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New York Yankees Not Pursuing Stephen Drew? Don't Buy It

The Yankees Have a Need, They Have the Money, and Drew Could Be a Solution

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Is anyone buying the notion that the New York Yankees are financially tapped out and won't pursue free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew? I thought not.

After signing Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees have blown past the $189 million luxury-tax threshold. Why would they stop now, when they are already going to pay luxury-tax money, they have a glaring need in their infield, and Drew would provide a solid solution?

From River Avenue Blues:

"As a Yankees official said earlier this winter, 'We either have to be under $189MM or up over $200MM or more.' According to Cot's the Yankees figure to be just a hair under $200 million right now, in terms of actual 2014 payroll (the benefits portion of the luxury tax pushes them over). Given that they've started every season since 2008 over $205 million in actual payroll, they should certainly have some room."

We have seen this song and dance from the Yankees before, saying they weren't going to pursue someone and then going out and doing it anyway. They snatched Mark Teixeira from the clutches of the Baltimore Orioles that way. A couple of years ago, they handed reliever Rafael Soriano a big-money contract after saying they would not spend big money on a setup man.

For the Yankees, there is plenty of precedent. And make no mistake, with the options they have at second base, shortstop and third base, there is plenty of need.

At shortstop, the Yankees are hoping to get somewhat regular play from 40-year-old Derek Jeter, one good leg and all. They have good-field, no-hit Brendan Ryan and decent-hit, useless-glove Eduardo Nunez as backup options.

At second base, the Yankees have the used-to-be good-a-long-time-ago Brian Roberts and an untried guy named Dean Anna.

At third base, they have Kelly Johnson and whichever backup they choose to put over there.

In other words, it's not a pretty picture.

The 30-year-old Drew has played shortstop during his entire big-league career. There is really no reason why Drew couldn't play some second base and slide over to shortstop whenever Jeter can't go. Best guess is the Yankees will be fortunate to get 110 to 120 games from Jeter, anyway, so there are lots of innings to be had at shortstop.

Signing Drew to a two- or three-year deal would give the Yankees a quality shortstop to plug in full time when Jeter inevitably hangs up his spikes -- very possibly after the 2014 season.

Here is a little more from River Avenue Blues:

"How much will Drew help? Two factors make him a bit more valuable to the Yankees than straight WAR. First is the team's potential need at shortstop, not just this year but next year as well. If Jeter can't cut it, they probably don't want to fall back on Brendan Ryan as an everyday guy. If Jeter is done after this year, Drew becomes even more valuable since he can man shortstop every day in 2015.

"Where the Yankees stand right now each additional win is worth so much more since it brings them closer to the postseason. There isn't any other player on the market that can more dramatically tip the scales for the Yanks."

The Yankees have already spent more than $470 million this offseason on Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. At this point, what's a few million more?

-- Ed Valentine is editor of Big Blue View, covering the New York Giants for SB Nation. He writes about the Yankees and Giants for Yahoo Contributor Network.

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