin 32 4.1
Jeff Mathis 32 -0.5 $1.5 million club option for 2015
Wil Nieves 36 -0.1
A.J. Pierzynski 38 1.6
David Ross 38 0.9
Geovany Soto 32 1.0

There's nothing much doing on next year's catching market, which further explains the Yankees' haste to get pen to paper on Brian McCann's contract this year. They passed on a Russell Martin reunion before. If Yasmani Grandal does what they want him to, the Padres will probably pick up Hundley's option and trade him. Even as back-ups, the Yankees' in-house options, Francisco Cervelli, J.R. Murphy and Austin Romine seem preferable to anyone on the market.

First Basemen/Designated Hitters

Player Age (in 2015) 2013 fWAR Contract Notes
Billy Butler 29 1.4 $12.5 million club option for 2015
Michael Cuddyer 36 2.5
Adam Dunn 35 -0.2
Corey Hart 33 DNP
Adam LaRoche 35 0.6 $15 million club option for 2015
Adam Lind 31 1.8 $7.5 million club option for 2015
Victor Martinez 35 0.9
Mike Morse 33 -1.6
David Ortiz 39 3.8

A prime class for first base/DH types named Adam. LaRoche's option is unlikely to be picked up while Butler's and Lind's should be. With Mark Teixeira signed through 2016 the Yankees probably won't be shopping in this market, since they'll need DH at-bats free for Alex Rodriguez, if he's on the team in 2015, and for Carlos Beltran, too.

Second Basemen

Player Age(in 2015) 2013 fWAR Contract Notes
Emilio Bonifacio 30 0.6
Kelly Johnson 33 1.2
Nick Punto 37 1.9 $2.75 million club option
Rickie Weeks 32 -0.3 $11.5 million club option vests with 600 PA's in 2014
Ben Zobrist 34 5.4 $7.5 million club option

The dire situation we see at second base today doesn't figure to get much better next year, at least not through free agency. Bonifacio and Punto are utility guys while Zobrist's club option is a lock to be exercised. Rickie Weeks has lost his starting job to my new favorite non-Yankee, Scooter Gennett (he has the same first name as my dog), so he probably won't vest for 2015, but well...there's a reason he lost his job in the first place.

Shortstops

Player Age(in 2015) 2013 fWAR Contract Notes
Mike Aviles 34 0.3 $3.5 million club option
Asdrubal Cabrera 29 0,6
Yunel Escobar 32 3.9 $5 million club option
Rafael Furcal 37 DNP
J.J. Hardy 32 3.4
Derek Jeter 41 -0.6
Jed Lowrie 31 3.6
Hanley Ramirez 31 5.1
Jimmy Rollins 36 1.6 $11 million club option vests with 444 PA's in 2014

Now we get to the good stuff. In Hardy, Lowrie and Ramirez, next year's free agent class features three bona fide starting shortstops all in their early 30's or younger, and a bounce-back season from Cabrera could add him to that list, too. Looking ahead is probably part of the reason why the Yankees have seemingly decided to take their lumps with Jeter's defense and Brendan Ryan's offense this year rather than going hard after Jhonny Peralta or Stephen Drew. Still, a lot can change in a year. Hardy and Ramirez's current teams are reportedly interested in extensions, and Jeter could always decide that the 2014 season won't be his last.

Third Basemen

Player Age(in 2015) 2013 fWAR Contract Notes
Alberto Callaspo 32 0.6
Jack Hannahan 35 -0.2
Chase Headley 31 3.6
Donnie Murphy 32 0.8
Aramis Ramirez 37 1.4 $14 million mutual option
Pablo Sandoval 28 2.3
Ty Wigginton 37 -0.6

It's impossible to say what A-Rod's status will be in 2015, but even if he's healthy and not serving a suspension, it's hard to believe he'll play a full allotment of games at third in his age-40 season. Ramirez is nearly as ancient, but Sandoval and Headley should draw a lot of interest from the Yankees, unless Eric Jagielo makes a meteoric rise through the minors this year.

Outfielders

Player Age (in 2015) 2013 fWAR Contract Notes
Norichika Aoki 33 1.7
Melky Cabrera 30 -0.9
Coco Crisp 35 3.9
Chris Denorfia 34 3.9
Brett Gardner 31 3.2
Jonny Gomes 34 1.0
Tony Gwynn, Jr. 32 DNP
Scott Hairston 35 -0.7
Torii Hunter 39 2.5
Ryan Ludwick 36 -0.8 $9 million mutual option
Nick Markakis 31 -0.1 $17.5 million mutual option
Darnell McDonald 35 0.5
Colby Rasmus 28 4.8
Alex Rios 34 3.1 $13.5 million club option
Nate Schierholtz 31 1.4
Seth Smith 36 1.1
Alfonso Soriano 39 2.9
Denard Span 31 3.5 $9 million club option
Ichiro Suzuki 41 1.1
Vernon Wells 36 -0.8
Josh Willingham 36 0.0
Chris Young 31 0.5




The Yankees now have Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran inked for a combined $37 million for the 2015 season, but their other four outfielders are all free agents, meaning there will be an opening in left. There isn't that much appeal among next year's unsigned outfielders, so Gardner could be brought back, despite the redundancy between his and Ellsbury's skills. Or the Yankees could go after Rasmus or Schierholtz if they're seeking someone with more pop to fill the power void left by Soriano.

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