The Best Laid Plans

As the blackout last week rolled on, the conversations between my father and me inevitably rolled to baseball. One thing he kept bringing up was how this upcoming Hot Stove season would be the most challenging for Yankee GM Brian Cashman. While I think there may have been more pressure to reload after missing the playoffs in 2008, I’m more or less in league with my dad on this one. With the 2014 budget in mind, it’s hard to know just exactly what the Yankees will do this winter. We know they won’t get younger for the sake of getting younger, and that’s something I agree with. In that vein, though, the Yankees are set up to get young for 2014/2015 with the chance for some actual impact players like Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Mason Williams. But with regards to the Yankees’ actual plan, I’m not ready to say I know what their exact strategy will be. So, in lieu of guessing, I’ll just lay out the very basic steps as to what I would (try to) do:

1. Starting pitching, duh. Re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte is a must. Phil Hughes had a nice year and Ivan Nova is still young enough to improve, but I’m not willing to bank on either one of them. Bringing back to two veterans is a must.

2. Right field: As most of you know, my first choice is to bring back Nick Swisher. The Yankees have extened him the $13.3M qualifying offer, but Swisher will reject it and seek a multiple-year contract elsewhere, and I can’t blame him. Even in a relatively weak free agent class, I don’t expect Swisher to get a $15M AAV contract somewhere. He is a good player, but I don’t think he has enough cache, even with four solid Bronx years behind him, to net that much in free agency. I’d offer him a three year deal, worth an AAV between $13.8-$14.4M. If Swisher can’t be had, I’d like to explore the trade market for Justin Upton. I think he’s worth giving up future assets and given the extension the Diamondbacks gave to Miguel Montero, I think Upton could be had without giving up Gary Sanchez. Admittedly, both of those options don’t seem highly likely. In that case, turning to the free agent market, I wouldn’t mind Ichiro Suzuki or Torii Hunter on one year contracts, whoever takes the smaller offer.

3. Bullpen. Even with Mariano Rivera coming back, the bullpen could use some strengthening. Rafael Soriano‘s likely departure moves David Robertson into the set up role with Joba Chamberlain, David Aardsma, and Boone Logan falling in behind him. As I wrote in my post last week, the Yankees should look to figure out the ‘pen with high-reward reclamation projects like Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria.

4. Bench. If Eric Chavez wants to come back, great. Eduardo Nunez, despite my reservations, is a suitable back up RHB off the bench for the infield. As for the Andruw Jones role, well, I think it’s time to let Andruw go. I’ve liked him a lot since he’s been on the Yankees, but I think his ship has sailed. The Yanks could aim high for Scott Hairston, but coming off his strong season with the Mets, he might be able to land a starting job somewhere.

I’m fully aware very little of this will come true, but I’m okay with it. Let’s look back at this post in March and and laugh at how wrong I was. Oh, and don’t forget to do your civic duty and vote today!

5 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans

  1. Duh Innings

    Three years at $13.8-14.4M a year for Swisher? Thank heaven you’re not the Yankees GM haha. No way to three more years of Swisher. No more guys locked up long-term for eight-figures.

    Justin Upton isn’t worth giving up the three prospects it’d take to get him.

    Jake Peavy, Andy Pettitte, Joakim Soria, Torii Hunter, and Melky Cabrera for 2013 only.

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      Peavy already resigned with the White Sox.
      I’d prefer Madson to Soria, but I don’t think we’ll get either since both guys are looking to regain value and NY is not a great place to pitch.
      Melky on a 1 year deal?I think that’s a legitimate target. He’s looking to reestablish value, a lot of teams will be scared off and he likes it here, good friends with Cano and A-Rod.
      Hunter will get 2-3 years from someone, so no thanks.

    • roadrider

      Swisher’s a bargain at that price. Considering the alternatives, the Yankees would be ecstatic to get that deal. They won’t, of course. They’ll easily be outbid for Swisher even at more years and higher dollars.

    • fuster

      which three prospects isn’t Upton worth?

      Upton already is better than most any of the prospects can be…. and Upton can get a boatload better than he is.

  2. TheOneWhoKnocks

    Your fully aware very little of this will come true? Actually most of it seems exceedingly reasonable, even boring and inevitable with the exception of potentially bringing back swisher or trading for upton

    Kuroda, Andy, Martin, Ichiro will be back. They’ll probably add a reliever of some sort (anyone with decent upside that’s willing to take a 1 year deal) I don’t think they’ll get Hunter because I think some team will give him 2 years, and it won’t be us.

    Maybe Cashman makes a surprise trade, we certainly have the chips to bring in a stud if there’s something out there but for the most part I think the offseason will be about bringing back the same team from last year.
    With $189 on the mind, we’re not going to land any premier free agents, everything is going to be about keeping our flexibility open.
    If cashman does make a trade, it will be for a young cost controlled player or someone on a 1 year commitment.

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