The offseason is finally kicking off with several new free agent signings in the last few days. The Yankees have yet to add anyone beyond Brendan Ryan, but some of the players now gone were potential targets they could have signed. Are the Yankees better off without them, or should they have tried harder for them? More importantly, will they miss them?
San Francisco Giants
The Giants signed Tim Hudson, a player the Yankees could have really used. They seem to like to offer veteran starters one-year deals with plenty of guaranteed money in order to fill their rotation. They had been paying Andy Pettitte for years, then there was the likes of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, with Hiroki Kuroda being here for the last two years as well. With a mostly empty rotation, and if Kuroda ended up retiring, Hudson could have been a great pickup in the same vein as those that came before him.
After several years of making $9 million a year with the Braves, it seemed the veteran would jump at a deal between $10-15 million dollars. The Giants were able to get him with a multi-year deal, paying him $23 million over the next two seasons . While the Yankees could have matched the money, it was likely the guaranteed multiple years that they were not going to meet with someone who just had major ankle surgery.
The Indians signed outfielder David Murphy to $12 million contract over two years with a third club-option year. Murphy had a down 2013 season, so he was likely to come cheap, but the Indians managed to get a good deal on a platoon outfielder with good defense. While the Yankees could have used a deal like this, they are more in need of a player who can hit lefties, rather than righties. Murphy could have been a good low key signing on a one-year deal, but with a packed outfield, the Yankees weren't interested in adding anyone that didn't provide a significant upgrade.
Verdict: Won't miss
San Diego Padres
The Padres signed Josh Johnson to a heck of a deal. A one-year, $8 million contract was all it took to nail down the right-hander. While the Yankees could have taken a flier on him, they probably wouldn't have gotten the same deal that San Diego got. Johnson wanted to pitch there, likely because the bigger ballpark and less intense NL West will do wonders for his career. He's likely banking on Petco Park to help him put up great numbers in order to get a bigger deal in 2015. Josh Johnson is kind of a genius, at least in theory, because he's putting a lot of faith in the fact he will be healthy.
To protect themselves against that potential eventuality, the Padres can be awarded a $4 million club option for 2015 if Johnson can't make more than seven starts due to injury. It's hard to say whether or not this would be bad for Johnson, as another lost year would likely kill his market for anything much higher than $4 million anyway. The Yankees would be very reluctant to take a chance like this on someone so injury prone.
Verdict: Hopefully won't miss
The new deal between the Phillies and Carlos Ruiz seems to be getting a bad rap already. It could still end up being poor, since it goes on for such a long time, but it could also end up as a steal. The deal is for $26 million across three years with an option for a fourth year at $4.5 million or a $500,000 buyout. It sounds like a lot for a 35-year-old catcher, and it is, but considering the market, it could end up working out for the Phillies if he overcomes his down year in 2013.
What the Yankees missed out on was the chance to spend only $8.5 million a year on a catcher this offseason. If they're looking to sign one, Brian McCann will cost much more and after that, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski are all that's left of the market and will go up in price once McCann is gone. While the Ruiz deal could end up being too long, it could have been worth it to take a chance and save money in order to use it elsewhere.
Verdict: Miss for the first two years
The Reds have signed Skip Schumaker to a two-year, $5 million deal. While it seems awfully early in the offseason for a team to sign a utility player like him, the Reds must have liked his versatility to give him a raise like this. While the Yankees could use someone who can play the outfield, they likely would want to find someone with a better bat, especially if he's going to be used at second base, like Schumaker can be. The Yankees will be fine without him.
Verdict: Won't miss
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