At this rate the Winter Meetings in Orlando will be nothing more than a glorified pool party (that the Dodgers are invited to). Another huge free agent came off the board on Friday night as the New York Yankees agreed to a three-year, $45 million contract with outfielder Carlos Beltran. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News was the first to report the deal was done. Yahoo's Tim Brown had the financial breakdown.
Sorry Kansas City Royals fans, you had to know the Yankees wouldn't sit by quietly after Robinson Cano agreed to a 10-year mega-deal with the Seattle Mariners and Curtis Granderson bolted from the Bronx to Queens to join the New York Mets. But is the Yankees predictable response a little too predictable and reactionary?
Beltran, who turns 37 in April, is coming off three consecutive healthy and productive seasons in the National League where he averaged 26 home runs, 88 RBIs and a .288/.356/503 slash line. That's one encouraging sign. Moving to the American League where he can spend time DHing should also work in their favor over the length of the deal. But the overall commitment is still pretty steep for a guy in his late 30s' with an extensive injury history and whose defense has declined.
The other issue is the logjam in New York's outfield. Beltran will play everyday, obviously, but the Yankees are already crowded with recently signed Jacoby Ellsbury joining Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano. Granted, Ichiro and Wells are no longer starting caliber players. The DH gives manager Joe Girardi flexibility with his lineup, and early reports suggest the job will belong to Soriano most days. But what if Derek Jeter's ankle dictates he spend more time DHing?
Then you potentially have this.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 7, 2013
He obviously meant Alfonso Soriano, but you get the message. A lot of money — some of it the Angels' money on Vernon Wells — is tied up in guys who may not receive regular playing time.
Of course, money typically isn't a concern for New York, but it was when it came to Cano.
So as far as I can tell, the #Yankees' strategy this winter is: Go overboard for everyone besides Robinson Cano.
— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) December 7, 2013
Trades are always a possibility. The Yankees will explore that avenue in great length over the next few months due to multiple needs. Despite bringing back Hiroki Kuroda earlier on Friday, they still a need or two for their rotation. The bullpen could also use an arm. Not to mention the likely vacancy at third and Kelly Johnson as a standalone replacement for Robinson Cano needing examination. Much work is to be done, but two questions need to be answered.
1. Do the surplus outfielders have any real trade value?
2. How much money do they have left to commit to a free agent or take on in a trade?
Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran, Kuroda to #Yankees, all for combined $299M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2013
If the answers are "no" and "not much," then the Yankees aren't in a better position then they were before the Beltran deal was agreed to. Especially when you look at the big picture.
The signing of Beltran, Elllsbury and McCann means the Yankees will lose their first-round pick & both compensation picks (Granderson/Cano).
— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 7, 2013
If the answer to question No. 2 is "plenty" or "Yankees gonna Yankee," then hope your favorite team locks up their No. 1 target before the Yankees realize they are still available.
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