1 Sleeper Free-Agent Target for the Yankees at Every Position of Need

Gary Phillips@@GPhillips2727Contributor IINovember 21, 2014

1 Sleeper Free-Agent Target for the Yankees at Every Position of Need

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    After not making the playoffs for the second year in a row, it is clear the New York Yankees will have to make some moves this winter if they intend to compete in 2015.

    It's the Yankees, so you know that is exactly what their intentions are.

    This is a talented free-agent class, headlined by players such as Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields, Pablo Sandoval, Nelson Cruz and Hanley Ramirez. All of these guys are sure to cash in this offseason when the time comes for them to sign a new contract.

    The race to sign these players and others will be a competition among countless teams. With needs at shortstop, third base and in the rotation, the Yankees may just have to get creative when it comes time to decide who it is they are going to bring in.

Starting Pitcher: Francisco Liriano

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Lester, Scherzer and Shields are going to command a lot of years and a lot of money. With CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka already making big-time money in the rotation, the Yankees may choose to avoid such a deal.

    That means they might prefer a more short-term, cost-efficient pitcher. One possibility could be Francisco Liriano

    Liriano, of course, is not coming to the Bronx on a one-year deal. He has had two back-to-back seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he was rather solid, posting a 23-18 record with a 3.20 ERA in that span. Is that top-of-the-rotation stuff like the guys above? Absolutely not, but certainly good enough to be an anchor in the back of New York's rotation.

    Based on the contracts of Ubaldo Jimenez, Ricky Nolasco, Matt Garza and Jason Vargas, Liriano deserves to get a contract somewhere in the $35-$50 million dollar range, say over three or four years.

    Other Sleepers: Jason Hammel, Justin Masterson, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Brett Anderson.

Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera

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    Todd Kirkland/Associated Press

    In the wake of Derek Jeter's retirement, the Yankees have been linked to just about every shortstop on the open market or thought to be available via trade.

    One guy that has not garnered as much attention from them as one would think is Asdrubal Cabrera.

    A 29-year-old who can also play second, Cabrera comes with plenty of concerns. Consistency has been a huge issue of his. Since belting 25 homers and 92 RBI in 2011, Cabrera has yet to surpass 16 dingers and 68 RBI in a single season since then. It is those inconsistencies that will make him a bargain compared to others.

    At a relatively young age, it is not too late for Cabrera to get back on track, not that his 14 home runs and 61 RBI last season were not productive. He also plays solid defense, making him far from the worst pickup the Yanks could make at shortstop.

    Other Sleepers: Jed Lowrie, Stephen Drew.

Third Base: Hanley Ramirez

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The search for a shortstop has linked the Yankees to Hanley Ramirez as well, but what if he were brought in to play third base?

    The idea has hardly been discussed, if at all, but it makes plenty of sense. Ramirez has not played third since 2012, but his defensive skills at this point in his career have some baseball minds, including Fox Sports 1's C.J. Nikowski, thinking he should give up short in favor of the hot corner.

    The Yankees also have no hopes of Alex Rodriguez playing third, meaning their other options at the position are Martin Prado or re-signing Chase Headley. Offensively speaking, Han-Ram would give the Yankees more production than any of those guys. He is just going to be costly, say $100 million or so.

    It is not the most radical idea—just the most expensive. If the Yankees want to boost their offensive numbers at the position, Ramirez could be a creative way to go.

    Other Sleepers: Emilio Bonifacio.

    All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com.

    Question or comments? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @GPhillips2727 to talk New York Yankees and Major League Baseball.