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Notable Acquisitions: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, OF Carlos Beltran, C Brian McCann
Notable Departures: 2B Robinson Cano, OF Curtis Granderson, RP Boone Logan
It's rare to see the Yankees with so many holes to fill, but one advantage this franchise has is being able to spend money to fix any problems. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann give this lineup instant credibility.
I am skeptical about giving Carlos Beltran, who has shown notable declines in the second half of the last two years, a three-year contract. He's still playing at a solid level, but at 36 years old, time is going to catch up with him eventually.
Jacoby Ellsbury should hold most of his value for the next seven years as a plus-plus defensive center fielder with the ability to create runs on the bases with his speed. Brian McCann may not be a catcher for the next five years, but he's so consistent offensively that it's not a bad deal.
Even though everyone talks about Ellsbury's injury history, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner pointed out during Ellsbury's introductory press conference that some of those concerns may be overblown based on how the injuries happened (via MLB.com).
First of all, he's mentally tough. We know that. Second of all, a lot of the injuries, if you look at them, are freakish: running into walls, running into people, people falling on top of you. It's those kind of things. I'd be more concerned if it was a serious shoulder issue that is chronic or serious or something else that was chronic. I think he'll be fine.
I tend to agree with that, though it's not a good sign that Ellsbury's all-out style does leave him open to many of those injuries.
I do give Brian Cashman and the front office credit for not playing Robinson Cano's game and getting sucked into another 10-year contract, though his production in the middle of the order will be sorely missed.
The one glaring weakness in New York's free-agent spending spree is starting pitching. Masahiro Tanaka could be the final piece of this puzzle, which would bump the grade up to a solid A. Until then, I'm not quite sold on all the activity being good enough.