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YANKS OFFSEASON NEWS
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 10:45AM #1
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015

It's that time of year again. Unfortunately, a month sooner than any of us would have liked. For all the latest Yankee news check the last few pages of the thread. As always responsible comments and discussions are welcome. No trolls allowed.


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 10:48AM #2
meacham
Posts: 3,675

Plesase let the news that Cashman won't be brought back be one of the first stories in this thread.

8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 10:48AM #3
yank0428
Posts: 18,446

Sep 29, 2014 -- 10:45AM, BigGuy wrote:

It's that time of year again. Unfortunately, a month sooner than any of us would have liked. For all the latest Yankee news check the last few pages of the thread. As always responsible comments and discussions are welcome. No trolls allowed.



CHAS: Please pin this thread, thanks. 







Here we go. A lot of work to be done .

8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 10:50AM #4
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015

Goodbye, Derek


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 10:53AM #5
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015


Breaking down options Yankees GM Brian Cashman has to improve team


In any case, whatever the GM may have in mind for next season could be subject to what level of panic there may be in the boardroom over potential fan apathy now that Derek Jeter is joining the rest of the beloved Core Four in retirement, leaving the Yankees without the types of stars to which fans feel a strong connection.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


Carlos Beltran is battling age and injuries, but the Yankees must count on him to stay healthy and produce next year.JULIE JACOBSON/APCarlos Beltran is battling age and injuries, but the Yankees must count on him to stay healthy and produce next year.

BOSTON — For years now you could see a doomsday scenario coming for the Yankees, as the absence of impact talent from the farm system forced them to spend on high-priced free agents heading toward the backside of their careers.


The question, now that they’ve missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the early 1990s, is whether that scenario has arrived.


That is, are the Yankees truly doomed to at least some significant period of mediocrity? Or will two years of crippling injuries prove to be something of a flukish interruption to their regular appearances on the October baseball calendar?


The two questions are linked to some degree, considering that injuries are more predictable for older players, and the Yankees have plenty of those.


In any case, the Yankees’ offense looked broken this season, to borrow John Mara’s term for his Giants last season, and you can make the case that the only way to fix it is to go spend more big bucks.


However, GM Brian Cashman makes the case the injuries produced a worst-case scenario that doesn’t necessarily predict the future.


“I honestly believe if you repeated this season 100 times," he said by phone on Friday, “you would not get this result."


He was referring mostly to Mark Teixeira’s lingering wrist injury and Carlos Beltran’s elbow injury, both of which took the punch out of the middle of the Yankee lineup — as well as a transition year for Brian McCann that may have been the reason he didn’t hit much the first three months.


With all of that in mind, Cashman said he does believe this offense can fix itself.


“You’ll see the real Carlos Beltran next year," he said. “And Tex should be much better. His doctor says the first year after wrist surgery is difficult, and the next year is better.


“And (Brian) McCann went through an adjustment period but he had a much better second half. I think that’s more of what you’ll see next year."


Fair enough. But obviously there’s an argument to be made that Beltran, at age 38 next season, and Teixeira, who will be 35, are both in decline and as likely to deal with more injuries next season.


And while McCann found his power stroke late, hitting eight of his 23 home runs in September, he has hit only .223 in the second half of the season, with a .277 on-base percentage, as he takes a .232 season average into the last game of the season Sunday vs. the Red Sox.


Regardless, the larger point is that if this is Cashman’s thinking, it suggests a much quieter offseason for the Yankees than a year ago, when they committed $438 million in guaranteed contracts to McCann, Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka.


The big money the Yankees spent on Masahiro Tanaka only to see him sidelined for most of the season with an albow injury may steer the Bombers away from other marquee free agent pitchers.CJ GUNTHER/EPAThe big money the Yankees spent on Masahiro Tanaka only to see him sidelined for most of the season with an albow injury may steer the Bombers away from other marquee free agent pitchers.

Cashman was quick to say that he’s not in a position to talk about plans for next season, since his contract is about to expire. And though all indications are that Hal Steinbrenner wants him back, Cashman said, “Hal said he’s not going to address it until after the season."


In any case, whatever the GM may have in mind for next season could be subject to what level of panic there may be in the boardroom over potential fan apathy now that Derek Jeter is joining the rest of the beloved Core Four in retirement, leaving the Yankees without the types of stars to which fans feel a strong connection.


Unless you count the polarizing figure that is Alex Rodriguez, who certainly will create interest when he returns from suspension next season. But like Jeter this season, A-Rod turns 40 next summer, and if he’s a shell of his old self as well, that interest will fade quickly.


As it is, attendance and TV ratings have declined the last couple of years, which is what scared Steinbrenner enough to abandon his plan to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold this season.


So it’s quite possible that he and Randy Levine will get together in the coming weeks and ask, “What the heck do we have to sell to the fans next season?"


There is no superstar free agent out there this winter whose presence alone would sell tickets as a Yankee, however, but a 90-plus-win team that gets back to the playoffs would go a long way toward answering such a question.


Other than Rob Refsnyder, who will get an opportunity in spring training to win the job at second base, the Yankees still have no homegrown position players ready to make a difference next season.


So if they’re determined to improve it seems the Yankees will have no choice but to continue spending.


But how much? They’ll have some $27 million coming off the payroll in Jeter and Hiroki Kuroda, who doesn’t figure to return. But they’ll also be adding $25 million for A-Rod after not having to pay him this season.


At the trading deadline the Yankees also added $11-million-a-year Martin Prado, so they figure to be over $200 million even without a big-ticket signing this winter.


If Hal Steinbrenner is willing to go higher, where will they spend?


For months the presumption has been that they’ll try to sign either Max Scherzer or Jon Lester, but there are indications that Masahiro Tanaka’s so-far successful avoidance of Tommy John surgery may influence them not to spend another $180 million or so on a pitcher.


In fact, the combination of Michael Pineda’s late-season brilliance and Tanaka’s return to the mound has allowed the Yankees to dream of what might be next season.


Victor Martinez may be 37, but his track record proves he could make an impact with the Yankees.Victor Martinez may be 37, but his track record proves he could make an impact with the Yankees.

As Cashman said, “Tanaka and Pineda would be a really good 1-2 at the top of the roation."


Tanaka didn’t look anything like an ace here on Saturday, giving up seven runs in 1 2 / 3 innings while throwing 50 pitches, but the Yankees really just wanted to see him come through this second late-season start without any elbow issues. Afterward he said through an interpreter that his arm felt “fine.”


Still, counting on him next season could be risky, knowing Tanaka could further tear this elbow ligament at any time, and Pineda still has to prove he can stay healthy over a full season after missing three months with a muscular injury in the lower back of his shoulder.


On the other hand, the Yankees should get Ivan Nova back from Tommy John surgery at least for the second half of the season, and Shane Greene looks as if he can at least be a solid No. 4-type starter.


It remains to be seen if CC Sabathia has anything left, but either way, I think they’ll re-sign Brandon McCarthy to something like a two-year deal and hope for good health for Tanaka and Pineda.


They also need to re-sign closer David Robertson, who is a free agent. Dellin Betances may be ready to close, but bullpen depth and dominance is what kept this team afloat for most of the season, and it’s vital the Yankees maintain that.


As for position players, the Yankees first have to replace Jeter at short. Stephen Drew probably wont’ be back, but light-hitting Brendan Ryan is under contract for another year.


However, is it worth overpaying for a free agent like J.J. Hardy, whose power numbers fell off this year (back issues)? Hanley Ramirez could bolster the offense, but scouts say the Yankees would be making a big mistake signing him, citing his “horrendous" defense, his history of injuries, and his questionable makeup.


So how about this instead? Gamble on a three-year deal for Victor Martinez, who had an MVP-caliber season for the Tigers, and offset the cost by going with Ryan’s brilliant defense at short next year.


Yes, Martinez will be 37 next season, and he’s mostly a DH, but scouts believe he is such a pure hitter that his bat will age well as he closes in on 40. Also, he can play a serviceable first base, which would provide some insurance in case Teixeira’s wrist continues to bother him.


Obviously in some ways Martinez would be another of the type of signings that created this uncertain future the Yankees face. Still, with one major move they could have the No. 3 hitter they desperately lacked last year and perhaps galvanize their offense.


Is it worth the gamble? Well, if the Yankees remain committed to chasing an immediate return to October baseball, as seems likely, it beats merely hoping that Teixeira and Beltran will stay healthy next season.


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 10:57AM #6
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015

Yankees face daunting offseason, even more than last-place Red Sox









AP / Charles Krupa

The Yankees are tied up with numerous big contracts, including CC Sabathia who is owed $48 million over the next two seasons.










BOSTON — Losing Derek Jeter might wind up the least of the New York Yankees’ concerns this winter.


Though the Yankees stayed alive longer, both the Red Sox and Yankees have been eliminated from postseason contention and will be watching from home in October — the first time in the wild-card era that both American League East heavyweights have failed to reach the postseason.


Both rosters have plenty of question marks for next season and beyond. Both teams have underachievers aplenty to blame for their disappointing seasons. But while the Red Sox will finish this season far behind the Yankees in the standings, it’s not likely that Boston general manager Ben Cherington would swap rosters with counterpart Brian Cashman.


Boston has little idea of what to expect going forward from franchise icons David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, both dealing with wrist injuries as this season winds down. World Series hero Shane Victorino missed almost the entire year and can’t be expected to be as productive in the final year of his contract as he was in the first. Boston has seen its first wave of young pitchers stumble upon introduction to the major leagues, rendering necessary a big offseason expenditure to add a top-of-the-rotation starter.


But those problems look minor — and far more manageable — contrasted with what the Yankees face.


CC Sabathia is owed a combined $48 million for the next two seasons despite making just eight starts this season. Mark Teixeira is owed a combined $46.25 million over the next two seasons, and he has looked like a shell of his old self for two straight years. Brian McCann is owed $17 million per season through 2017, and he has hit a combined .238 with a .305 on-base percentage in the last three seasons.


The list goes on. Carlos Beltran hit just .233 without getting on base or hitting for power particularly well — and the designated-hitter role he occupied this year might have to be given over next year to the returning Alex Rodriguez. Beltran and Rodriguez are slated to be paid a combined $37 million next season and $36 million the season after that.


In that way, losing Jeter — who, let’s not forget, has the lowest slugging percentage of any qualifying American League hitter this year — could be something of a relief for the Yankees. The $12 million New York paid him this year, his lowest salary since 2001, is money that can be applied where it might be better used.


Like the Red Sox, the Yankees have to upgrade, not tread water. But the sheer volume of the financial commitments New York has on the books limits its ability to do so. Quantity of money is less the issue than finding spots on the field for new players — a problem the Red Sox don’t have except perhaps in the outfield.


It would be far easier for the Red Sox to shed Victorino and the $13 million left on his contract, for example, than it would be for the Yankees to find a taker for Beltran, McCann, Rodriguez or Teixeira.


And if the Red Sox were to trade away Victorino — or another veteran like Yoenis CespedesAllen CraigWill Middlebrooks or Daniel Nava — they have a youngster likeMookie Betts primed for a full-time job. Similarly, if their young pitchers all fail to work out, another wave of young pitching is on its way featuring Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez.


The Yankees have no such youngster waiting in the wings. Years of forfeiting first-round picks to sign free agents have caught up with them. Their best position-player prospect has yet to play in Double-A. Their best pitching prospect has just six Double-A starts under his belt and presumably will start next season back at that level. Neither is knocking on the door to the major leagues.


Any upgrade the Yankees make will have to come via free agency — the same means by which they acquired Beltran, McCann and Teixeira in the first place.


When it comes to depth of pockets, the Yankees have — and will always have — an advantage over the Red Sox. But unless New York’s ownership is willing to swallow the money owed to Beltran, McCann, Rodriguez or Teixeira, the team’s front office goes into this offseason knowing that it can’t count on much from four spots in the lineup.


That inflexibility only makes the task of upgrading the offense at the positions with holes — third base, second base and, yes, shortstop — more daunting and more critical.





"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 10:59AM #7
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015


The Yankees begin a new era in 2015










The Yankees Dynasty is over, but the future looks at least a little bright








While the Yankees don’t have a core group of young homegrown players on the roster, they do have talent. On the position side, the team can build around Brett GardnerJacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. All three of them are in their primes and should provide peak value over the next two years. The pitching staff, of course, starts with aceMasahiro Tanaka, as well as Shane GreeneMichael Pineda andDellin Betances. Unfortunately, they will need to address the holes left at third base, shortstop, right field as well as in the rotation. Another major issue is declining performances and the albatross contracts ofAlex RodriguezMark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia. This offseason is going to be huge for this team, as they approach a crossroads. Either they need to focus on rebuilding or double-down and continue down the path of big contracts and older players. After missing the postseason for the second year, I’m betting on the latter.


Realistically, we may never see the likes of the "Core Four" and Bernie Williams all come together at one time again.  However, they do have some players in the minor leagues that may make solid contributions over the next few seasons.  For the first time in awhile, it appears that the organization has a solid, power-hitting outfielder on the way in Aaron Judge. The infield has Eric Jagielo, Rob Refsnyder, and Greg Bird looking like promising options for the Yankees. Luis Severino stormed onto the scene in 2014 and is on the fast track to be a future front-of-the-rotation arm that the team sorely needs. Ty Hensley is finally healthy, and Ian Clarkin is another name to watch as potential middle-of-the-rotation arms. Even as fickle as relievers can be, the Yankees have Jacob Lindgren and Tyler Webb headlining a deep crop of bullpen arms ready to make major league contributions.


The future is cloudy for the first time in many years and to have expectations for another dynasty just isn’t realistic. We all witnessed history during this unprecedented run and as fans we should reflect and be thankful for what we’ve seen, as no other team has given their fan base what this team and its players have. While we may never see the same success again, the Steinbrenners will always keep the Yankees in the playoff hunt. For that we should all be thankful.





"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 11:01AM #8
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015

Who replaces Jeter? What about A-Rod? 6 key Yankees questions






BOSTON — They finished out of the money for the second straight season despite spending close to $500 million of the Steinbrenner family fortune.


In order to avoid missing the postseason for a third consecutive year in 2015, the Yankees must answer more than a few questions.


Here are their top six issues this offseason:


Who replaces Derek Jeter?


Because Jeter hit .256 instead of .300, the next shortstop won’t be smothered by pressure to hit .320. Defensively, the 40-year-old Jeter made the plays he was expected to make.


The early favorite is Baltimore free agent J.J. Hardy but late-season back issues are a red flag.


Where does David Robertson pitch next year?


It better be in The Bronx.


Asked to replace Mariano Rivera, Robertson converted 39-of-44 saves chances.


The free-agent closer said last year was the time for a home-team discount so he will explore free agency. If he leaves, the Yankees may have to trust Dellin Betances with that key role.


Count on the Yankees giving Robertson the qualifying offer.


Can they count on Alex Rodriguez to play next season?


Before the Yankees engage free-agent Chase Headley and other third-base options, it would be nice to know if Rodriguez’s surgically repaired hips will be up to playing the field.


However, they will be guessing one way or the other before the free-agent and trade options evaporate. And that guessing will impact the DH picture, too.


Do they attempt to upgrade a rotation that is drowning in questions?


Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester are the premier free-agent starters and the Yankees will monitor all three although the early industry vibe is the Yankees aren’t going to spend big money this winter.


Is Carlos Beltran a full-time DH?


If Rodriguez doesn’t come back, the switch-hitting Beltran is a perfect fit as the DH and that would open a spot in right field. If Rodriguez is fit enough to play, Beltran has to play right field and could be troublesome for an outfielder who turns 38 in April and will be coming off right (throwing) elbow surgery.


Can Michael Pineda be trusted to come to camp in shape and become a front-end starter?


The first question will be answered in February. The second one in April, May and June.


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 11:03AM #9
BigGuy
Posts: 66,015

Derek Jeter ushered off stage by a most unlikely salute












BOSTON — It took coming here, to the belly of the beast, crossing the infested moat and landing inside the enemy’s castle, to understand just how unique these final hours were really going to be.


This wasn’t some benign flyover cow-town offering a check, a firm handshake and a tip of the cap. It’s always been easy to appreciate Derek Jeter in Minneapolis or Kansas City or Arlington, Texas, and simultaneously pull for the Twins or the Royals or the Rangers. The history isn’t as rich, the pools of spilled blood far shallower.


No. This was Boston. This was Fenway Park. These were the Red Sox. And, yes, if there were pockets of Yankees fans who’d infiltrated the sellout crowd of 36,879, they were still a clear, if throaty, minority. This wasn’t a surrender as much as it was a temporary cease-fire.


“DEREK JETER!” came the chant.


“DEREK JETER!” came the roar.


“DEREK JETER!” came the mantra, all day long, during batting practice and player introductions, during his two at-bats and the 112-second ovation that ushered him from first base to the dugout in the third inning, after scratching out his 3,465th, and final, career hit. Yankees fans. Red Sox fans. All on the same side. What the . . .


“There’s been a lot of ugly times in this rivalry, things you wouldn’t necessarily want anyone to see,” Jeter’s manager, Joe Girardi, would say when the game (a 9-5 Yankees win), the season (a disappointment at 84-78) and the career (clear the passing lane for Cooperstown) were over. “But for one day, everyone came together.”


Girardi smiled.


“You would’ve thought it was one team today,” he said.


The Red Sox did what the Red Sox do, which is to empty the city coffers of bells, whistles and history. Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice were there. Bobby Orr and Troy Brown and Paul Pierce, past captains of Boston’s other sporting teams, were there. Scads of former Red Sox were there.


Even Bernie Williams was there, to play his guitar and strum the chords of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and somehow the crowd knew enough to change the lyrics subtly and perfectly, so everyone would “. . . root, root, root for the YanksSox . . .”


Surreal? “Yeah,” Jeter said, laughing. “I’ve been a part of some chants here at Fenway Park.”


None of these chants is especially printable. But the sentiment of those angry oaths — if not the syntax — always moved Jeter just as much as Sunday’s cheers did.


“If you’re a Yankee fan or someone who wants us to lose, there’s a pretty good chance I was a part of that the last 20 years,” he said. “As long as you do your job and play hard, the people will respect you. Even if they don’t necessarily like you.”


Sunday, they skipped over the like part and decided to close the season and bury the hatchet with a full-blown love-fest.


When Jeter smoked a line drive in the top of the first inning that Sox shortstop Jemile Weeks snared, the disappointment was palpable.


And when he hit a high chopper off home plate two innings later, his 40-year-old legs churning and burning while Boston third baseman Garin Cecchini waited for gravity to take effect, the crowd roared with relief when there was no play.


They’d gotten what they wanted, saw what they paid to see. And then stood and cheered once more as Jeter left the field for the final time, lending their voices one last time to what’s been a six-month chorus of gratitude for Jeter and for his career.


“We’ve been an enemy for a long time,” he said. “For them to flip the switch the last time . . . it made me feel happy I was a part of this rivalry.”


He was dry-eyed and clear-voiced. It was time. He was certain of that.


“It’s time to let someone else play,” Jeter said.


"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
8 years ago  ::  Sep 29, 2014 - 11:05AM #10
meacham
Posts: 3,675

Sep 29, 2014 -- 10:53AM, BigGuy wrote:



Breaking down options Yankees GM Brian Cashman has to improve team


In any case, whatever the GM may have in mind for next season could be subject to what level of panic there may be in the boardroom over potential fan apathy now that Derek Jeter is joining the rest of the beloved Core Four in retirement, leaving the Yankees without the types of stars to which fans feel a strong connection.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


Carlos Beltran is battling age and injuries, but the Yankees must count on him to stay healthy and produce next year.JULIE JACOBSON/APCarlos Beltran is battling age and injuries, but the Yankees must count on him to stay healthy and produce next year.

BOSTON — For years now you could see a doomsday scenario coming for the Yankees, as the absence of impact talent from the farm system forced them to spend on high-priced free agents heading toward the backside of their careers.


The question, now that they’ve missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the early 1990s, is whether that scenario has arrived.


That is, are the Yankees truly doomed to at least some significant period of mediocrity? Or will two years of crippling injuries prove to be something of a flukish interruption to their regular appearances on the October baseball calendar?


The two questions are linked to some degree, considering that injuries are more predictable for older players, and the Yankees have plenty of those.


In any case, the Yankees’ offense looked broken this season, to borrow John Mara’s term for his Giants last season, and you can make the case that the only way to fix it is to go spend more big bucks.


However, GM Brian Cashman makes the case the injuries produced a worst-case scenario that doesn’t necessarily predict the future.


“I honestly believe if you repeated this season 100 times," he said by phone on Friday, “you would not get this result."


He was referring mostly to Mark Teixeira’s lingering wrist injury and Carlos Beltran’s elbow injury, both of which took the punch out of the middle of the Yankee lineup — as well as a transition year for Brian McCann that may have been the reason he didn’t hit much the first three months.


With all of that in mind, Cashman said he does believe this offense can fix itself.


“You’ll see the real Carlos Beltran next year," he said. “And Tex should be much better. His doctor says the first year after wrist surgery is difficult, and the next year is better.


“And (Brian) McCann went through an adjustment period but he had a much better second half. I think that’s more of what you’ll see next year."


Fair enough. But obviously there’s an argument to be made that Beltran, at age 38 next season, and Teixeira, who will be 35, are both in decline and as likely to deal with more injuries next season.


And while McCann found his power stroke late, hitting eight of his 23 home runs in September, he has hit only .223 in the second half of the season, with a .277 on-base percentage, as he takes a .232 season average into the last game of the season Sunday vs. the Red Sox.


Regardless, the larger point is that if this is Cashman’s thinking, it suggests a much quieter offseason for the Yankees than a year ago, when they committed $438 million in guaranteed contracts to McCann, Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka.


The big money the Yankees spent on Masahiro Tanaka only to see him sidelined for most of the season with an albow injury may steer the Bombers away from other marquee free agent pitchers.CJ GUNTHER/EPAThe big money the Yankees spent on Masahiro Tanaka only to see him sidelined for most of the season with an albow injury may steer the Bombers away from other marquee free agent pitchers.

Cashman was quick to say that he’s not in a position to talk about plans for next season, since his contract is about to expire. And though all indications are that Hal Steinbrenner wants him back, Cashman said, “Hal said he’s not going to address it until after the season."


In any case, whatever the GM may have in mind for next season could be subject to what level of panic there may be in the boardroom over potential fan apathy now that Derek Jeter is joining the rest of the beloved Core Four in retirement, leaving the Yankees without the types of stars to which fans feel a strong connection.


Unless you count the polarizing figure that is Alex Rodriguez, who certainly will create interest when he returns from suspension next season. But like Jeter this season, A-Rod turns 40 next summer, and if he’s a shell of his old self as well, that interest will fade quickly.


As it is, attendance and TV ratings have declined the last couple of years, which is what scared Steinbrenner enough to abandon his plan to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold this season.


So it’s quite possible that he and Randy Levine will get together in the coming weeks and ask, “What the heck do we have to sell to the fans next season?"


There is no superstar free agent out there this winter whose presence alone would sell tickets as a Yankee, however, but a 90-plus-win team that gets back to the playoffs would go a long way toward answering such a question.


Other than Rob Refsnyder, who will get an opportunity in spring training to win the job at second base, the Yankees still have no homegrown position players ready to make a difference next season.


So if they’re determined to improve it seems the Yankees will have no choice but to continue spending.


But how much? They’ll have some $27 million coming off the payroll in Jeter and Hiroki Kuroda, who doesn’t figure to return. But they’ll also be adding $25 million for A-Rod after not having to pay him this season.


At the trading deadline the Yankees also added $11-million-a-year Martin Prado, so they figure to be over $200 million even without a big-ticket signing this winter.


If Hal Steinbrenner is willing to go higher, where will they spend?


For months the presumption has been that they’ll try to sign either Max Scherzer or Jon Lester, but there are indications that Masahiro Tanaka’s so-far successful avoidance of Tommy John surgery may influence them not to spend another $180 million or so on a pitcher.


In fact, the combination of Michael Pineda’s late-season brilliance and Tanaka’s return to the mound has allowed the Yankees to dream of what might be next season.


Victor Martinez may be 37, but his track record proves he could make an impact with the Yankees.Victor Martinez may be 37, but his track record proves he could make an impact with the Yankees.

As Cashman said, “Tanaka and Pineda would be a really good 1-2 at the top of the roation."


Tanaka didn’t look anything like an ace here on Saturday, giving up seven runs in 1 2 / 3 innings while throwing 50 pitches, but the Yankees really just wanted to see him come through this second late-season start without any elbow issues. Afterward he said through an interpreter that his arm felt “fine.”


Still, counting on him next season could be risky, knowing Tanaka could further tear this elbow ligament at any time, and Pineda still has to prove he can stay healthy over a full season after missing three months with a muscular injury in the lower back of his shoulder.


On the other hand, the Yankees should get Ivan Nova back from Tommy John surgery at least for the second half of the season, and Shane Greene looks as if he can at least be a solid No. 4-type starter.


It remains to be seen if CC Sabathia has anything left, but either way, I think they’ll re-sign Brandon McCarthy to something like a two-year deal and hope for good health for Tanaka and Pineda.


They also need to re-sign closer David Robertson, who is a free agent. Dellin Betances may be ready to close, but bullpen depth and dominance is what kept this team afloat for most of the season, and it’s vital the Yankees maintain that.


As for position players, the Yankees first have to replace Jeter at short. Stephen Drew probably wont’ be back, but light-hitting Brendan Ryan is under contract for another year.


However, is it worth overpaying for a free agent like J.J. Hardy, whose power numbers fell off this year (back issues)? Hanley Ramirez could bolster the offense, but scouts say the Yankees would be making a big mistake signing him, citing his “horrendous" defense, his history of injuries, and his questionable makeup.


So how about this instead? Gamble on a three-year deal for Victor Martinez, who had an MVP-caliber season for the Tigers, and offset the cost by going with Ryan’s brilliant defense at short next year.


Yes, Martinez will be 37 next season, and he’s mostly a DH, but scouts believe he is such a pure hitter that his bat will age well as he closes in on 40. Also, he can play a serviceable first base, which would provide some insurance in case Teixeira’s wrist continues to bother him.


Obviously in some ways Martinez would be another of the type of signings that created this uncertain future the Yankees face. Still, with one major move they could have the No. 3 hitter they desperately lacked last year and perhaps galvanize their offense.


Is it worth the gamble? Well, if the Yankees remain committed to chasing an immediate return to October baseball, as seems likely, it beats merely hoping that Teixeira and Beltran will stay healthy next season.





Translation - we're going to be cheapskates this offseason and talk about the luxury tax while teams like the Red Sox get players like Rusney Castillo.   Who needs young international talent when we've got Big Tex?

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