John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees to Handle Offseason As Usual?

History says the Yankees will look at two “areas”.

This morning, The New York Post’s Joel Sherman suggests how the situation could look for the New York Yankees approach to this offseason using their history as a reference, Should Sherman be the spot, the Yankees will target two areas: starters with power arms and lefty power bats.

In examining what the Yankees would like to see occur with its starters, the obvious is to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda (who was made a qualifying offer) and win the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka. Now, no one would say that Kuroda possesses a power arm, but he has certainly served the Bronx Bombers well in his two years of service (27-24, 3.31 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, .538 W% in starts). Add some of the chatter Kuroda could return to Japan, and the chances of a return could be deemed as dwindling.

The Yankees may not post the winning bid on Tanaka either. Those posting rules have yet to be finalized, so there’s that. The old “wait and see”.

So we’ll toss out Kuroda and Tanaka for now. What’s possible?

Sherman mentions potential trade target such as Tampa Bay’s David Price, Detroit’s Max Scherzer and Cubs Jeff Samardzija. I agree with Sherman that the Yankees will not land any of these three as New York simply don’t have the prospects at their disposal to pull of a deal.

Sherman also drops a couple of interesting names: Josh Johnson and Dan Haren. Those medical records better be good. Yankees fans know what I mean.

The power lefty bat performs well at the new Yankee Stadium. Sherman produces an interesting, but not surprising, stat.

From 2009-12 (coinciding with the opening of the new Stadium), Yankee lefty batters hit 164, 124, 135 and 154 homers — the most in the majors each season. They were 12th last year with 81, mainly because of extended injuries for Curtis Granderson and (Mark) Teixeira, and the decision to replace Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez with (Ichiro) Suzuki and Travis Hafner.

Mention power lefty bats and you think of another Yankee that received a qualifying offer: Granderson. I thought the chances of Granderson accepting the QO and staying for the $14.1MM were solid. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes Granderson will decline the QO and opt for free agency. He mentions statistical comps to Swisher – OPS as a starting point. There is also the obvious difference: Swisher is a switch-hitter while Granderson is a lefty.

If Granderson does leave, Sherman notes a pair of free agents that spark interest: Carlos Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo. Both Beltran and Choo received QOs from their teams (Cards and Reds, respectively). Either would be a great grab. Beltran would fit well into the batting order and allow Brett Gardner to continue as the lead-off hitter.

With Choo, maybe not. For the past two seasons, Choo’s leadoff triple slash is .300/.413/.484. Hard to imagine any team taking him out of that role especially if you compare that to Gardner’s career leadoff triple slash of .265/.343/.388. Yes, the stolen base threat with Choo is less than that of Gardner, but would you be willing to sacrifice that threat for a guy that gets on base at the rate Choo does?

Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, Cubs Nate Schierholtz and Oakland’s Seth Smith are also named by Sherman. Would the Rox make CarGo available? Not that I can see in the near future. Schierholtz and Smith may be the best options if Granderson, Beltran and Choo spurn the Pinstripes. Both are arbitration eligible for 2014 and due to be free agents for the 2015 season.

From a payroll perspective, Schierholtz and Smith would fit in nicely with the club’s desire to get below that $189MM luxury tax threshold.

That’s just the outfield situation. The Yankees seem to have one at the catching position as well. The next target: Brain McCann.

McCann is also a QO recipient, but I doubt that slows any team wishing to acquire his services. For McCann, I would certainly include the Yankees as a potential suitor. Scary thought: McCann playing half his games in Yankee Stadium.

The air of mystery surrounding the Yankees offseason seems as great as it has been in quite a while. With so many options in play – and holes to fill – this could be the most important offseason for GM Brain Cashman.

At least Joe Girardi will be back, right?

Tags: New York Yankees

comments powered by Disqus