For the last year, all the talk around the New York Yankees has been whether or not the team would be under $189 million in payroll come the start of the 2014 season. This would be so that the team could avoid the luxury tax. However, the Yankees may have a plan that would make fans happy and would involve some serious spending.
According to sources in a story reported by ESPN New York, the Yankees’ front office is formulating a plan where the team could spend as much as $300 million in total contracts during free agency. Even though the free agent pool isn’t as great as in past years, the Yankees can still plan to make small upgrades to a still talented roster.
Of course, it all starts with getting Robinson Cano back as the team’s second baseman. It is clear that the Yankees do not want to pay him the $300 million that he has reportedly asked for. If Cano gets more than $200 million, it has the potential, according to the report, of accounting for 2/3 of the money they plan to spend. Cano should still be first and foremost on the Yankees’ wish list to bring back, but it remains to be seen as to who the teams will be that will bid on him in the next couple of months.
The big international free agent would be starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka went 24-0 last season in Japan with a 1.27 ERA. Everyone around Major League Baseball expects that he will be available for posting bids within the coming weeks. After teams have seen the success of Yu Darvish with the Rangers, they will be looking to spend money on the 24-year old pitcher . The Yankees are reportedly one of those teams and it would help the fiscal plan because their posting fee would not count against the $189 million.
As for the free agents in the United States, two players to watch are Atlanta Braves’ catcher Brian McCann and St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Carlos Beltran. There has been mutual interest between Beltran and the Yankees, but the former Mets’ outfielder will be 37 this winter. It is more likely that it would only be a 2 year deal at most for Beltran. The one player to keep an eye on is McCann. He would fill a valuable need behind the plate for the Yankees that they clearly undervalued the catcher position. Russell Martin made that point to the New York Post at the beginning of the month before the Pirates’ wild card game.
“Maybe the Yankees will change the way they think about things. Catching is not a place where you try and patch it together.”
All in all, this proposed plan is similar to the plan the Yankees had in place after they missed the playoffs in 2008. During that winter, they spent $423 million on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. New York won’t reach that number this winter, but after having a quiet offseason last winter and a season that saw the falling of TV ratings and stadium attendance, it is not surprising that this is one of the options that the front office will look to attempt at pulling off this winter. It also does not appear as if they will stay on the sidelines, so to speak.