Last day of November, the Winter Meetings are a little more than a week away, and the Yankees are still waiting for a few key issues to resolve themselves. They’ve made one huge splash, given themselves a few options and shortstop, and made it clear that they’re open for business with money to spend (for the moment anyway). Here’s the state of the Yankees, position by position, as we prepare to head into December.
Biggest upgrade possible
The Yankees made their first offseason splash by signing Brian McCann to a five-year deal. That’s a potent left-handed hitter at a position that was previous filled by a series of defense-first options. Hard to imagine a single-position upgrade more significant than this one.
No real change here, and there probably won’t be a significant change. Mark Teixeira is still under contract, and still working his way back from last season’s wrist surgery. It’s going to be several months before we know the true state of the Yankees at first base. Depends entirely on Teixeira’s ability to be a productive hitter again.
The Yankees remain in negotiations with Robinson Cano, who’s the best player on the free agent market and apparently wants to be treated that way. No other serious bidder has emerged, and the Yankees have made it clear they want to re-sign Cano. It’s just a matter of finding a contract that satisfies each side. If not, then onto the complete mystery of Plan B.
The circus continues
Alex Rodriguez’s appeal hearing is finished, but he’s still waiting for a judgment from the arbitrator. It might be a while before we have any idea whether Rodriguez will play next season. Unless you count some utility types, the Yankees have not signed anyone to replace him just in case.
Handful of options
Derek Jeter was given an unexpected new one-year contract, meanwhile Brendan Ryan was signed for two years with an option for a third. Oh, and Eduardo Nunez is still in this mix somewhere. Jeter says he fully expects to play the position next year. The Yankees have said the same, but they’re clearly preparing for an alternative.
One more year
When the Yankees traded for Alfonso Soriano, it wasn’t a half-season rental. They have Soriano under contract for 2014 as well, and left field is his. It seems unlikely there will be any movement here.
One last year
This is Brett Gardner’s final year of arbitration, which means he’s eligible for free agency next winter. With Curtis Granderson gone, the Yankees really have no other center field option, so the job is Gardner’s barring a surprising roster move.
The Yankees have Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Well, but they also have shown no indication that they’re satisfied with that underwhelming veteran platoon situation. Carlos Beltran emerged as an early offseason target, and the Yankees remain heavily in the mix to sign Beltran to what is likely a two- or three-year deal.
Up for grabs
The Yankees have made no moves toward securing a full-time DH. If they’re going to sign someone to plug into this role, it could very well be a cheap option who’s brought into spring training to compete for at-bats. For now, it looks like a revolving door of veterans.
Keep us posted
The Yankees want to go after Masahiro Tanaka, but he’s not exactly available right now. While MLB tries to sort out changes to the Japanese posting system, the Yankees have to wait for their top pitching target. They’re also waiting for a decision from Hiroki Kuroda. Aside from those two, the Yankees have not been seriously linked to any starting pitcher.
D-Rob until further notice
Mariano Rivera has retired, and for now the 2014 closer job is safely in the hands of Dave Robertson. The Yankees might eventually sign someone to compete for the job, but the entire pitching market has been slow to move this offseason. The Yankees most significant bullpen move has been electing not to protect a handful of hard-throwing minor leaguers who could be lost in the Rule 5 draft.
Associated Press photos