New York Yankees: Winter Meetings Overview According to Total Player Rating

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New York Yankees: Winter Meetings Overview According to Total Player Rating
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Are they looking for Jeter's replacement?

The Yankees have been conspicuously quiet this week. They won the rights to negotiate with Hiroyuki Nakajima, but since he plays in the middle infield, he likely won't be a factor for awhile. Otherwise, the Yankees have done nothing and have been in very few significant rumors.

Of course, this is usually when they come out of nowhere to do something big. Listening to Brian Cashman these days is interesting. He is more serene than he has ever been.

It seems he is finally commanding the ship and he is preaching patience. They brought back both Nick Swisher and Freddy Garcia. In most seasons, they would be rioting in the streets.

 

Infield

Two things have happened that are of extreme significance in New York.

First, the posting on Nakajima might be the first admission that the end is near for Derek Jeter. It pains me to say he was a negative impact player this past season. His power is nearly gone and he has been a poor defensive shortstop for most of his career.

That kind of statement is sacrilege in the Bronx, but you don't win when you aren't honest with yourself.

Robinson Cano is one of the best hitters in baseball and takes a backseat to no one at second base. He might share the front seat with Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia, but there is no shame in saying that.

Mark Teixeira had an usually unlucky season in the BABIP department. He hit under .250 on balls in play which points to a rebound. Add 50 points on his average and you are looking at another Adrian Gonzalez.

Russell Martin and Jesus Montero will get time behind the dish and at DH respectively. That means the Jorge Posada era is over in New York. That would be the second significant event.

Montero represents new blood and possibly a bump in offensive production. Martin was solid defensively and had enough punch to contribute at the bottom of the order.

Nick Laham/Getty Images
Tex is due for a bounce back season.

Finally, there is A-Rod. Rodriguez struggled with injuries last season and didn't drive in 100 runs for the first time since he became a regular in Seattle. If he bounces back to career norms, it will point to the Yankees as the best offense in the American League.

 

Outfield

Brett Gardner was robbed when it came to the Gold Glove award. In terms of runs earned above average, he was the most valuable fielder in all of baseball. That's every position folks.

The margin was not even particularly close. He has also grown into a solid offensive player. He is an unsung hero outside of New York, but in New York the fans love him and for good reason.

Curtis Granderson blossomed this past season into an MVP candidate. He isn't quite the defensive player or speed threat they thought they were getting, and Cindy Crawford has that mole. When you hit 40 or more home runs at a premium defensive position you don't ask too many questions.

Swisher is a beleaguered man in New York. He has done nothing to deserve it, but fans keep talking about signing Carlos Beltran to upgrade the position. Swisher will do just fine, but Yankees fans are a greedy lot. Thankfully, Cashman doesn't give into public pressure.

 

Starting Rotation

The rotation is the one spot where there is more disconnect between the fans and the front office. Fans are clamoring for anyone still available on the free-agent market, but Cashman is staying calm. He feels good about Ivan Nova and Garcia, and feels really good about Phil Hughes coming back healthy.

Leon Halip/Getty Images
The coaches robbed Gardner of a Gold Glove.

No one feels good about A.J. Burnett, but there is little that can be done at this point. The funny thing about Burnett is that he isn't a complete disaster. Complete disasters are almost easier to take. He comes in and out without much rhyme or reason.

Bartolo Colon could return, but otherwise they likely aren't going to move much.

CC Sabathia flirted with free agency for awhile and that departure would have shaken the Yankees down to their core. Instead, he came back for what is now the most lucrative pitching contract in baseball. I can't fault it too much, he is good for 220 innings and about 20 wins every year.

 

Bullpen

Mariano Rivera is an anomaly. The rule is that you shouldn't trust closers long-term. Most closers that are dominant today won't be dominant five years from now.

Someone could predict that Rivera would be dominant five years from now and not be laughed from the room. He gives you the feeling that he could do this for as long as he wants to, but probably won't.

Funny, the Yankees have done all kinds of things to prepare for that day. They developed Joba Chamberlain and didn't use him as a starter exclusively. Yo-yoing might have led to his Tommy John surgery. Then, they signed Rafael Soriano to a three-year deal. He didn't pitch well.

For two years in a row, David Robertson has been brilliant. He is the heir apparent and he has had less fanfare than anyone. Go figure.

The rest of the pen is decent enough. Cory Wade was OK in middle relief. Soriano wasn't bad either after a horrible first month. So, the Yankees appear to be OK here as well.

 

The Rest of the Winter Meetings

The Yankees never have to do anything, but this season they seem to believe it. This puts them in a good position as they can listen and act accordingly. If they go home making no changes, it will not be a shock and it definitely won't be the end of the world.

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