Joel Sherman wrote this:
Consider that the Yanks have deployed a team-record 56 players without offering one high-end prospect. Zero-for-56.
In spring the Yanks suggested Slade Heathcott or Tyler Austin could possibly jump from Double-A to help in the majors down the stretch. Neither even shined at Double-A — and Heathcott’s season ended early yet again with another injury (right knee). Michael Pineda missed a second full major league season with shoulder problems. Manny Banuelos is just now throwing simulated games returning from Tommy John surgery.
Derek Jeter’s nightmare gave Eduardo Nunez an opportunity to prove he is an everyday shortstop. Instead, he proved brittle and suspect on both sides of the ball. Francisco Cervelli also squandered a chance created with the foolhardy decision to let Russell Martin leave. Cervelli could not stay healthy, and then he was handed a 50-game Biogenesis suspension.
The Yanks’ best player (Robinson Cano), starter (Hiroki Kuroda) and reliever (Mariano Rivera) are free agents. Maybe Cano and Kuroda will be back — at the right price — but not the retiring Rivera. Curtis Granderson and Andy Pettitte are free agents, too. They will have to be replaced if they are not retained.
You know who is staying? CC Sabathia for $23 million. Is he any better than a No. 4 starter now? Mark Teixeira, for $22.5 million. He was already in decline before a wrist injury essentially eliminated 2013. Jeter will probably pick up his $9.5 million option to try to play at age 40 on that fragile ankle. Ichiro Suzuki for $6.5 million also will be back for his age-40 season. But it seems all vitality has been lost from his game.
The good news? Whether they keep him or not, Vernon Wells counts as zero toward the luxury payroll because of how his trade was structured. Alex Rodriguez might cost zero also — if his 211-game suspension is upheld. So there could be help in staying under the $189 million threshold. Hard to sell tickets on that.
Alfonso Soriano for $6 million should be good value. But he turns 39 in January and, to date in this Yankee stint, we have not seen the extended funks to which Soriano is susceptible.
It also is good that Brett Gardner and David Robertson will be back. But both are free agents after next season. Gardner flourished before another injury (oblique) raised concerns about how good a risk he is long term. Robertson probably will get the first crack to replace Rivera.
Brian Cashman would not discuss if he would seek multi-year deals for either. But my sense from talking to the general manager about his philosophy is that besides Rivera, he does not value giving significant money to closers, particularly in long-term pacts.
So if you are discouraged by the Yanks’ 2013, what are you seeing that makes you feel more optimistic about next year?
It’s hard to argue with any of this…