Assessing Likelihood the Yankees Sign Top 3 Remaining Free-Agent Targets
It is Thanksgiving, which means the holiday season is in full swing.
With Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez both going to Boston and a few other free agents already signed, it is clear that baseball's offseason is well underway as well. Rumors are swirling and whispers are making their way across the league about which teams are after certain players.
However, one team has been unusually quiet: the New York Yankees.
It has been two seasons since the Yanks made the playoffs, and their roster is in serious need of some help, so you know that New York is bound to have an eventful winter. The question is, who are they going to get and when?
Keeping in mind that there is still plenty of time left in the baseball offseason, take a look at how likely it is the Yankees land a few guys they could really use.
Jon Lester, SP
The Yankees could really use a guy like Jon Lester. What team would not want an ace who consistently gives his team 200 innings pitched, double-digit wins and has a sparkling postseason resume?
While Max Scherzer is arguably the most talented free-agent pitcher available, Lester is the one who is the complete package. He has the skill and mindset needed for baseball in a high-pressure city and plenty of October baseball experience. That, and he should come at a relatively cheaper cost than Scherzer.
The problem is the Yankees are not thought to be serious players for his services at this time. Speaking on his Kap and Haugh radio show (via CSNChicago.com), David Kaplan said the Chicago Cubs have already offered the 30-year-old lefty a six-year contract that's "north of $135 million." The Boston Red Sox recently proposed a reunion of sorts, offering their former star a deal in the $110-$120 million range, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Kaplan also says the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants are in the mix. Longtime baseball insider Peter Gammons tweeted that the Yankees could be be a dark horse in the Lester sweepstakes, but that has been the most the two sides have been linked so far.
Verdict: It seems unlikely at the moment.
Chase Headley, 3B
Chase Headley proved to be a solid all-around player for the Yankees after the team acquired him from the San Diego Padres prior to the trade deadline.
His bat was average—certainly not the worst to grace the Yankees' putrid 2014 offense—and his glove work at third base was phenomenal. Most importantly, he apparently enjoyed his time in New York, according to Jon Heyman. With a returning Alex Rodriguez a question mark to end all question marks at the hot corner, the Yankees appear to be seriously considering bringing Headley back.
The question is at what cost.
No one was happier to see Pablo Sandoval sign for five years and $95 million than Headley, who now becomes the top third baseman on the market. Heyman reports that the Yankees are willing to go up to three years to retain Headley's services, but there could very well be better options out there.
Verdict: Dwindling by the day.
Max Scherzer, SP
People thought Max Scherzer was crazy when he turned down a six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Detroit Tigers this past spring training. Heading into a walk year, the 30-year-old decided to bet on himself.
What a bet that was.
2014 saw Scherzer lead the league in wins for the second straight year, post a 3.15 ERA, make 33 starts and finish fifth in Cy Young award voting. Now, as previously mentioned, he is the most talented starting pitcher on the open market.
So it is strange that that market has yet to develop for him. All had been quiet on Scherzer's front this year and it has many people guessing as to where he will end up... and what his final price will be.
The money, as usual, will be no problem for the Yankees, but they are likely hoping to avoid a guaranteed sixth and seventh year and instead offer him options based on incentives. With little else having yet to come to fruition for Scherzer and potential suitors, the Yankees remain a possibility.
Verdict: So you're telling me there's a chance.
All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com.