Previewing the Free-Agent Names New York Should Be Chasing This Offseason

Anthony Maimone@@amaimone4Featured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2013

Previewing the Free-Agent Names New York Should Be Chasing This Offseason

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    The New York Yankees have one more game against the lowly Houston Astros before they can officially turn the page on the 2013 MLB season.

    A win would complete a sweep of the Astros and give the Yankees a final record of 85-77.

    Anything short of winning the World Series is considered a failure of a season in Yankee land, but with the circumstances this team faced all year, New York has reason to be proud.

    Regardless, for the first time since their big free -agency splash before the 2009 season, the Yankees have a chance to overhaul their team in the offseason.

    They will devote a fair amount of time on attempting to re-sign Robinson Cano, but there is the chance the Yankees say no thanks.

    If that happens, and with the potential of no Alex Rodriguez on the books for next season alongside a slew of other New York free agents, the Yankees should be major players heading into the free-agent marketplace.

    They should be involved in many of the top free-agent conversations as they attempt to fill several holes going into the 2014 season.

1. Edward Mujica, RP

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    For the first time since 1997, the Yankees will be in search of a new closer.

    In all likelihood, they will give the first crack to David Robertson to take over the reins.

    But that doesn't mean they shouldn't have a backup plan.

    The market this offseason will be full of past closers looking for new jobs, but New York should keep a close eye on Edward Mujica of the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Taking over the closer role early in the 2013 season, he has helped to lead Cardinals to the top record in the National League.

    He struggled a bit in September to alter his season numbers, but even with those troubles, he is posting a WHIP of 1.005.

    The Yanks will watch him closely to see how he handles the postseason. A strong showing could entice the Yankees further, as postseason success is what they have been spoiled with at the closer position for years.

2. Jhonny Peralta, SS/3B

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    Prior to his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, Jhonny Peralta was playing at an All-Star level for the Detroit Tigers.

    He is now back with the Tigers and getting ready to help them in the playoffs, but that is where his time with the team will end.

    Due to his suspension, the Tigers traded for Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox and are set at the position for years.

    The Yankees, however, are not set at either shortstop or third base, which are the positions that Peralta is comfortable playing.

    With Derek Jeter's health a question and Alex Rodriguez more than likely being suspended, getting a veteran who can play both positions would be a great benefit.

    Add to the fact that Peralta also has postseason experience, and he is an enticing player to bring on board for a couple of seasons while more permanent options develop. 

3. Brian McCann, C

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    Brian McCann might be the least likely on this list to actually sign with the Yankees, but he might be the player they need the most.

    The Yankees have gotten nothing offensively out of their catcher position for two years now. At least when they had Russell Martin they had some leadership behind the plate.

    This past season, the position was a disaster for the Yankees and a big reason for their offensive woes.

    McCann would fix all of that in a flash. He has only hit than 20 homers in a season once in his career. In addition, he consistently calls a brilliant game for one of the top rotations in the league.

    Most importantly. he is a player who stands up for his teammates and what's right.

    He is exactly the type of guy that this "new team" needs going forward. 

    Yes, he will be expensive, as most power-hitting catchers are. The Yankees often don't spend their money on the position.

    But something has to give, and if they can close the deal on McCann for four years, paying him a pretty penny will have its rewards.

4. Ervin Santana, SP

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    Andy Pettitte is retiring. Hiroki Kuroda may very well follow suit. Phil Hughes is not going to be re-signed.

    Plain and simple, the Yankees are going to need starting pitchers this offseason.

    One of the starters they should target comes with some risk.

    Ervin Santana rebounded from a dreadful 2012 campaign to put himself in a much better situation heading into free agency. He will be 31 when the season starts and will be looking for a four-year deal minimum.

    He represents an "if-the-price-is-right" player for the Yankees, but they should consider him. He has pitched at an All-Star level and just posted the best ERA of his career.

    2012 should be in mind when the Yankees are making a deal, but it shouldn't scare them off from what could be a good bargain.

5. Matt Garza, SP

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    Matt Garza should be high on the Yankees' free-agent list this offseason.

    He is the top available pitcher on the market, and the Yankees will be in dire need of starting pitching.

    The Yanks have flirted in the past with acquiring Garza. This time around, they should just pull the trigger.

    Not often do you hear a pitcher say he wants to pitch in the AL East, but Garza has had excellent success there while a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. He has a sub-4 career ERA against every team in the AL East outside of the Yankees.

    He will cost the Yankees a good amount, but the best part of signing him is that he is not eligible for a qualifying offer.