New York Yankees: How Well Did Brian Cashman Do at the Winter Meetings?
There were plenty of rumors coming out of the Winter Meetings with the Bombers being linked to several players, but no deals were made.
Let's take a look at some of those rumors, as well as the players the Yanks missed out on.
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Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com gave the details of the offer:
After remaining quiet on the free-agent front for the first few days of the winter meetings, the New York Yankees made some noise on the last day with a one-year, $12 million offer to third baseman Kevin Youkilis, sources said.
You have to love this move if you are a Yankees fan, despite Youkilis' history as a member of the hated Red Sox.
Youkilis got off to a rough start in 2012 after problems with his manager, Bobby Valentine. Whatever you want to chalk those problems up to, there's no doubt that once he left Boston, Youkilis was a much better player.
With the Chicago White Sox, Youk hit .236 with 15 homers and 46 RBI in 80 games. By comparison, Youkilis hit only four homers and 14 RBI in his first 42 games with Boston.
Youkilis might not be the player he once was, but he would be a perfect fit for replacing A-Rod to start the season. He'll be well protected in the Yanks' solid lineup, so his offensive numbers could come up, especially playing at Yankee Stadium.
When Rodriguez does return, Youkilis can play both corner infield positions and even has a bit of experience as an outfielder. Clearly, Youkilis won't be done once A-Rod comes back, so this move makes all the sense in the world for the Yankees to pull the trigger on.
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Another option the Yanks are looking at to temporarily replace A-Rod is Mark Reynolds, who spent the 2012 season with New York's division rival, the Baltimore Orioles.
This one comes from Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:
According to a source, the Yankees met with Reynolds' agent on Wednesday -- Cashman's latest attempt to navigate a third-base market that the GM has called "a very limited sandbox to play in."
Reynolds is a nice fit for the Bombers, much like Youkilis would be. The former Oriole and Arizona Diamondback hit .221 with 23 homers and 69 RBI in Baltimore last season.
While he would be just another all-or-nothing hitter in the Bombers' order, Reynolds can play both corner infield positions and has enough power to take the designated hitter spot when needed. That will ensure he plays regularly long after A-Rod returns.
Reynolds also has the kind of power that can replace A-Rod's production while he's out, and those offensive numbers are likely to increase upon playing in the homer-happy Yankee Stadium.
The Yanks know full well what Reynolds is capable of after he dominated them last season, so not having to worry about Reynolds on an opposing team in 2013 is certainly appealing.
Cody Ross has been one of the names we've heard about during the winter meetings and could fill the void in right field for the Bombers after Nick Swisher leaves town.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com let us in on the Yanks' interest in Ross, another former Red Sox player:
According to a source, the Yankees have shown interest in free agent outfielder Cody Ross and requested his medical information earlier this week.
It appears that the Yanks are not sold on keeping Ichiro Suzuki as their man in right field next season and that is most likely a result of the Yanks desire to put some power in that position. With the potential for Ichiro and Brett Gardner as everyday corner outfielders, Cashman might feel he needs more offense.
Ross had a great season with the Rex Sox in 2012, hitting 22 home runs with 88 RBI while sporting a .267 average. Those numbers would be the most ideal replacement for Swisher's production last season and are very similar to the former Yankee outfielder's numbers in 2012.
Defensively, Ross couldn't be any worse than Swisher, who never really amounted to a great outfielder by any means. On top of that, Ross has proven he can play well in a pressure-packed market like New York as the outfielder had great success in another tough market, Boston.
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Trade rumors have also swirled around the Bombers and three of last year's starters could be involved.
Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com gave us a list of Yankees players who could be available as the winter moves forward (via Twitter):
Yankees are listening to offers on Granderson, Hughes and Nova— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) December 6, 2012
It doesn't surprise anyone that the Bombers are looking to shop Granderson. The Yanks center fielder did produce a ton for the team last season, but his depressing .232 average and ineptitude in the playoffs is apart of the Bombers' problems.
Granderson only has one year on his current deal as a result of the Yanks picking up his option, so any team trading for him isn't making a long-term commitment to land the slugger and will have a test drive before making a decision on his future.
The Bombers could get a nice haul of prospects in return for Granderson if they find the right team to send him to. Also, Granderson would give the Bombers some payroll relief for the 2013 season, making them more flexible to go after free agents or midseason trades.
Despite a dreadful start to the 2012 season, Hughes ended up finishing strong and established himself as a solid starting option for the Yankees. While he hasn't turned out to be the stud the Yanks once hoped, he is still an attractive commodity for any team looking for starting pitching.
Hughes will be a free agent in 2014, so that will weigh on the minds of teams looking to deal for the 26-year-old, but a long-term deal could easily lock Hughes up before then should a team be inclined to make such a move.
Cashman may figure that Hughes' stock will never be higher than it is now, so pulling the trigger could make sense here. It will all depend on what the Yanks can get in return and it isn't clear exactly what Cashman is looking for here.
A year after asserting himself as one of the best young pitchers in the game, Nova had a huge downfall in 2012 that has raised doubts about his viability moving forward.
So it really isn't a surprise that the Yanks are shopping him, but it doesn't really make sense. Nova's stock is about as low as it will ever be at this point in his career, so a return won't be much.
I know there is a high price for young pitching nowadays, but Nova's bad 2012 season doesn't qualify as a high-price commodity for teams looking for pitching. The Yanks would be better served giving Nova another season in the big leagues in the hopes that he either rebounds to his 2011 form, or he pitches well enough to get a solid return in a trade.
Swings and Misses
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The Yankees did have other options that dried up before they offered Youkilis a deal, and inquired about Reynolds.
Per SI.com, the Bombers had a crack at Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger, with the Yanks coming up short in both instances.
On Wednesday afternoon, the White Sox agreed to terms with free agent Jeff Keppinger via a three-year deal worth around $12 million, while the Diamondbacks signed Eric Chavez to a one-year deal worth $3 million Both pieces of news are blows to the Yankees, for they take potential solutions to their temporary third base void off the board in the wake of Monday’s revelation that Alex Rodriguez could be out until June after undergoing surgery next month to repair a torn left hip labrum.
Keppinger had a great season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. The former Rays infielder hit .325 with nine homers and 40 RBI, his best season by far. Keppinger would have been perfect for the Bombers as he has the ability to play both corner infield positions, as well as second base.
It isn't clear why Keppinger went to Chicago instead, whether money or playing time, but this is a move that Cashman missed out on.
Chavez was tremendous for the Bombers last season, hitting .281 with 16 homers and 37 RBI in a reserve role. During the biggest chunk of time in A-Rod's absence, Chavez carried the team offensively with a monster month of August.
This will likely be the biggest loss for the Bombers should they not find an equal replacement. Chavez is one of the few guys the Bombers can bring off the bench with the ability to match A-Rod's production and give them starter-quality play.