The great New York Yankees, that’s all I grew up hearing about most of my life. I mean since 1995, the Yankees have won five World Series titles, more than most teams have won in their respective history, and have been in the playoffs all but two times, with no losing record even when missing the playoffs.
Times have changed now; the stars have gotten old, the Core Four is down to one fragile figure in the Captain Derek Jeter and now even the endless money pit seems to be gone. The Yankees have many holes to fill in their lineup and craters to fill in their rotation but with all the luxury tax implications and many huge contracts to aging stars on their books, where do the Yankees go from here?
Can they go the Houston Astros way and tank a few years to replenish the farm system, a farm system that created the Core Four era, or do they go and spend the money to be relevant and try to win sooner rather than later? It seems that the days of spending big in free agency are over with teams playing in the postseason right now being built on their farm system, except maybe the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Take a look around: the St. Louis Cardinals, winners of two titles in the past 10 years, said goodbye to an icon in Albert Pujols because they didn’t want to overpay and here they are once again in the thick of things in the postseason with one of the best farm systems in the game. From Allan Craig and Jon Jay to Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn, all are cornerstones of a playoff team.
The Boston Red Sox were able to hit reset and dump their big contracts on the Dodgers and after a few missed playoff appearances, are back now and look like the strongest team in the show, building on their farm system and low profile signings. The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics are now prominent playoff contenders year after year due to their strong farm systems.
The Yankees have a few big name and big contracts coming off their books in Curtis Granderson and of course, Robinson Cano. The decision Brian Cashman now faces is to pony up the cash in typical Yankee fashion or let them walk- someone will pay them.
First order of business is to decide if Cano is worth the money he wants from these Yankees. It’s easy to say the Yankees desperately need him as they have nobody else to lead them into the future but they have players on their roster who can show them paying over $25 million to a player ends up hurting you in the future.
Cano is essentially the star in a lineup of aging stars and is by far their best player on the field. He finished the year with a .314 batting average, 27 HRs and 107 RBIs. In the past five seasons, he has averaged a .300 average with 25 HRs and 100 RBIs.
He’s a great player and Yankees need his production but he will be turning 31 in late Oct. and he is looking for a 10 year contract which you can see is a bad idea by looking across the diamond at Alex Rodriguez or even Mark Teixeira. The Yankees need to retain him, but at the lowest price they can because without him, there is no one else to turn to.
Granderson is a different story, after an injury plague season, the Yankees might be able to sign him on the cheap to show he can get back to form and if he can’t, it won’t cost them much. If he produces then they can sign him long term afterwards but he might be past his prime so it won’t cost them much either way.
The Yankees are the Yankees and they can’t afford to tank to get high draft picks so their only solution to turn things around is to sign veterans on the market that can help them keep their winning ways.
Jeter is still a question mark at short after his ankle injury so they might want to lock up Brendan Ryan for one year as his glove is one of the best in the business and then trade for a guy like Elvis Andrus or Asdrubal Cabrera.
At catcher, the Yankees need a major upgrade and there is only one name on that list and that is the underrated Brian McCann. He might cost New York some money but he will be worth it as their options right now include Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli. Sign McCann for a few years while top catching prospect Gary Sanchez makes his way up through the minors.
The next task is to shore up the pitching staff with Andy Pettitte retiring and Phil Hughes pretty much gone after this mediocre season, the Yankees need to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda who was their ace for most of the year and take a chance on a few veteran guys like Tim Lincecum and Bartolo Colon, who pitched the A’s into the postseason.
There’s not many options out there but with the resources the Yankees have, they can’t be cheap again like this past offseason and have to spend the money, wisely, if they want to bring back the fans to the stadium and their winning ways.
Read more rumors, news and opinion on our New York Yankees page