Biggest Winners and Losers from New York Yankees' Offseason
The New York Yankees have had quite the eventful offseason and have been the focal point of the winter.
Whether it is being in the headlines for signing another key free agent or losing one or having one of their players receive a season-ending suspension, the news has been plentiful.
It is safe to say the majority of the free agency has hinged on what the Yankees have been doing, and teams have had to wait for them to set the market.
The Yankees are definitely winning the headline game, but who else has come out on top, and who would like to push reset on this offseason?
Winner: Free-Agent Signings
The New York Yankees have officially started a trend for all future free-agent players.
Plan to be a free agent following the offseason when the Yankees miss the playoffs.
After the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008, they went on to spend around $425 million on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira.
The Yankees missed the playoffs again this past season and following the signing of Masahiro Tanaka, have spent $471 million on Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Tanaka.
The Yankees have only missed the playoffs twice since the strike-shortened season in 1994, and it is spending sprees like this that ensure that.
The Yankees have become accustomed to winning at all costs, and when they don't, no price is too high to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Loser: $189 Million Payroll
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Hal Steinbrenner decided it was more important to win games than to save money.
And with that the $189 million payroll threshold was knocked out for the count.
In reality, reaching that goal was a significant long shot to begin with.
The Yankees had too many holes to fill and had to pay a lot of money to fill them.
Even with the savings they are going to get from Alex Rodriguez's suspension, staying under $189 million was a pipe dream.
The Yankees have been losing money in ticket revenue over the past few seasons and part of that is in fewer playoff games.
Winning games means more money, and Steinbrenner knows that.
So while they will be dishing out money to the luxury tax, potential playoff games will return that investment immediately.
Winner: Brett Gardner
Brett Gardner has had an interesting offseason to say the least.
He watched the Yankees sign two high-profile outfielders in Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, with Ellsbury likely to take his position in center field.
Following those signings, trade rumors began to circulate, with at least six teams showing interest in Gardner according to Peter Gammons.
Gardner instantly became the Yankees' biggest bargaining chip if they needed to make a move for starting pitching.
Fortunately for Gardner, the Yankees would not budge in moving him and were able to sign Masahiro Tanaka, filling a huge hole in the rotation.
Now Gardner looks entrenched in left field, and after the Yankees avoided arbitration with him, Gardner will be playing under a new one-year deal worth $5.6 million.
The contract is nearly a $3 million dollar raise from the prior year.
Loser: Ichiro Suzuki
As much as Brett Gardner is a winner, fellow outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is the tough luck loser.
Ichiro is in the final year of his contract with the Yankees and, at age 40, is nothing more than a fourth outfielder.
With his $6 million still owed to him, he is a very expensive bench player.
Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo has speculated that the Yankees will attempt to move Ichiro to a team that will play him everyday.
His lack of production—he hit just .262 last season—will make that a difficult task.
If he stays with the Yankees, it will be a quiet end to what will surely be a Hall of Fame career.
Winner: David Robertson
Back in November general manager Brian Cashman was unsure if David Robertson could handle taking over the closer role for the New York Yankees.
Well apparently a lot has changed since November as shortly after the signing of Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner announced that Robertson would assume the closer's role to begin the season.
There may not be a harder task in all of sports to handle than being the first to replace the great Mariano Rivera.
It will be up to Robertson to step up and succeed the way his predecessor did for 16 seasons.
It is also greatly important to Robertson's financial future to pitch well since he is a free agent after the season, and this will be his best chance at earning a significant contract.
Loser: Alex Rodriguez
There isn't a bigger loser this offseason than Alex Rodriguez.
He has officially been suspended for the entire 2014 season, including the postseason for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
After losing his battle, Rodriguez turned his disdain against the union supporting him, suing MLB in hopes to get some sort of a reversal.
Now the MLB Players Association wants to kick Rodriguez out of the union and would if they could.
Rodriguez will lose out on $24 million this year due to the suspension, and now that he no longer has his own union behind him, he has lost so much more.
Winner: Michael Pineda
I picked Michael Pineda as a winner because I'm still waiting for him to throw his first pitch, and 2014 seems like the season in which that will happen.
Back in December, Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that Pineda is healthy and will compete for a spot in the rotation.
It has been a long two years waiting for this moment. He will be competing against other potential starters in David Phelps, Manny Banuelos and Vidal Nuno.
I'm sure the edge has to go to Pineda in hopes to finally see what he is made of in pinstripes.
Loser: Free-Agent Pitchers
If you are a free agent and the Yankees don't have any real interest in you because they don't have a spot for you, than you're a loser simply because you can't cash in on a Yankee contract.
If you are a free agent at a position the Yankees desperately need and they still have no interest in you, than you are a loser with a big red flag.
That is the case with every free-agent pitcher not named Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees never showed any real interest in any of the top available pitchers like Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, and Ubaldo Jimenez.
Rightfully so too, none of those pitchers provided the upside of a Tanaka and would have cost much more than they are probably worth.
Winner: Yankees Fans
The real winners are the New York Yankees fans. The team struggled for their standards last season, and the growing sense was the team needed a shake-up.
Bringing in four big-name free agents helps, as well as several new players in different positions.
Attendance was down close to 3,000 people a game last season. It is the third straight season that attendance has dropped in Yankee Stadium.
Fresh faces and a more competitive team should change that heading into 2014.
The last time the Yanks went on a spending spree, their fans were immediately rewarded with a World Series title.
Loser: AL East Teams
The biggest loser of the Yankees' offseason has to be the rest of the AL East.
Yes the Boston Red Sox are fresh off a World Series title, and like Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes states, they still have "the belt."
However, I'm sure the rest of the division would have enjoyed seeing the Yankees suffer for a little bit longer.
It's clear the Yanks do not enjoy having October's off and don't plan on repeating that tradition.
They have been the most active team in the division and are back in the discussion for a title next season.
Despite the computers saying the Yankees are only still fourth best in the division, the game isn't played on a computer but on the field.