The Boston Red Sox won the World Series, so naturally that means the New York Yankees will buy up the entire league to be ready to make a statement in 2014.
Following the Boston’s win in the 2004 Fall Classic, the Yanks signed prized right-hander -- at the time -- Carl Pavano and traded for perennial All-Star Randy Johnson. The team wound up finishing with the same record as the Red Sox and won the division based on head-to-head matchups. The Yankees lost to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALDS.
The money was flowing those two offseasons, but a phrase very uncharacteristic of the Bronx Bombers has been circulating this offseason: the Yankees will attempt to reduce the team’s payroll to $189 million.
We never hear the word “reduce” in anything money related with the Yankees. But it seems Hal Steinbrenner has different views of spending money than his renowned father George.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that the $189 million mark is not a mandate, and the organization will not sacrifice talent into to meet that goal. But even with that being said, the Yankees face a few pressing issues this offseason.
The first and most telling has to do with the A-Rod situation. The team is desperately seeking an answer of whether his suspension will hold up. If so, the Yankees will have an additional $25 million to spend this year.
That’s a huge chunk of money, considering the next pressing issue deals with the hefty contract demands of Robinson Cano.
Pretty much everyone expects that Cano will be the face of the Yankees for years to come. But the question remains: How many years will that be?
Cano released crazy contract demands of 10 years and $305 million earlier this year, and let’s be honest: He’s not getting that. But another team could surely offer eight years, in which case the Yankees may shy away, especially after seeing how A-Rod’s play has diminished in the later years of his long-term contract.
For about six years and $150 million, a deal -- at least from the Yankees perspective -- can get done. That’s $25 million per season for a 31-year-old who has shown at times that he doesn’t hustle. What more does Cano want?
Also on the Yankees’ agenda is to improve the starting rotation. C.C. Sabathia will be back, though he’s appeared to lose some of his touch as the staff ace. It also looks like Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda will be called upon to be staples in the rotation.
Hiroki Kuroda was great for the Yanks last year, but he’s a free agent and doesn’t even know if he’ll pitch in the states next year. Consider Phil Hughes as good as gone.
So that’s two spots to fill, unless the Yankees think they can rely on David Phelps or one of the “Killer B’s,” Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances. The latter two have certainly not developed as the team envisioned.
The crop of free agent starters includes guys who have experienced some success but don’t strike anyone as a top-of-the-rotation-type starter that the Yankees seek. Expect them to make a play for Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and even Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka.
Catcher is also an area of concern, and Brian McCann’s name has been linked to the Bronx. But early reports indicate that he could command a $100 million, but the Yankees would be better off throwing more money at Cano than paying that sort of money to McCann.
In a normal offseason in which the Yankees faced these sorts of needs, they’d just open their wallets and let the money flow out. We’ve seen it countless times in the past.
But the attempt to reduce payroll coupled with the A-Rod situation have left the Yankees in an unfamiliar situation.
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