Who Makes the Most Sense for the New York Yankees to Pursue This Winter?
The New York Yankees shouldn't be thinking about free agency or even past their next game—and neither should the seven other teams playing for the World Series.
But there are still 22 other teams in professional baseball, and the fact remains that after the World Series, free agency is Major League Baseball’s next big event.
Free agency creates that certain buzz that baseball fans crave after only a few months of no baseball.
Who will sign where? What teams will let longtime veterans go? Which team will make that blockbuster move?
All of these questions and more will be answered this winter.
But with the regular season over and the postseason in full swing, most Yankees fans have a good grasp on what positions will need a change next season.
So who makes the most sense for New York to go after this winter?
First off, signing Russell Martin makes the most sense.
It isn’t a secret that Martin struggled offensively this year, and in fact his struggles were well documented throughout the season.
During the regular season, the Ontario native had career lows in batting average (.211) and on-base percentage (.311) and struck out a career high 95 times.
Would you bring back Russell Martin?
But there a few things that make Martin very appealing to Brian Cashman and the New York front office.
The Yankees' leaders have let their intentions of cutting the payroll to avoid the MLB luxury tax well known, and a contract for Martin wouldn’t hinder that goal.
Martin has made $7.5 million dollars this season, ranking him 12th on New York’s team payroll, $15.5 million cheaper than Minnesota’s Joe Mauer.
Adding to this relatively cheap price, the free agency market for catchers isn’t exactly enticing this off season.
Although Martin has struggled offensively, his defense makes up for it. In his career, Martin has thrown out 30 percent of baserunners.
Most importantly though, Martin is a proven warrior. He played in 133 of 162 regular season games this year, and has handled a diverse pitching staff well.
This is a guy the Bombers need to keep in pinstripes.
Martin isn't the only guy the Yankees need to pursue though.
Acquiring B.J. Upton would be another great move for Cashman to make.
Let's face it, we all love Nick Swisher. His intoxicating personality has made him a fan favorite in the Bronx almost instantaneously.
But after this season, Swisher’s contract is up and he is rumored to be asking for a “Jason Werth-like contract.”
This is why Upton makes the most sense.
Upton is a little younger than Swisher (who is 31), and has a little more power (28 home runs) and a lot more speed (31 stolen bases) than Swisher.
Not to mention Upton’s defensive skills are also very strong. His career fielding percentage is .989, and this past season Upton committed only three errors.
Although Upton will most definitely be looking for an upgrade from his current contract of $7 million, odds are that he will not find many suitors looking to pay double that.
Don't be surprised though if the Yankees again decide not to make any big splashes in free agency.
Cashman seems to be looking to really build up New York’s farm system and rely on younger players, rather than expensive veterans.
Without the Boss manning the team, Yankee fans will need to get used to quiet winters.
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