Well, the Padres have successfully traded for an all-new outfield, and they’ve also acquired what used to be the Red Sox third baseman of the future.The Yankees, meanwhile, are clearly trying to avoid losing their top young players in massive trades like the ones happening in San Diego.
Here’s the MLB Trade Rumors ranking of the top 50 free agents heading into this offseason. Only the bold names are still available. How many would still fit the Yankees roster (and their budget)?
1. Max Scherzer – The top player on the market is still available. That was predictable, largely because agent Scott Boras tends to take his time getting his high-end players signed. The Yankees are said time after time that they’re not going to get involved in the Scherzer bidding. Question is, whether that’s posturing or an honest assessment.
2. Jon Lester – Cubs
3. James Shields – Heading into this offseason, Scherzer, Lester and Shields were seen as the big three on the market, but the narrative certainly shifted to the Big Two, with Shields left quietly overshadowed. There’s been very little speculation or solid information about Shields’ future.
4. Hanley Ramirez – Red Sox
5. Pablo Sandoval – Red Sox
6. Victor Martinez – Tigers
7. Melky Cabrera – White Sox
8. Russell Martin – Blue Jays
9. Nelson Cruz – Mariners
10. Yasmany Tomas – Diamondbacks
11. Ervin Santana – Twins
12. Kenta Maeda – No longer expected to be posted.
13. David Robertson – White Sox
14. Brandon McCarthy – A’s
15. Francisco Liriano – Pirates
16. Chase Headley – Yankees
17. Andrew Miller – Yankees
18. Justin Masterson – Red Sox
19. Aramis Ramirez – Brewers
20. Colby Rasmus – His name is mentioned from time to time, but Rasmus has yet to find a home. As a left-handed center fielder, he’s a pretty terrible fit for the Yankees. The team already has two of those.
21. Jed Lowrie – Astros
22. Jason Hammel – Cubs
23. Asdrubal Cabrera – Now that Headley and Lowrie are off the market, Cabrera stands out as the top infielder available. He might have been an option for the Yankees — either at second base or third base — had they not signed Headley. Now there’s really nowhere for the Yankees to put Cabrera.
24. Nick Markakis – Braves
25. Adam LaRoche – White Sox
26. Jake Peavy – Giants
27. Hiroki Kuroda – The Yankees say they’re still not sure what Kuroda is planning to do. Is he going to retire? Does he want to come back? Does he want to pitch elsewhere? Even though he’s almost 40, another one-year deal with Kuroda could help add some stability to the Yankees rotation. Go into spring training with Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, Kuroda and Capuano? A lot of risk there, but also some decent upside.
28. Mike Morse – Marlins
29. Michael Cuddyer – Mets
30. Alex Rios – Royals
31. Edinson Volquez – Royals
32. Luke Gregerson – Astros
33. Torii Hunter – Twins
34. A.J. Burnett – Pirates
35. Sergio Romo – Giants
36. Francisco Rodriguez – Of all the experienced closers still on the market, it’s Rodriguez who ranked highest on MLBTR’s list. He’s coming off a good season, and he’s one of a few pitches who could add some late-inning depth for the Yankees.
37. Rafael Soriano – Of all the experienced closers still on the market, it’s Rodriguez who brings the most familiarity at Yankee Stadium. He was a very good replacement closer back in 2012, and he’s been perfectly solid in the two years since. Though he would fit best for the Yankees on a one-year contract, at his age, I wonder if he might be looking for one last multi-year deal.
38. Ryan Vogelsong – Re-emerged out of nowhere back in 2011, and now that he’s 37, it seems to be a question of how much longer until he disappears again. That said, Vogelsong had a 4.00 ERA last season, so he might not be finished just yet. Hard to rule him out as a potential Yankees target at some point. They’d clearly like to add more rotation options.
39. Aaron Harang – Bad 2013, but Harang had a 3.57 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP while once again pitching more than 200 innings in 2014. Turns 37 in May and faces basically the same question as Vogelsong: when will he stop being an effective back-end starter?
40. Nori Aoki – Perfectly solid on-base guy still in his early 30s. No place for him on the Yankees roster, though.
41. Billy Butler – A’s
42. Stephen Drew – If the Yankees really wanted him, he would be on the roster already and penciled in as the starting shortstop next season. Instead, he’s still on the market, and apparently considering the possibility of playing second base. I still find it weird that he can’t take advantage of the thin shortstop field to get a job at his original position, but what do I know?
43. Emilio Bonifacio – Doesn’t turn 30 until April and he can play multiple positions, including second base and center field. Doesn’t hit much, but he can run enough to make a difference off the bench. Could only imagine the Yankees getting involved if they feel Jose Pirela can’t play a utility role next season, but Pirela might be a better offensive player.
44. Casey Janssen – Pretty solid track record as a closer in the American League East. He’s coming off a bad second half, but otherwise, he was pretty good as the Blue Jays closer for three years. Yet another guy who could give the Yankees a ninth-inning option beyond Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.
45. Pat Neshek – Astros
46. Brandon Morrow – Padres
47. Jason Grilli – One good season as a big league closer. Mostly used as a good setup man the past four years. Fits into that group with Rodriguez, Soriano and Janssen as late-inning relievers who could — if the Yankees wanted to try it — takeover the ninth inning out of spring training.
48. Brett Anderson – A’s
49. Josh Johnson – Padres
50. Jung-ho Kang – Finally posted this week. He was a power-hitting shortstop in Korea, and there’s some question about whether that power and defense will translate at the big league level. Hard to imagine the Yankees getting involved now that they have Headley and Didi Gregorius filling the holes in their infield.
Associated Press photos