The Yankees head into the Winter Meetings feeling pretty good about what they’ve accomplished already and they have good reason to. General manager Brian Cashman and his staff took care of the team’s top offseason priority when they were able to retain Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and Mariano Rivera. Now that the pitching has been addressed, it’s now time for the Yankees to turn their attention to their position players and a couple of glaring holes.
Right field is a problem right now that Cashman knows he’s going to have to figure out sooner rather than later. Nick Swisher is still expected to part ways with the team and although Ichiro Suzuki has reportedly said he wishes to come back in 2013 that has not been taken care of as of yet.
If Cashman intends to keep the Yankees on pace with their salary cap goals for 2014 then he’s going to have to be creative.
It’s just a thought here, but Arizona Dimondbacks outfielder Justin Upton would be an intriguing option for the Yankees. The Yankees would have to pull off a trade for Upton and Arizona would certainly want back a lot for him. Upton has something that’s very appealing besides his skill set and that’s youth. Upton is only 25-years-old and if it’s one thing the Yankees could use in their everyday lineup it’s a shot of youth.
Thanks to the Pittsburgh Pirates showing Russell Martin the money this winter, the Yankees now have a huge question mark at catcher. Martin didn’t exactly light it up in 2012 with his batting average, however he never received an offer from Cashman. The Yankees have stated that the pitching had to be taken care of first, yet it’s still interesting that they let Martin walk so easily.
This is another area where the luxury tax dilemma for 2014 will come into play. If the Yankees decide to look toward free agency or via trade to bring in a catcher, Cashman is going to have to be creative about it.
I’m not buying that Cashman feels his starting catcher could already be in the Yankees organization. I think that Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart have about as good a chance of starting on Opening Day in 2013 as I do, although stranger things have happened. Youngster Austin Romine might get a serious look in Spring Training.
The Winter Meetings are going to be unpredictable, however I believe that Cashman and his deputies are going to go in there ready to make some noise when the opportunity presents itself. He did a solid job making sure the Yankees took care of their pitching needs and he managed to do it without sacrificing their flexibility for 2014. He knows that was only the beginning and now it’s time for some real heavy lifting.