To Re-Sign Or Not To Re-Sign: Chase Headley

Headley vs TEX

Courtesy of Getty Images

In addition to their 2 qualifying offer candidates, the Yankees have a handful of free agents to be who are either not eligible for or not worthy of QO consideration.  Some of these players could be and probably should be high priorities for the Yankees this coming offseason, and they’ll warrant serious consideration for being re-signed, especially since they don’t come with draft pick compensation attached.

Since the format for the QO case posts stimulated a lot of good debate, I think we’ll stick with that to break down the rest of these free agent cases.  First up from this list of non-QO guys is Chase Headley.  He shined in 58 games after being acquired before the trade deadline and was the first consistent above-average producer at the position for the Yanks since 2011-2012.

Case For:

  • Major Defensive Upgrade- Headley was an elite-level defensive player in 2014.  His 13 defensive runs saved was 3rd best among qualified third basemen and his 28.0 UZR/150 was tops.  
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To Qualify Or Not To Qualify: Hiroki Kuroda

Hirok vs TOR

How could anybody not want this guy back next year??? Courtesy of Getty Images

On Tuesday we weighed the cases for and against making David Robertson a qualifying offer this offseason.  Today we do the same for the other potential qualifying offer candidate, reliable right-handed starter Hiroki Kuroda.

Case For:

  • Consistent Very Good Performance- In his 3 seasons as a Yankee, Kuroda ranks 12th in MLB in IP (620.0), T-12th in BB rate (5.1%), T-20th in WHIP (1.15), and 18th in fWAR (11.0), with a 3.44/3.68/.360 slash line.
  • Consistency Within The Consistency- Made 33, 32, and 32 starts in his 3 Yankee seasons; pitched between 199-220 regular season innings in each season; had ERAs between 3.31-3.71, FIPs between 3.56-3.86, and xFIPS between 3.54-3.67 in each season; K rate between 17.8%-18.7% in each season; 11+ wins in each season; 3-year fWAR values of 3.7, 3.8, and 3.5
  • Rotation Health Questions- Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, and Nova all enter 2015 with health-related concerns.  
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To Qualify Or Not To Qualify: David Robertson

D-Rob vs DET

The look of a man who knows he’s getting paid this offseason. Courtesy of Getty Images

The League Championship Series are in the early stages, so we’re weeks away from the realistic deadline.  But with each passing game, that deadline for submitting qualifying offers draws closer.  I briefly touched on the increase of the QO price to $15.3 million last week and my plan was always to discuss the 2 top Yankee QO candidates in greater detail.  We’ll start that plan today with a look at the qualifying offer case for David Robertson.

Case For:

  • Consistent Elite Performance- One of the best relievers in MLB since 2011.  19th in IP (258.0), 5th in Strikeouts (354), 8th in K rate (34.0%), 3rd in Holds (97), 9th in FIP (2.40), 4th in fWAR (7.6).
  • Strong 2014 Season- One of the best closers in MLB this past season.  Finished T-8th in Saves (39), 10th in K rate (37.1%), T-13th in reliever fWAR (1.7).
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Sizing Up the Market: Shortstop

This off-season will represent the first time since 1995 that the Yankees will be looking for a full-time solution at shortstop. That may even be selling the transition for Derek Jeter to whomever a bit short, too, as Tony Fernandez was signed to be the team’s everyday shortstop in December of 1994, and he was pretty freaking good – at that time, he was still a strong defender with a league-average bat, which most teams would kill for at shortstop nowadays. Of course, that goes to show just how long it has been since the Yankees were faced with this sort of dilemma. To add a bit more context, in 1995 (the last of pre-Jeterian days):

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Sizing Up the Market: Third Base

Alex Rodriguez?

Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez?!

Alex. Rodriguez.

With that out of the way, it does seem as if the Yankees are already planning on going in another direction at third. And, to be perfectly blunt, it would be patently idiotic to count on a 39-year-old coming off of two hip surgeries and a calendar year-plus away from organized baseball to do much of anything, let alone man the hot corner for a would be contender. As much as it would be fun, and perhaps even deserved if we sat down and assumed that the Yankees would be so inept as to head into the season with that sort of player penciled into the Opening Day lineup, I simply cannot see that happening as of this moment – at least not at third base, or barring some sort of calamitous Spring Training injury.

The Yankees head into the off-season with a compelling free agent third baseman of their own in Chase Headley.…

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The Bachelorette, SS Edition: Drew Gets the Rose?

First of all, thanks to the gang for letting me join! I’m a native New Yorker who moved to Wisconsin and then Colorado for work (I’m a professor at U. Colorado Law School). As a Yankee fan since my first Stadium game in 1978 (when as a 4 year-old I understood almost nothing but loved the loudly chaotic “Bronx Zoo” atmosphere that grandpa was showing me at an arguably inappropriate age), I’m looking forward to chatting more with Yankee fans here.

In a feat of remarkably poor timing, I’d drafted a detailed comparison of the top SS options, Hanley Ramirez and the now-unavailable J.J. Hardy. Now the solid speculation is Stephen Drew may be the last man standing in what started out as a strong free-agent SS field, but is looking like a super-anticlimactic season of the Bachelorette, one in which the best bachelor departs mid-season for another woman, and the rest all prove underwhelming, leaving the looking-for-love starlet holding her nose in presenting the rose to the old guy who stank up their dates like Drew’s .150/.219/.271 batting line in NY.…

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Marchand Could Be On To Something With His Shortstop Theory

The Orioles and J.J. Hardy caused a bit of a stir before the start of the ALCS yesterday when they announced an agreement to a 3-year/$40 million contract extension with an option for a 4th year.  This was bad news for the Yankees, who were surely interested in Hardy as the best defensive shortstop of the potential FA pool and a guy with AL East experience.  It could also hurt them in the free agent long run.  Hardy’s new deal basically sets the market for what the rest of the top guys are going to want. with the exception of Hanley Ramirez.  He’ll get more.  But the higher the numbers get for the Lowries and Cabreras of the world in years and millions, the less likely the Yankees are going to be to pull the trigger.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN NY thinks he has it all figured out as to where the Yanks go now, and I’m inclined to agree with him.…

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Report: Yanks Don’t Have “A Serious Interest” In Yasmany Tomas

Well this isn’t good news:

“According to an industry source, the Yankees don’t appear to have a serious interest in Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas.”

This report by George King cites an anticipated price tag in the $100 million range as the primary reason for the Yanks passing on Tomas, which I don’t and will never understand.  I don’t care how much money they spent last offseason or on whom.  The Yankees still possess the greatest financial advantage over the rest of MLB and they should not be afraid to use it.  If the goal really is to put a “championship-caliber” team on the field, how can you pass on a 24-year-old with grade 70 right-handed power and a plus outfield arm?  Where is that guy in your farm system right now that allows you to say you can’t afford that player?

“What’s that?  Potentially the next Jose Abreu and we can lock him up through the best years of his prime without sacrificing a draft pick?  

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Headley And McCarthy’s Reported Interest In Returning Should Not Be Ignored

McCarthy vs KC

B-Mac says he wants to come back. Courtesy of Getty Images

With the divisional round done and the league championship series starting later this week, the time draws closer to when the Yankees can be active in the baseball world again.  Dom started laying out their list of offseason needs yesterday in preparation for the start of hot stove season, and 2 guys who will be very important in determining how those needs are addressed are Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley.  The trade deadline pickups were among the best players on the team post-acquisition.  Their performances in New York set them both up to earn pretty nice free agent paydays, and given that aforementioned list of needs, there’s a fair-to-good chance those paydays comes from the Steinbrenner checkbook.

The local media has already started covering these upcoming free agent cases and the stance coming from both Headley and McCarthy is that they would want to return to the Yankees next season.  …

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