New York Yankees: 5 Moves That They Will Regret Not Making This Offseason
The New York Yankees' offseason is normally one filled with a flurry of moves, deals and decisions, often rendering portions of their roster unrecognizable from season to season. However, this offseason, the Yankees remained relatively quiet and made little change to their roster at all.
The Yankees could regret staying so quiet this offseason, as age, free agency and ineffectiveness have left gaping holes at certain positions such as catcher and outfield.
Ahead are the top five moves the Yankees will regret making (or not making) this offseason.
5. Paying $12 Million for Kevin Youkilis
After the news of Alex Rodriguez's potentially season ending injury, the Yankees replaced him by signing Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract. Haunted by nightmares of the 2007 Red Sox, Brian Cashman and the Yankees must have been thrilled to bring Youkilis to the other side of the rivalry.
While Youkilis will provide a solid right-handed bat in a very lefty-heavy lineup (five of nine projected starters are left handed), he is not the middle of the order force that he once was.
Youkilis has failed to hit above .258 since 2010 (and hit .235 last season), has failed to top 20 home runs since 2009 and posted a career low in OBP last season at .336 (his previous career low was .367 in his rookie season).
The addition of a veteran right-handed bat will prove valuable, but for $12 million, Brian Cashman better hope that at least a shadow of the Youkilis who terrorized the Yankees late in the 2000s is still in there.
4. Not Exploring a Trade for Justin Upton
The loss of Nick Swisher to the Indians this offseason through free agency left a big power gap in right field as the Yankees will lose 24 home runs and 93 RBIs. His everyday at bats have effectively been handed to Brett Gardner, who is one of the weakest power threats in all of baseball.
When he found out that Arizona was shopping five-tool talent Justin Upton, Brian Cashman should have jumped at the opportunity to acquire the 25 year old star. Instead, Cashman never took the idea seriously and chose to hold on to his top prospects.
In the meantime, Frank Wren swung a deal for Upton without giving up any of his top eight prospects according to Baseball America.
The package was centered around rookie pitcher Randall Delgado, who proved to be ineffective in just 92 innings last season, posting a 4.37 ERA.
Cashman could have explored a package centered around top prospect Gary Sanchez that would have looked more attractive than the Braves package that included mid-level prospects and Delgado. However, we will never know because Cashman failed to explore the deal.
3. Failing to Find a Reliable Power Bat as a Fourth Outfielder or DH
One of the Yankees strengths last season was the hitting available off of their bench. They could run Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez or Andruw Jones out to DH on any given day or play Chavez at a corner infield spot and Jones and Ibanez at corner outfield spots.
Chavez was stellar in limited time, hitting .281 with 16 home runs and posting an .845 OPS in 278 at bats. While splitting time, Jones and Ibanez combined for 617 at bats, 33 home runs and 96 RBIs. All three players are gone this season and their replacements are unproven to say the least.
In the outfield, the Yankees signed Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz to minor league contracts, while hoping that Eduardo Nunez can field well enough to warrant a major league roster spot for his bat. None of those players have proven capable in recent years of putting up run production numbers like the Yankee bench last season.
The sole hope is Travis Hafner, signed to a one year contract with incentives. If healthy, Hafner has one of the best left handed power swings in baseball and could thrive at Yankee Stadium. From 2004-2007, Hafner averaged 32 home runs, 102 RBIs and a .296 batting average while posting a ,976 OPS.
However, injuries have plagued Hafner for five years and he has failed to log 400 at bats since 2007. The Yankees will surely regret failing to sign any sure-thing replacements to adequately fill in for their lost bench production from last season.
2. Failing to Find a Proven Starting Catcher
Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli have combined for nine home runs in their entire careers. That amounts to a total of 841 at bats. Russell Martin, who has departed to the Pittsburgh Pirates, hit 21 last season alone.
Neither Stewart nor Cervelli has proven capable of handling everyday starting catching duties, mostly due to their ineptitude with the bat. Stewart is a career .217 hitter and Cervelli at best is a singles hitter at the major league level, compiling 28 total extra base hits in his 490 at bat major league career.
Especially coupled with the lack of offense in the outfield with Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones no longer on the roster, the expected decrease in offense at catcher will be a major blow to the Yankees. Brian Cashman will surely regret not finding a better replacement for Martin.
1. Failing to Sign Robinson Cano to a Long-Term Deal
The Yankee core is aging. The Yankees have only one bat in the middle of their lineup under the age of 34, Robinson Cano. Cano has evolved from an enigma with talent to a perennial MVP candidate with 30 home run power and the ability to win a batting title, all while playing gold glove defense at second base.
Cano will be a free agent after this season and the end of his contract could not come at a worse time, as owner Hal Steinbrenner has put a payroll limit on the Yankees. In free agency, Cano will command superstar money and his agent, Scott Boras, has always been known to milk teams for every dollar they have.
The Yankee second baseman will probably demand a contract of seven or more years with an annual salary upwards of $20 million. The Yankees generally don't talk contract extensions on existing contracts, but need to lock up Cano before free agency to avoid the market driving his price up even more.
The Yankees have reportedly begun to talk to Boras about an extension, but the talks are still preliminary. They will still have Cano this season, but if they fail to lock him up, losing him next offseason could be crippling to the foundation of their lineup.