The offseason technically isn’t over yet, but it does seem like the Yankees are done making substantial moves. Of course, Brian Cashman thought that the Yankees were done weeks ago, and they have since signed Chris Carter. They’ve also signed Jonathon Niese to a minor league deal. The roster might change in the next few weeks, but the following moves have been some of the Yankees’ best and worst offseason moves so far.
Best offseason moves
The Yankees didn’t sign any free agents during the 2015-2016 offseason, but they finally dipped their toes back into the market and made some moves to improve the lineup. First, the team signed Matt Holliday to a one-year deal worth $13 million. The Yankees really love their veterans, but these deals tend to go south when they hand out multi-year contracts. 2016 was a down year for Holliday, but he can be used in the outfield, as a backup first baseman, and as designated hitter. It won’t be the end of the world if he is bad and/or breaks.
They also signed Chris Carter a few weeks back. Carter’s one-year contract is worth $3.5 million, and considering that he hit 41 home runs last year, the Yankees can’t really go wrong with this. He may not be the best defender, but Carter offers the Yankees another option at first base, and he can be a power threat off the bench.
Most controversial offseason move
It is no secret that Yankees fans have very strong opinions about Aroldis Chapman. There is a portion of the fanbase who think that this was the best offseason move, and another portion that think it was the worst. Most (if not all) of our staff was against the Yankees’ decision to bring Chapman back, yet here we are.
The Yankees busted out the big bucks and signed Chapman to a five-year, $85 million contract that includes a three-year no-trade clause. Some fans take issue with the fact that the contract is lengthy and expensive, while some fans are disgusted that the Yankees would sign Chapman after his domestic violence incident. Everyone is certainly allowed to have their take on the matter. At the end of the day, is the bullpen better with Chapman this season? Sure.
Worst offseason move
Dellin Betances was arbitration eligible for the first time this year, and he requested $5 million. The Yankees refused to budge after offering him $3 million, and the two sides were unable to meet in the middle. Ultimately, the Yankees won the arbitration hearing against Betances and he will only earn $3 million this season. Whether he deserved $5 million or not is a topic for another article. It should have been a done deal, but Randy Levine took it upon himself to bad-mouth Betances following the decision.
For absolutely no reason at all, Levine used a conference call with reporters to say that Betances asking for $5 million “might as well have been $50 million.” Levine went on to call Betances a “victim.” Levine implied that it would be ridiculous for Betances to earn Closer money, yet Betances is one of the best relievers in the game, and he very well could be the Yankees’ closer if they hadn’t brought back Chapman. The Yankees evidently claimed that Betances was somewhat to blame for declining ticket sales (??), as well.
It should come as no surprise that Betances was less than thrilled to hear Levine’s comments. He went so far as to say that he thinks “(free agency) will be a little easier when the time comes.” Why the Yankees would want to alienate a homegrown player who happens to be one of the best relievers in baseball is beyond me, but it was not a good look.