New York Yankees Editorial: What’s Next for the New York Yankees?
Yes, the 2015 Yankees made it to the post-season for the first time in three years, but they also matched a franchise low by getting eliminated in their fifth straight playoff series. Having gone 13-17 in their last 40 games, the Yankees undoubtedly crawled their way into playoffs after a dominant start to the season that once looked so promising. They lost key players due to injury, including potential team MVP Mark Teixeira and arguably their best second half pitcher in Nathan Eovaldi and they had to rely on young prospects with guys like Luis Severino and Gregory Bird to get them through the season.
As the Astros celebrated around Dallas Keuchel on the mound in Yankee Stadium after they defeated the Bombers on their own home field 3-0 following Tuesday night’s Wild Card Game, the book closed on the 2015 Yankees Season, and an off-season of uncertainty abruptly began.
The one question on everyone’s mind is what’s next for the New York Yankees?
With guys like Stephen Drew, Chris Capuano, Ivan Nova, Chris Young and Andrew Bailey set to hit free-agency – Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson, Dustin Ackley and Didi Gregorius set for arbitration – and a $2 MM club option that’s yet to be decided for utility-man Brendan Ryan, the 2016 outlook of the New York Yankees might be quite different.
They’ll still have a ton of money committed to their big guns Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller and they still have team control over their young stars Dellin Betances, John Ryan Murphy, Luis Severino and Gregory Bird, but as you can see, there are still a ton of question marks to will need to be answered this winter.
The most glaring question that needs to be addressed is starting pitching. No one knows what the future will hold for CC Sabathia, and even if he gets the help he needs, there’s no guarantee he makes the Yankees starting rotation next season. Heck, the Yankees might even cut him when all is said and done, which might be the smartest decision.
Ivan Nova on the other hand did not pitch well after coming off Tommy John surgery and the Yankees might be inclined to let the 28-year old walk via free-agency like they did with Phil Hughes a few seasons back.
That said, as of right now the only locks for the 2016 Yankees starting rotation are the injury riddled Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda who is still yet to pitch a full season, Nathan Eovaldi who looks to have avoided serious injury and of course the phenom Luis Severino. As it stands, the Yankees have room to bring in one or two more starting pitchers via free-agency or trade.
Of course the two biggest names on the market are David Price and Johnny Cueto, but they might command a price so high that even the Yankees might not be inclined to go there. The Yankees have been linked to Jeff Samardzija as of late, but other interesting free-agent pitchers include Jordan Zimmerman, former Yankee Ian Kennedy, Rich Hill who dominated the last month of the season for the Red Sox and Mike Leake who finished his season in San Francisco.
The Yankees might even look to acquire starting pitching via a trade similar to what they did last winter when they acquired Nathan Eovaldi for Martin Prado. The Yankees can dangle guys like Rob Refsnyder or Brett Gardner, who have gained traction in trades in the past.
The next question mark is second base. Though I’m wishing Stephen Drew good health with his latest complications, I think I join every Yankee fan in saying it’s time for Cashman to move on from the Drew project. I’m fine with keeping Brendan Ryan as a defensive specialist, but the Yankees need a reliable second baseman and they need to get back to the center of the diamond approach that made them successful in the past. Rob Refsnyder does have the potential to be the every-day second baseman for the New York Yankees, but I have a feeling that both Ref and Jose Pirela aren’t the long-term solutions for the Yankees. One interesting name to keep an eye out for is prospect Jorge Mateo, who the Yankees are looking to convert into a second baseman – thoughI don’t think he’ll be ready for big leagues as early as 2016.
If the Yankees do trade Refsnyder, available second base free-agents include Ben Zobrist, Howie Kendrick, Daniel Murphy and Asdrubal Cabrera, who the Yankees can sign to a short-term deal until Mateo is ready for the bigs. Perhaps the Yankees even convert Dustin Ackley back to second base for the 2016 season?
Mark Teixeira or Greg Bird?
Greg Bird proved he belongs with the big league club after hitting .261 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI through 46 games played in pinstripes, but Mark Teixeira will be healthy and ready to return to the Yankees next spring, creating a log jam at first base. Should the Yankees look to trade Mark Teixeira by eating some of his salary, the only way they can do so will be if Tex waves the no-trade-clause granted to him by the 5 and 10 rule. That said, trading Tex isn’t likely, meaning Bird may very well find himself back in the minors to start the 2016 season.
The bottom line is that the Yankees need to get better. It’s your move Cashman.
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