The Yankees have pulled off a number of huge moves this past offseason. It started with Brian McCann but did not come close to ending there. Within a few weeks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran were also in the fold. Finally, as of a few days ago, they were able to snag the top pitching option on the market in Masahiro Tanaka. So did the Yankees just have the best offseason ever?
Sometimes these great offseasons work out but sometimes they don’t. Since we don’t know what we’ll get from the Yankees’ newest stars so, we will focus on a few of the best offseasons on paper. We will then examine how these moves turned out based on player’s statistics and team’s record the following year.
For example, the 2013 Red Sox are not included. Although their offseason prior to 2013 proved to be a very good one, I don’t think anyone believed the Red Sox to be serious contenders never mind World Series champions. Let’s start with the 1993 Blue Jays.
Yes, they were coming off a World Series win but they were losing key guys such as David Cone, Jimmy Key, and Tom Henke. Toronto added the likes of Paul Molitor, Dave Stewart, and Danny Cox. Although sometimes struggling, Stewart was a solid #3 starter. Danny Cox was a key piece of the Jays bullpen and Molitor came in second for the batting title. As for the Blue Jays, they repeated as champions.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in 14 years in 2008, the Yankees went to work that offseason. Spending over $400 million dollars, they were able to add C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett. It turned out to be very successful. In 2009, Sabathia became the ace winning 19 games. A.J. Burnett was a very solid #2 starter in his only good year with the Yankees and Teixeira came in 2nd in MVP voting. All this resulted in the team’s 27th World Series championship.
Sometimes, offseasons that look really good could completely blow up in your face. That is what happened with the 2012 Angels. Before the season began, the Angels added two top of the line players. Albert Pujols, the best hitter on the planet at the time and C.J. Wilson who was coming off a year with a sub-3 ERA in Texas. Even with Mike Trout‘s outstanding production once he was called up in April to go along with Pujols’ bat, it was still not enough to make the playoffs.
The Angels were far from bad in 2012 winning 89 games but unfortunately, they play in a very tough division. To follow that up, they signed Josh Hamilton the next off season. With Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Mark Trumbo already, you would think that the Angels would at least make the playoffs in 2013. Not even close. In fact, they finished below .500. On top of that, besides good production from C.J. Wilson, Albert Pujols is on a decline and Hamilton was awful in 2013.
The 2011 Phillies were very successful the previous offseason and it only involved one major signing. The Phillies already had a very strong rotation with three starters that could be an ace in any other rotation. With Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels already, it didn’t seem like the Phillies needed more pitching.
However, free agent Cliff Lee was willing to take a shorter deal worth millions less to sign with the Phillies. Because of Lee’s love for Philadelphia having played there once before, the Phillies were able to acquire another potential ace for less money to go along with an already very good rotation. Lee would go on to be the great pitcher he still is but it didn’t translate to a World Series title although the Phillies did make the post season.
It’s pretty easy for Yankees fans to be very excited for the 2014 season. How would you not be? With such big signings, you can make the argument that the Yankees have obtained the greatest amount of talent of free agents than maybe any team ever. However, as we have seen many times in the past, games are won during the season, not during the winter. As for the 2014 New York Yankees, we will have to wait and see if these acquisitions translate to the on-field success.