Sunday, November 7, 2010

After Lee, not much for Yankees in free-agent mkt

From the New York Yankees perspective, the free-agent market looks pretty thin after Cliff Lee.
I'm not counting the home-grown Yankees in this analysis. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are free agents in name only. No one expects them to go play anywhere else. For Andy and Mo, they will either go back to the Bronx or go home.

Outside of the three Core Four guys, Lee is the big target for the Yankees. But regardless of where Lee ends up, and I don't think it's automatically in New York, there's not much else for the Yankees on the free-agent market. The next top players are outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth and the Yankees don't need an outfield upgrade enough to spend the kind of money that both those players will command.

The Yankees don't have open spots for guys like Adrian Beltre, Adam Dunn or Paul Konerko, not with Alex Rodriguez clogging third base for the next seven years and a young and more reliable Mark Teixeira at first base. I expect the Yankees to go for defense at the catching spot if they do move Jorge Posada so Victor Martinez isn't an option. There are plenty of big names available for a designated hitter job, but the Yankees need to open that spot so Joe Girardi can rest ARod, Jeter and Posada more often.

If the Yankees make a move on the free-agent market outside of Lee, it would most likely be for a bullpen guy to help Rivera in the 8th and be ready to take over when he calls it quits. There are some really good players available right now. Could they get a Rafael Soriano or Joaquin Benoit? Perhaps for the right price. But anyone who comes in must accept being Mo's apprentice for a year or two and the established guys might not be interested in that or might not want the burden of replacing a legend.

I could easily see the Yankees throwing loads of their cash at Lee and one of the top-notch relievers, but the wallet will probably close if one of the other guys comes knocking on their door.


  1. It would be hard to imagine Jeter wearing another team's uniform. I bet he'll stay with the Yankees for his entire career.

  2. I wasn't implying that Jeter will sign with another team because I don't think he is going anywhere. I was just making the point that Andy or Mo could retire, but Jeter doesn't seem like he is anywhere near calling it quits in baseball. Jeter and the Yanks will reach a deal. The question is how ugly will they let it get before they do.