The MLB playoffs are in full swing, but a plethora of rumors have already started to swirl weeks before the start of the offseason.
Not surprisingly, a vast majority of the rumors are about teams currently not participating in the playoffs. While those teams focus on winning the World Series, the rest are left to focus on the future.
Several organizations face tough choices ahead. Deciding to blow up a team and rebuild is never an easy decision, even if it is for the best in most cases. Choosing when to go with a veteran free agent over a talented rookie or youngster is also a decision that general managers struggle to make.
There may not be a ton of big-name free agents available this offseason, but rest assured that big moves will be made. They just may take some time to develop.
New York Yankees Losing Free Agents?
The New York Yankees are one of those teams that are reluctant to rebuild, even though this year's free agency could be prompting them to do so.
The team's two biggest free agents, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, could be on the move as well. Even with strong efforts to retain them, the Yankees could still lose them to other clubs.
Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago-Sun Times reports that the Chicago White Sox will work toward signing Granderson to a long-term deal. Granderson, a native of the area, could be intrigued by the thought of playing close to home.
Cano could also find himself playing elsewhere, though it won't be with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dodgers owner Magic Johnson says they won't pursue him, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
According to ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says the team won't be offering a 10-year commitment to Cano, so it remains to be seen which teams will be willing to go that far. Steinbrenner did say, however, that he plans on making Cano a "very solid offer."
If Granderson and Cano leave, then it's probably best if the Yankees look to young players at those positions and try to rebuild.
Joe Girardi and the Great Managerial Sweepstakes
The Yankees could also be without Joe Girardi in 2014, as The Star-Ledger reports that the manager is "torn" between the Yankees and his hometown Chicago Cubs. This comes on the heels of a report from George A. King III of the New York Post saying that the Cubs will likely outbid the Yankees for Girardi's managerial skills.
Girardi has been a hot topic of discussion this offseason. The Yankees, Cubs and Washington Nationals have been linked to his services per Jay Jaffe of SI.com, and the Seattle Mariners say they will not pursue him to replace Eric Wedge, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. The Cincinnati Reds are also without a manager, though no names have been linked to the position just yet.
Whoever lands Girardi will be happy to have a World Series- and NL Manager of the Year-winning manager at the helm.
It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Girardi will be torn between loyalties to the Yankees and hometown loyalties in the end.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 5:25 p.m. ET
MLB on Twitter reports the Yankees and Girardi have reached an agreement on a new four-year contract:
BREAKING: @Yankees re-sign manager Joe Girardi to 4-year contract through 2017 season.— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2013
---End of update---
Brian McCann Will Be Highly Sought After
Brian McCann is the best free-agent catcher available and, as such, will be highly coveted by teams looking to improve behind the dish.
The Atlanta Braves could turn to Evan Gattis to assume full-time catching duties, thus making McCann expendable. The Braves could very well look to bring him back and use Gattis in a similar role to how he was used in 2013 as well. Heyman thinks that situation is unlikely, however.
enjoyed talking w/brian mccann yest. great brave but fait accompli he'll be elsehwere in '14. gattis, bethancourt & budget— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) September 11, 2013
The Yankees, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays are all teams with holes behind the dish that could look to McCann for an upgrade, as Anthony DiComo of MLB.com points out. Pure speculation on my part, but the Tampa Bay Rays could also show interest if they aren't confident in the duo of Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton.
With not many high-profile free agents on the market this offseason, signing the quality veterans available will be the difference between a good and bad offseason. If McCann is really leaving Atlanta, then teams in need of a catcher need to sign him.
There aren't too many viable options after him.