3 Players the New York Yankees Must Let Go This Offseason
It has been a rough year in the Bronx to say the least. Pitcher after pitcher has fallen victim to injury. Hitters with proven track records are putting up the worst numbers of their careers. To keep it simple, things just have not panned out for the Yankees in 2014.
That means change is coming. You can count on it.
There will surely be a handful of faces coming and going this winter. Here are three guys who are likely playing their last games in pinstripes.
Stephen Drew, 2B/SS
The Stephen Drew experiment has not been a good one.
The Yankees acquired Drew, a natural shortstop, from the Boston Red Sox on July 31 in the hopes that he would be an upgrade over Brian Roberts at second base. At the same time, the free-agent-to-be would audition for a shortstop position that will be left vacant when Derek Jeter retires at year's end.
It's now September, and Drew is batting .167 on the year and just .151 as a Bronx Bomber. His six home runs and 21 runs batted in leave much to be desired as well.
In Drew's defense, he did miss a good portion of the season after failing to sign a contract in free agency, but the 31-year-old has had an ample amount of time to get his feet wet.
Yes, Drew is a better player than his current numbers would suggest, but he is also not the guy to take over for The Captain—especially when free agents like Hanley Ramirez, J.J. Hardy, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie will be available at various costs.
The Yankees will have plenty of options when it comes to picking Jeter's successor. Drew should not be one of them.
Hiroki Kuroda, SP
Kuroda has been a solid member of the Yankees' rotation for the past three years. In fact, he is the only member of this year's original staff to not wind up on the disabled list.
With that said, it will be time for Kuroda to go following the 2014 season.
The Yankees will head into 2015 with an abundance of pitchers under team control, including Shane Greene and Michael Pineda. Guys like Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka will automatically be penciled into the rotation if/when they are healthy, but those concerns mean there has to be some flexibility in the rotation.
It would also be nice to retain Brandon McCarthy in free agency or bring in an established ace like Jon Lester, James Shields or Max Scherzer.
Given Kuroda's age (39) and expiring contract, he will likely be the odd man out in 2015.
If the Yankees are lucky, Kuroda will make the tough decision for them. As Newsday's Anthony Rieber notes, rumors of him retiring and going back to his native Japan have been swirling since he first came to the Yankees.
Should he decide that this year is his last in the majors, New York would consider it perfect timing.
Chase Headley, 3B
No one wants to see Alex Rodriguez back, but it is probably going to happen.
Regardless of who the better option is—it's Headley—the Yankees will have no need to retain Headley's services with the disgraced slugger back on the field.
While the contract the former Padre will command in free agency will be nowhere near what it could have been a few years ago, it will still be too much for the Yankees to sensibly make a run at him.
Despite declining offensive offensive numbers since his breakout 2012 campaign, Headley will still likely get a multiyear deal that will pay him an average annual salary between $8-10 million.
While Headley has not had much of an impact on the offense—he has just 11 RBI as a Yankee—the team will surely miss his defense. Rodriguez certainly won't be providing the same range as Headley following a year away from the game and two hip surgeries.
Fair or not, with the money A-Rod is making, the Yankees are going to play him. That, along with the fact that the the versatile Martin Prado is under contract, means there is no room for Headley.
All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com and are accurate as of the end of play on September 2, 2014.
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