After failing to make it past the Wild Card playoff, the Yankees are now facing another difficult offseason, here are 5 predictions.
By Jamie Martin
The New York Yankees have had three consecutive unsuccessful seasons and in a city as big as New York with huge expectations, the offseason will hold great importance for the club. There will be multiple question marks heading into next season and only time will tell whether Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi are able to answer them. The Yankees have a strange mixture of older players and young, up and coming prospects. As they look to become successful once again, they will need to find a balance between experience and raw talent. Multiple youngsters stepped up at the end of the 2015 season and could find themselves making big contributions in the future. New faces will come in, while a few of the current players could find themselves exiting the club. Here are 5 predictions for the Yankees offseason.
The Yankees Will Get A New Second Baseman
It is safe to say that many New York Yankee fans were not very fond of last season’s second baseman situation. Stephen Drew, who finished with a .201 batting average, struggled to perform consistently and found himself left out of the lineup in favor of Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder later in the year. Both Ackley and Refsnyder had their moments, but neither seems like an appropriate long term option for the Yankees. Ackley could find himself with a utility role next season but Refsnyder will likely struggle to make the Major League Club. This means that the Yankees will look to either the free agent or trade market to find themselves a new second baseman. Two possible free agent names are Daniel Murphy and Howie Kendrick. Murphy, who has spent all of his seven year career with the New York Mets, is a very solid player but likely wouldn’t end up trading one part of the city for another. Kendrick, a more realistic option, is 32 years old but has had a very productive major league career and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. He could definitely be a possibility for the Yankees but would end up commanding a decent contract which the club has tried to shy away from in recent years. If they are to look at the trade market, a name that could be floated around but would be highly unlikely, is Robinson Cano. The former Yankee’s production has slowed down since joining the Mariners and with managerial changes in Seattle, there is a very small chance that he could look to return to the Bronx. However, Cano’s current contract is enormous and Yankee fans would never forget the negotiation process that took place two years ago.
Jeff Samardzija Will Take His Talents To The Bronx
The Yankees will definitely look to strengthen their rotation and there have been rumors that the club will look to pursue free agent Jeff Samardzija. The right hander had a pretty tough season for the Chicago White Sox, finishing 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA and struggling to match the quality years he put together in the past. At age 30, Samardzija is still in his prime and is a strong starting pitcher who could slot in at 3 or 4 in the Yankees rotation. His salary wouldn’t be too demanding and he could end up being given something within the 3 year, $33 million range. A contract of this sort shouldn’t scare off the Yankees and would help them add consistency to a rotation that ultimately struggled down the stretch in the 2015 season. If the Yankees are able to get Samardzija, which they should, he could find himself in a rotation that includes Tanaka, Severino, Eovaldi, and Pineda.
Chris Young Will Not Return To The Yankees
Chris Young had a solid season for the Yankees, batting .252 with 14 Home Runs and 42 Runs Batted In. However, his numbers were much more consistent this season than they have been in the past and he is unlikely to match them next year. He is a solid fourth outfielder and hits left handed pitching very well but the Yankees could look to freshen up the team with a new outfielder to keep the lineup from falling off during the lengthy MLB season. Young deserves a job somewhere but it is questionable if it will be with the Yankees. If the Bombers do opt to sign a different right handed bat, they could look at someone like former Yankee Austin Jackson.
The Yankees Will Acquire Another Late Inning Reliever
The Yankees were rumored to have been interested in adding another late inning bullpen arm during the trade, and that pursuit should continue throughout the offseason. Craig Kimbrel is a name that has been mentioned often and he could possibly come up again in trade discussions over the winter. The current Padres closer is one of the best in the MLB and had another productive season in 2015, saving 39 games and finishing with a 2.58 ERA. Kimbrel could add to an already deadly Yankees bullpen and help the club to shorten the game by a few innings. The Padres would likely demand one or two of the Yankees top prospects which could make Brian Cashman unwilling to negotiate. In the free agent market, possible options include former Yankee Tyler Clippard and current Pirates closer Joakim Soria. Both pitchers have had very solid seasons and could help to take some of the pressure off of current Yankee relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. The bullpen became noticeably fatigued towards the end of last season and would definitely benefit from the addition of one or two quality arms.
A Big Name Player Will Get Traded
After many of the Yankees big name players struggled down the stretch, it could be possible that one of these stars will find themselves leaving the Bronx before the start of the 2016 season. Possibilities could include CC Sabathia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner. Sabathia, who was recently admitted into rehab for Alcohol addiction, has struggled the past few seasons and the Yankees could possibly look to move his contract to give him a new start. Ellsbury has failed to live up to expectations during his first two seasons as a Yankee and was left out of the starting lineup in the Wild Card Playoff. A solid offer during the winter meetings could tempt the Yankees to deal him and his lengthy contract. Gardner performed very poorly during the second half of the season and at the age of 32, is likely past his prime. However, he is still an important player and should not be dealt unless a team offers a strong package for him. Dealing one of their aging stars could prove to be beneficial for the Yankees in the long run and help them return to winning ways.