Making Sense of Yankees Off-Season by Looking to 2014

Yankees News

Goals are great if there’s an end game

Editors Note : This is part two of a series on the New York Yankees plans for 2013 and 2014, You can read part one here 

For the Yankees’ off-season to make any sense, it has to come full circle next year.

The next step will be figuring out who returns in 2014.

You have to assume if the Yankees go internal in 2013 at the catcher position, they will do the same in 2014.

Outside of Brian McCann, the market isn’t very attractive anyway and New York apparently values defense far more than offense when it comes to catching.

This means it can be assumed New York will go about the same in salary behind the plate. With CC Sabathia, David Phelps and Michael Pineda under contract, that could be Plan A for the rotation (with the previous assumption, Ivan Nova is traded in a deal for Mike Morse)

Yankees Would be Wise to Pursue Michael Morse

Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, David Aardsma and Mariano Rivera are all Free Agents after 2013, so the Yankees will have a lot of work to do with the pitching staff.

Essentially, this leaves the three aforementioned starters, Clay Rapada/Cesar Cabral, David Robertson, Jim Miller and Cody Eppley on the pitching staff. New York will need at least two starters, a late inning arm and likely a middle reliever.

Offensively, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez will still be there, as will Derek Jeter in his final season under contract. This leaves second base and Robinson Cano‘s impending walk year after 2013.

We will come back to that.

In the outfield, Gardner will be in his final year and it’s unlikely Granderson or Ichiro come back (assuming Ichiro is inked to a one year deal this offseason), meaning the Yankees have two outfield spots to fill.

So with $75 million dollars committed in 2014, let’s say another $20 million is committed to DH, the bench and arbitration.

This means New York would have about $95 million to commit to: left and right field, second base, two starting roles, a late inning role and at least one middle relief spot.

Almost $100 million dollars annually for seven spots on the roster.

Initially, it seemed New York might resign two of: Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. Into this offseason it seemed unlikely they would even sign Granderson.

Now, with the latest from Cano reiterating he will seek somewhere near a $200 million dollar contract for his danger years (Cano will be 31 as a Free Agent), it seems in question whether Cano comes back.

The Yankees may well try to compete with plenty of talent in 2013, punt 2014 and look to compete again and raise payroll in 2015.

So let’s say Granderson and Cano walk for four more picks

Let’s say the Yankees re-sign Hughes because he has a healthy and productive 2013 to build off of 2012.

New York could try someone like Adams from the minors to step in for a year or sign someone like Ben Zobrist or Omar Infante at an extreme discount compared to Cano in two years.

The Yankees don’t have any outfielders develop in the next two years (a strong possibility they will), they can turn to someone like Shin-Soo Choo or Chris Young in Free Agency, shifting Morse into right field.

Starters in 2014: Sabathia, Hughes, Pineda, Phelps, FA (R.A. Dickey or Matt Garza come to mind).

Outfield: Farm product/FA, Gardner, Morse (under a new contract).

Relief: Robertson, Mark Montgomery (projected to be a callup in 2013), Cabral/Rapada, Eppley, Miller, FA/AAA, FA/AAA.

Infield: Rodriguez/Nunez/Jeter/Adams/FA/Texeira, Romine/Sanchez/.

What does it all mean?

It’s quickly becoming apparent New York may not re-sign any players headed into its early 30’s up for Free Agency before 2014.

It’s becoming apparent they don’t want a Rodriguez/Teixeira repeat.

It’s apparent the Yankees are actually changing philosophy and it’s unrealistic they compete each of the next three years.

Total calculations:

Players Coming (besides farm talent) Infante, Garza, Morse, reliever TBD (We’ll say $35 million dollars annually, leaving about $60 million for a reliever under this scenario)

Players leaving: Kuroda, Cano, Granderson, Pettitte, Rivera, Logan, Chamberlain, Aardsma, Nova.

This would come out to a commitment around $130-140 million dollars when you factor in purchased contracts and extensions to Hughes and Morse.

If the Yankees don’t resign Cano, they have about $50 million dollars to plug into the rest of the team, and even more after 2014 when the tax goes from 50% to 17%, or, if the Yankees wait until 2016, it will reset at 0% for four years.

It’s unlikely New York ever hovers much above $190 million dollars in payroll unless in the future there is new ownership or Hank and Hal have a change of heart.

The Yankees need to be under $189 million at least once every four years to keep tax perks, so rather than have a two year purging like what is happening now, they would be wiser just to stay in the relative area.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see whether ownership goes all in on Cano, risking another poison contract in five years, or they rebuild over time, sacrificing at least one season of competition in a deep division, and try to plan effectively long-term.




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