At about this time of the year almost everybody, including me, makes an article called "10 Bold Predictions for 2012" or an article about possible trade/free agent rumors. But nobody does an article about possible moves for an entire year.
So, that is what I am going to do. I am going to discuss these possible moves for the Yankees from now until December 31, 2012. Let's see what can happen in a year.
.333/.424/.667, 1.091OPS, 33HRs, 99RBI in 90 games
The 26-year-old, if you trust his birth certificate, Cuban defector is a sensational player who can make a big impact in the majors. He recently released an amazing 20-minute video showcasing his talents, but sadly his agent removed it.
Cespedes is said to be one of the rare five-tool players, who excel at hitting for average, power, baserunning/speed, throwing ability and fielding.
If the Yankees can sign Cespedes, and he pans out he will be the steal of the offseason because he will cost only somewhere between $8 million and $10 million per year.
Projected Deal: 5 years, $45 million
152.0IP, 13-6, 2.96ERA, 1.22WHIP, 90K, 44BB
The 25-year-old righty looked like a Cy Young candidate at the All-Star break, but a knee injury shortened his season. Don't think that 2011 was Jurrjens' breakout season. In 2009 he pitched 215 innings and posted a 2.60ERA.
Mark Bowman from MLB.com reports that the Braves are shopping Jurrjens and that the Royals are the frontrunner. If the Yankees are interested, and because of their need for pitching—they are—they can steal Jurrjens for a fairly cheap package.
The Braves' biggest needs are in the outfield and at shortstop so a package will start with Nick Swisher and Eduardo Nunez. Then in order to replace Jurrjens, at least until the Braves' big pitching prospects show up, the Yankees would send over Phil Hughes.
The Braves would be getting a very good package of players while the Yankees would be getting a very good No. 2 pitcher for a fourth outfielder (if they can get Cespedes), a utility fielder and an underachieving starting pitcher.
Yankees Get: Jair Jurrjens
Braves Get: Nick Swisher, Eduardo Nunez and Phil Hughes
.324/.399/.586, .986OPS, 39HR, 126RBI, 40SB
With the news that Frank McCourt will be selling the Dodgers, this becomes less likely but I still think the Yankees will be among the frontrunners for Kemp when he hits the open market next offseason. I doubt the new owner will be able to convince Kemp to give up the opportunity to reach free agency, and Kemp has said that he will not give the Dodgers a hometown discount.
Matt Kemp is a great player who will only be 28 years old when he reaches free agency so expect a huge bidding war to break out. This gives the Yankees the edge because they have the money to sign Kemp.
In the end his talent will be too much to resist and the Yankees will offer him a deal he can't refuse.
Projected Deal: 7 years, $161 million
221.2IP, 12-11, 2.88ERA, 1.08WHIP, 179K, 63BB
Matt Cain will never be called a power pitcher but his 179Ks in 2011 are very impressive. He will also only be 28 years old when he hits the open market.
Cain has pitched at least 190 innings in the last six seasons so we know he is a workhorse, but his most impressive stat is also the most important. His 0.00ERA in 21.1 innings pitched in the playoffs. The only goal for the Yankees is winning the World Series and bringing in a pitcher with a 0.00ERA and a ring will help their rotation immensely.
Similar to Matt Kemp the Yankees will be part of a bidding war, and because they are the Yankees, they will win.
Projected Deal: 6 years, $126 million
Brett Gardner's 2011 Stats in Majors:
.259/.345/.369, .713OPS, 7HR, 36RBI, 93K, 60BB, 49SB
David Phelps' 2011 Stats in Triple-A:
114.1IP, 7-7, 2.99ERA, 1.28WHIP, 95K, 27BB
Miguel Sano's 2011 Stats in Rookie League:
.292/.352/.637, .988OPS, 20HR, 59RBI, 77K, 23BB, 5SB
Adrian Salcedo in Single-A:
135.0IP, 6-6, 2.93ERA, 1.17WHIP, 92K, 27BB
It may seem odd that the Yankees would trade Brett Gardner. But with Curtis Granderson, Matt Kemp and Yoennis Cespedes in the outfield, Gardner becomes the odd man out.
Gardner is a terror on the basepaths and has elite defense, but he is a liability at the plate and by Opening Day 2013 he will be 29 years old. At that age Gardner's value will be at an all-time high because his speed will soon start to deteriorate, along with his defense (see Carl Crawford).
In return the Yankees would get a good pitching prospect and one of the best third base prospects in the majors in Michael Sano. Sano is an 18-year-old third baseman from the Dominican Republic, just finished up his first season in Rookie League and is ranked as the No. 2 third base prospect in the majors by MLB.com. He, along with Dante Bichette Jr. and Cito Culver, would be the eventual replacements for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Yankees Get: Miguel Sano and Adrian Salcedo
Twins Get: Brett Gardner and David Phelps
C: Austin Romine
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Alex Rodriguez
LF: Yoennis Cespedes
CF: Curtis Granderson
RF: Matt Kemp
DH: Jesus Montero
No. 1 Pitcher: CC Sabathia
No. 2 Pitcher: Matt Cain
No. 3 Pitcher: Jair Jurrjens
No. 4 Pitcher: Ivan Nova
No. 5 Pitcher: Manny Banuelos
Major Bullpen Arms: Joba Chamberlain, Hector Noesi, Adam Warren, Rafael Soriano, A.J. Burnett, Dellin Betances
Closer: David Robertson
Even though the Yankees are the Yankees they do have a budget. So, do these moves make any financial sense?
Money Committed to 2013 So Far: $126.875 million
Plus Yoennis Cespedes'$9 million, Matt Kemp's $23 million and Matt Cain's $21 million
Money Now Committed to 2013: $179.875 million
Plus Arbitration for Joba Chamberlain, Jair Jurrjens, David Robertson, Ivan Nova and Austin Romine. The $30 million of excess money will pay these arbitrations plus the everybody else on the Yankees' 40-man roster.
During the 2013-14 offseason the Yankees will have to sign Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Jair Jurrjens to long-term deals if they wish to keep them. This may not seem possible because Cano will demand about $23 million a year, Granderson about $18 million a year and Jurrjens about $17 million a year.
But during the same offseason both A.J. Burnett and Rafael Soriano will become free agents, which will free up $30.5 million. That means the Yankees will only have to shell out an extra $17 million for Cano and Granderson plus whatever raise from whatever Jurrjens gets from arbitration, which won't be a $13.5 million raise.
Some of these deals may seem bold and fantasy baseball-like due to the amount of deals but if you look at them separately from each other they work, both with compensation and financially. The Yankees have made similar moves in the past, such as signing Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett back in 2008. After another disappointing season, I expect the Yankees to use the massive amounts of money coming off the books to make some big moves.