After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the New York Yankees enter a critical offseason as they look to retool and build a roster capable of leading them to a 28th World Series titles in 2014.
The Yankees have already made a significant move, signing veteran shortstop Derek Jeter to a one-year, $12 million deal. While it doesn't make the Bronx Bombers the favorite, it guarantees that they will boast unrivaled experience and leadership in the infield and clubhouse next season.
As for what's next, let's take a look at the latest buzz surrounding the Yankees' potential winter plans.
New York Eyeing Omar Infante as Potential 2B Replacement?
There's a chance that superstar second baseman Robinson Cano signs somewhere other than New York this winter, and the Yankees are well aware.
According to the New York Post's George A. King III and Ken Davidoff, sources close to the team say the Yankees have targeted free agent Omar Infante:
According to industry sources, general manager Brian Cashman has checked on second baseman Omar Infante during the period when teams and players could talk about everything but money.
The 31-year-old Venezuelan has played the past one-and-a-half seasons with the Detroit Tigers since being traded from the Miami Marlins. The 11-year veteran played in 118 regular-season games last season, batting .318 with 10 homers and 51 RBI.
As King and Davidoff point out, although Infante isn't the game-changing talent Cano is, he would come at a much cheaper price.
Brian Cashman Giving Everyone a Look?
According to the Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough, general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees will give all the big-name free agents a long look this winter:
When free agency opens on Tuesday, the Yankees intend to cast a net that stretches far and wide, including players like catcher Brian McCann, outfielder Carlos Beltran, infielder Stephen Drew and others.
The Yankees will need to add a few quality bats to the mix in order to compete in the American League East Division. Each of the other four teams in the division recorded at least 50 runs more than the Yankees did in 2013.
While improving in the bullpen is vital, New York has to be able to generate consistent offense next season if it hopes to return to the postseason.
Yankees Interested in P Masahiro Tanaka?
According to McCullough, Japanese right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is expected to depart from Nippon Professional Baseball league this winter, making him an option for interested major league teams like the Yankees.
Tanaka recently turned 25 and has been stellar since making his professional debut more than six years ago in Japan.
New York could certainly use a boost to its pitching staff, especially the starting rotation. The Yankees ranked 18th in the majors last season in team ERA (3.94) and shutouts (10). The team was also 17th in the majors in quality starts with 84.
The Yankees were much better than the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles in terms of runs allowed, but they will need to improve in order to overtake the Tampa Bay Rays and world champion Boston Red Sox in that department.
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