As a fan, I tend not to get too wrapped in the negativity of new acquisitions. Like anyone, I obviously have players I'd like the Yankees to acquire and ones I think they should stay away from, but even those opinions don't last that long. Bringing new players into the fold is inherently exciting, and even a deal I was afraid of the get-go (hello Carlos Beltran!) usually gets overwhelmed by the potential for positives and fun memories in the upcoming season.
Doing anything in an attempt to improve the team is more interesting to me than just standing pat. I know there is subset of Yankees fans who, for various reasons, would rather the Yankees not do much of anything this offseason in an attempt to "rebuild." I would find that particularly boring, but after the dead offseason following 2012, it's always a possibility.
The Yankees have been reticent to trade their prospects and thus far seem to not be terribly interested in the "big ticket" free agents, so if some of the mid-tier players get away, maybe the Yankees don't do much. I believe that, at worst, they'll sign or trade for a few stopgaps, but what will this team look like if they do essentially nothing?
The starting pitching is probably where the team standing pat would be the least detrimental. It's long been the last resort of a middling, veteran-filled team to hope that players bounce back from injury to act as a new acquisition and improve the roster. The Yankees wouldn't have too much difficulty fielding a staff, as Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Shane Greene and David Phelps should all be ready to go by spring training, with Ivan Nova waiting in the wings. That's a lot of injury questions, but the Yankees wouldn't be the first team to roll the dice in such a fashion. It's actually a rotation with a lot of upside, though, and that's even after putting Sabathia's expectations at "competent".
The bullpen would probably regress to being a solid, but unspectacular group without David Robertson or a quality reliever replacing him. Their aggressiveness in promoting Jacob Lindgren would be key to the potential of the relief corps, but Shawn Kelley is likely to see a positive regression in his ERA (his peripherals were outstanding). The team might not continue beating its' Pythagorean Record without a fireman like Dellin Betances helping them walk a tightrope with its leads, but he would surely make a fine closer.
The infield would look pretty damn crummy. There's really no internal options to back up Mark Teixeira, shortstop would be occupied by human-out Brendan Ryan and either second or third would have to be manned by Martin Prado. The bold act would be to give Robert Refsnyder the starting job at second base if they didn't add any new quality infielders, but even then I suspect they wouldn't go that route. The interesting question would be: if the Yankees struck out on all of the worthwhile third baseman, would they just start Alex Rodriguez until he broke? Brian Cashman noted that any acquired third baseman would get the starting nod, but if they whiff in free agency, all bets could be off. It could get ugly, but hell Ryan Howard still has a starting job, so never doubt a team's willingness to start a statue making a ton of money.
The outfield would be the dynamic duo of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury and probably Carlos Beltran for a couple of games. I think we would be seeing a lot of Chris Young if the Yankees go into 2015 expecting Beltran to make it as a regular in right field, but I'm sure they'll at least try it. Maybe Jose Pirela would get a crack at it here in our hypothetical scenario, but I'd err on the side of the veteran until this team really tanks.
I think it goes without saying, but my "Unchanged Yankees" aren't a very good team. The pitching staff has a high ceiling, but short of A-Rod being an immortal and some Refsnyder magic, that lineup stinks. 75 wins could be a real possibility there. I don't think the Yankees are going to let this be the team that they go into 2015 with, but there is the chance the Yankees lose out on a lot of their desired free agent/trade targets. Will the Yankees get desperate and overpay some of the marquee guys? Will they relent after a few years of restraint and clean out the farm?
Who knows what the Yankees would do with their backs against the wall. Hopefully we don't reach that crossroads and they can fill the roster holes without losing their minds.