The Yankees have a different approach to their offseason plans and it’s an approach that fans are not used to seeing. The free-spending Bronx Bombers are on a budget and appear to be focused on sticking to it. It makes for an interesting winter for the Yankees who have areas of concern with their pitching, in the outfield and at catcher. The Yankees are going to have to figure out how to address these matters with a checkbook not as blank as it may have been in past years.
The reason for the Yankees new approach is the goal they’ve set to get below the $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014. That’s still a lot of money to work with for most MLB teams, however for the Yankees that’s a major goal to reach for a team that has become known for going after high-priced free agents with reckless abandon and basically a Brinks truck.
Fans expecting the Yankees to make a run at Josh Hamilton for the offense or Zack Greinke for the starting rotation might as well shelf those aspirations because it’s most likely not happening, not for a team that’s on a budget. General manager Brian Cashman most likely will sit back and wait for the right discount to present itself through free agency or a trade. It doesn’t make for exciting headlines, however it could very well be the small moves that Cashman hopes to make that puts the Yankees back in position for another postseason run.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Yankees pull the trigger on at least one high-profile deal should it present itself, as long as it makes sense financially. However, expect for Cashman to try and work his magic like he did with the late offseason additions of Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez over the last couple of years or a creative trade like the one that landed Nick Swisher from the White Sox after the 2008 season.
What’s going to help the Yankees and their new approach at spending is if they can bring back as many of their veterans from this past season for the 2013 campaign as they can. Pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte have to be at the top of Cashman’s list. Kuroda is currently a free agent who’s reported to be strongly considering a move back to the west coast and Pettitte is taking the time he needs to think about if he wants to come back for one more year. I’m thinking Cashman will be successful in bringing them both back for 2013, however if that’s not the case then it’s going to be a major challenge to replace two pieces of what’s a very fragile starting rotation after CC Sabathia.
One look at the makeup of the American League East and it’s clear that the Yankees are going to have a difficult task if they plan on repeating as division champions. The feisty Baltimore Orioles are going to be in the mix and it’s logical to conclude that Boston and Tampa Bay will have bounce back seasons. However, the recent additions made by the Toronto Blue Jays have all of a sudden put them into the conversation as potential playoff contenders.
Cashman has indicated that he’s looking forward to the challenges that are ahead for his ballclub and that’s good because he’s going to need to put in major work to have this club back in position to field a playoff-caliber team in 2013. It will be perhaps Cashman’s biggest challenge of his tenure with the Yankees, at least until next offseason.
Great time to put the team on a budget, isn’t it?