Predicting 5 Consequences of New York Yankees' Disappointing 2014 Season

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIISeptember 26, 2014

Predicting 5 Consequences of New York Yankees' Disappointing 2014 Season

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Missing the playoffs for the second straight year after not doing so in just over 20 years can often lead to some major consequences.

    Hopefully, the New York Yankees realize it's time to shake it up a bit.

    Now is the perfect time to look to the future. Derek Jeter has but a weekend of baseball left. Arguably the biggest icon left in baseball, Jeter won't be back in 2015. The Yankees will no longer have a face of the franchise.

    Just look around the field. Brian McCann may turn into the team's emotional leader, but no one player sticks out as the leader on and off the field. That means it's time to bring in some fresh faces who can come in and change the culture of the team.

    The Yankees have relied on older talent for far too long. A successful team is almost always a mix of young studs and reliable veterans, but the Yanks have really only been a blend of reliable veterans and unreliable veterans in the past several years.

    There will be consequences following the season, though mostly in terms of personnel. The coaching staff will likely return. Brian Cashman will likely return. Ownership isn't changing hands. It all comes down to the product on the field.

    This is a big offseason for the Yankees. It's the first transition year this team has had in quite some time, and they better take advantage of it. If they don't, it will be a harsh reality when it comes time to go into a full-on rebuild.

1. Desperation

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    This situation is unfamiliar to the Bombers. The organization hasn't faced two straight failing seasons since the early '90s. That will likely force a period of desperation.

    Offense has been the issue this season. The Yankees have played just 3.87 runs per game this season, down from the 4.01 mark they posted last year. Both of those marks are horrible.

    Lack of production from Carlos Beltran, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and others is a major factor in this regression, so one would assume that healthy seasons from Beltran and Teixeira in 2015 might give the offense a boost. While that's a possibility, it's not something the team should bank on.

    This will lead to Brian Cashman going after the best bat on the market. That bat belongs to full-time designated hitter Victor Martinez.

    There are two problems with this. For one, Martinez can no longer play the field. You can stick him at first base from time to time, but he's best suited to be a DH. Also, Martinez just had a career year at the age of 35. He'll be 36 by Opening Day.

    Martinez will likely seek a deal north of the three-year, $45 million pact Beltran inked last offseason. That's big money for someone who will be 39 by the end of the contract.

    That said, Cashman will probably bite.

    While Martinez might be OK in 2015 and possibly even 2016, 2017 is a mystery. With the way this current roster is constructed, the Yankees need to look long term—not short term.

    The Yankees need to be planning for 2016 and 2017, with 2015 used as a transition year. Signing Martinez would go against that.

2. Pack Your Bags

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    It's time for a few veterans to be shown the door.

    Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda and David Robertson have been valuable contributors over the past several seasons. Kuroda has been a de facto ace at times. Ichiro has been a valuable utility player. Robertson took over for Mariano Rivera and has been great.

    That said, transition years are times when tough decisions must be made.

    Ichiro and Kuroda are aging veterans. They are spare parts that aren't the same contributors they were two seasons ago. With both of their contracts up, the Yanks should simply thank them for their work and wish them luck in free agency.

    The last thing the Yankees need are two more 40-year-olds on their roster next season.

    Letting go of Robertson won't be easy, but the Yankees need to trust Dellin Betances. He has all the chops to be the closer, and his current contract is a ridiculous discount compared to what Robertson will seek as a free agent.

    The Yankees can afford to overpay, but it's really time to change that mentality. Instead of throwing exorbitant amounts of money on one player, they need to look to get the most value possible with that money.

    Making a play for younger free agents becomes easier when there's extra money to throw around.

    The Yankees need to get younger and trust their young talents now before it's time to really compete in a few seasons. You don't know what you have as a team until you give all the young guys a try.

3. One More Chance

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Yankees fans don't want to see Stephen Drew at shortstop in 2015, but they need to be prepared for such a scenario.

    The free-agent crop at shortstop isn't very good. Hanley Ramirez is really a third baseman at this point in his career, and J.J. Hardy will likely receive a nice offer from the Baltimore Orioles to return. That could leave the Yankees without any viable options outside of the organization.

    Drew has slashed just .155/.224/.279 with three homers and 13 RBI in 129 at-bats with the Yankees. If not for his bat, Drew does play an above-average shortstop. That said, the lack of production has been a killer.

    It's a bit deceptive, however. Fans need to remember that Drew didn't sign with the Boston Red Sox until June. He missed out on valuable spring training reps and may not have found his groove at the plate because of the unusual circumstances surrounding his lengthy offseason.

    The same occurred with Kendrys Morales, who has struggled with both the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners this year.

    With a full season under his belt in 2013 for the world champion Red Sox, Drew slashed .253/.333/.443 with 16 homers and 67 RBI. Those are good numbers for a shortstop.

    Those are also realistic expectations for 2015.

    A second chance might be in the cards for Drew, and Yankees fans should be willing to give him that shot. On a one-year deal, Drew can prove himself. If it works, then he can return in 2016. If it doesn't, then he's gone following the year.

4. Brian Cashman Will Keep His Passport Handy

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    See how well Masahiro Tanaka panned out?

    Injury scare aside, Tanaka has been worth every single penny the Yankees shelled out. It's time for the team to continue spending internationally.

    They missed out on the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes despite presumably being involved with all four free agents. Those guys have established themselves as quality major leaguers.

    There are two more international studs on the market this winter—Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas and Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda.

    Tomas will be 24 at the start of the season. He boasts great power and a good arm, making him a likely corner outfielder. Luckily, the Yankees need one with Carlos Beltran's injury woes and the need for versatility.

    He'll likely command a contract more lucrative than countryman Rusney Castillo's $72 million, but it would be a worthy price to pay.

    Maeda will be 27 in April. Relatively young compared to a few of the aces on the market (Jon Lester, James Shields and Max Scherzer), Maeda pounds the strike zone and would add another inning-eating stud to the staff.

    While not on the same level as Tanaka, Maeda would be a very good middle-of-the-rotation arm on a four-year deal.

    Getting young and trusting international scouting will help the Yankees tremendously moving forward.

5. Returning Faces

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Three free agents will likely return in 2015, and they weren't even guys that started out the 2014 campaign in pinstripes.

    We addressed the Stephen Drew situation earlier. It wouldn't be a bad move to bring him back. There's a pretty small chance the Yankees excel in 2015 given injury woes and enormous question marks up and down the roster, so devoting one year to seeing if Drew can handle shortstop full time wouldn't be horrible.

    The other two players that must return are Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy.

    Alex Rodriguez is returning to the hot corner in 2015, but who knows how many games he'll be able to go? Looking across the diamond, Mark Teixeira offers similar questions. He even said he can't be relied upon for a full season anymore.

    Headley would be a super-utility star for the Yankees. His audition this past half of the year has been successful, and the Yankees certainly shouldn't let him walk. Of course, he might seek full-time employment elsewhere. That's out of the team's hands.

    McCarthy has been the ace for much of the second half. That's shocking when you consider the fact that it only took Vidal Nuno to take him off the Arizona Diamondbacks' hands.

    With a rotation full of questions, McCarthy can provide stability. He has proven himself in the bright lights of New York, and given his previous history and age (31), he'll likely accept a two- or three-year deal.

    With the expectation of him filling the No. 4 starter's role, the Yankees might get pleasantly surprised with the results if he pitches like this again.


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