It’s Thanksgiving, and at the beginning of the “most wonderful time of the year,” Yankee fans are nervous, wondering if the parade is about to pass them by.
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The Red Sox have thrown the first punch in the off-season Black Friday free agent shop-o-rama by purchasing the services of 3B Pablo Sandoval and newly-minted LF Hanley Ramirez. With the rest of the division never getting to the stores, the Yankees are the only team left to rush the doors with the Sox. But are they inclined to get up early or even open their wallets?
The contracts provided to Sandoval (5 years, $95 million) and Ramirez (4 years $88 million with a possible fifth year at $22 million), were early holiday gifts for other free agents as they jack up the price for lower-level infielders like Chase Headley, Stephen Drew, and Asdrubal Cabrera. Options to bolster the left side of the diamond vacated by the retired Derek Jeter and the potentially incapacitated Alex Rodriguez are going fast. If answers aren’t found in the free agent market, then GM Brian Cashman will need to spread some good cheer (and maybe hope that the other GMs fill up on tryptophan-laced turkey), to swing a deal and fill those holes.
The big luxury pitching purchases (Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields) are just hanging on the shelf waiting for buyers to come and grab them. With new shoppers such as the Cubs, White Sox and Giants waiting in the parking lot, it looks like the Yanks will need to either be aggressive or resign themselves to the bargain racks (Brandon McCarthy, Francisco Liriano, Justin Masterson). Of course they can always look ahead to next holiday season as potential free agents like Jordan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton will (or might) be available.
So it’s up to the Yanks to decide if they should max out the credit cards and deal with the bills in January or sit and wait until the after-holiday sales to see if there are any great deals waiting to be had.