Tag Archives: Michael Pineda

2014 AL East Preview

By: Jon

The AL East is definitively the best division in baseball since they have the current champions, the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Orioles, and Blue Jays. The East has a legitimate threat of possessing three of the five playoff teams in the AL. Besides the Blue Jays, who still have a possibility of finishing over .500, the other four teams have a great chance of winning the division.

 

1) New York Yankees

The Yankees want to win one more before the Captain retires
The Yankees want to win one more before the Captain retires

The Yankees regained the title as the most expensive team in baseball after they spent nearly $500 million on free agents this offseason. The Yankees will be starting a completely new club from last season as only one player, Brett Gardner, will be starting Opening Day this and last season. The Yankees have a lot of talent, but they have many questions that may lead to their demise. Although the Yankees outfield should be the catalyst of team with Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, and Jacoby Ellsbury, the infield has many questions because the players, Kelly Johnson, Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, and Mark Teixeira, are all coming off  injury and have questions about their age. If the Yankees stay healthy, they should be one of the best teams in baseball and will contend for a championship.

On offense, the Yankees have speed, power, and high batting averages. The middle of the order, McCann, Tex, Soriano, and Beltran, should record a good deal of RBIs since they will have many opportunities to drive in runs. Jacoby Ellsbury, Derek Jeter, and Brett Garnder have shown that they have the ability to get on base, steal bases, and score runs at a very high level. In terms of defense, the team should be one of the best in the league, especially in the outfield. Jacoby and Brett are two of the fastest outfielders in the league and should be able to easily cover every ball in the outfield. Although he is old, Beltran is an above average outfielder with a great arm and instincts. On the infield, the return of Tex will be great since he is a premier fielder and prevents errors with his ability to scoop throws. Although Jeter or Roberts do not have great range, they are steady players and will not make many errors in the field.

On the pitching staff, the Yanks have some questions as well. If Tanaka, Nova, and Pineda can continue their success from Spring Training, the team will have a great pitching staff with each player has a lot of talent. Although CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have experienced poor spring trainings and did not have a good finish to last season, the Yankees need them to return to their old form. The Yankees have a few quality options, Vidal Nuno, Adam Warren, and David Phelps, if injuries hamper their starting five. Unlike past seasons, the Yanks are not expected to have a good bullpen. The Yanks must answer a few questions if they are going win games with their bullpen like they have in the past. The Yankees need to replace the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, an eighth inning pitcher to replace David Robertson, and a lefty specialist to replace Boone Logan. If the Yankees’ starters fail to get injured, they can use their extra starting pitchers or prospects to man the positions. Although the Yankees have many questions, they have a lot of talent and expectations that their fans hope they can meet this season.

Predicted Yankees Record: 95-67

2) Boston Red Sox

The Sox are hoping to repeat this season
The Sox are hoping to repeat this season

The Red Sox are the defending champion and many believe that they have a great chance of winning the division and repeating as champions. The Red Sox are currently ranked second on this list because they lost a few good players to free agency that must be replaced. The biggest loss the Red Sox endured was Jacoby Ellsbury, who went to the hated New York Yankees for $153 million. Although Jacoby was occassionally injured, he was a great table setter for the Red Sox and was a lock for at least 90 runs a season. The Red Sox are hoping that Jackie Bradley Jr will be able to succeed at the major league level, although he was unable to hit in the majors at the start of last season. Bradley, although an above average defender, will not be able to replace Ellsbury’s defense because he does not have the speed. At shortstop, the Red Sox will have to replace the production from Stephen Drew. Drew was a solid option for the Red Sox because he was a good defensive player and could hit well for a shortstop. The Red Sox hope that top prospect Xander Bogearts will be able to turn his potential into production and replace the void left by Drew. Xander got his first taste of major league experience last season in the playoffs and regular season.

Besides those losses, the Red Sox kept the same team as last year. On offense, the Red Sox have a lot of good sluggers, Ortiz, Pedroia, and Napoli, and other quality hitters, which gives them a balanced offensive attack. The Red Sox have at least five or six players that can hit over .300 this season. Last season, they had three players hit over .300 and five that hit over .294. Like last season, they should rank as one of the best run scoring teams in the league.

In terms of pitching, the Red Sox have a deep rotation even though they do not possess a dominant ace. The combination of Jake Peavy, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, and Clay Buchholz should give the Red Sox an above average staff as long as they do not have to deal with injuries. If the Red Sox do face injuries, they may have serious issues because they do not have many long men/spot starters on their roster. The Red Sox have a very good farm system with good pitching prospects, but it is unknown if they want to hurry these prospects to the bigs. In the bullpen, the Red Sox have one of the best in the league. If Uehara can give the Red Sox similar numbers to last season, they will be in great shape because they have solid lefties and power arms out of the bullpen. The Red Sox should be a 90 win team and compete with the Yankees and other AL East teams for the division and the Pennant.

Predicted Red Sox Record: 94-68

3) Tampa Bay Rays

The pitching could lead the Rays to the playoff
The pitching could lead the Rays to the playoffs

The Rays have been steady winners over the last five seasons. Before their nice run, the Rays were one of the worst teams in baseball and never made the playoffs. Previously, they would always receive high picks in the draft, which enabled them to build a core and achieve success. Although the Rays have lost stars over the past few seasons, they have a deep farm system to replace their stars with stud prospects.

Although the Rays normally win with their pitching and defense, the Rays offense has improved drastically and should be a strength this season. The middle of the order will be led by Evan Longoria, Wil Myers, James Loney, and Matt Joyce. These power hitters should easily be able to drive in a lot of runs since Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings, and possibly star shortstop prospect, Lee, are all good table setters and have the ability to reach base. The Rays should continue playing great defense because Longoria, Myers, Escobar, Loney, and Desmond are excellent defenders and do not commit many errors.

Although the offense is improving, the pitching is the best part of the team. The staff is led by former AL Cy Young Award winner David Price. Along with Price, the Rays have Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickson, Chris Archer, and possibly Jake Odorizzi. Besides Hellickson, each starter had an ERA below 3.50. The Rays’ pitching staff should continue stopping opposing offenses and lead the Rays to the playoff as long as Price stays in the rotation. Since Price has achieved a lot of success, the Rays are looking to trade him since it is unlikely they will be able to re-sign him next offseason. Although the Rays would receive a King’s Ransom for Price, the players will not be able to immediately help the Rays, if they trade him at the trade deadline. Like many prior seasons, the Rays’ bullpen is different from last season and has many questions. The Rays have signed a few relievers that are coming off bad seasons and were able to sign them at a bargain. The Rays will rely heavily on Grant Balfour, Heath Bell, Joel Peralta, and lefty flamethrower Jake McGee. Each reliever has experienced success in the past and the Rays hope they can catch lightning in a bottle once again.

The Rays were able to win 92 games last season despite them starting slowly because of poor pitching. However, this season, the pitching should not let the Rays down at the start of the season and should enable them to win over 90 games again this season. The AL East should have a great fight at the top since each of the three aforementioned teams has the ability to win 95 games. The Rays do not have as much depth or offensive talent as the Red Sox and Yanks, so it is unlikely they will beat them during the regular season.

Predicted Rays Record: 92-70

4) Baltimore Orioles

The O's need Crush Davis to have another great season in order to succeed
The O’s need Crush Davis to have another great season in order to succeed

Unlike previous seasons, the Orioles spent a lot of money this offseason to improve their team. Last season, the Orioles won 85 games, but still finished 6.5 games out of the wild card race. The Orioles possessed one of the best and most explosive lineups in the league a season ago. The Orioles are led by the middle of their order, which includes stars Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, and JJ Hardy. Although the lineup was already deep, they signed power hitting outfielder, Nelson Cruz, to a one year deal. Also, the Orioles will be returning Manny Machado from a serious knee injury, which will bolster the squad. In terms of defense, the Orioles have a solid defense because Jones, Hardy, Wieters, and Machado are great fielders and man the most important defensive positions.

Although the Orioles’ offense and defense is very good, the pitching could pose problems for the Orioles as they attempt to make the playoffs. The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez this offseason and are hoping that he returns to his Rockies’ second half form. The Orioles do not have an ace, but have multiple quality pitchers. The Orioles’ staff, Jimenez, Tillman, Norris, Gausman, and Chen, is deep and should be able to win games against the back of opposing teams’ staff. If the Orioles do experience injuries, they have multiple options that will allow them to continue winning. In the bullpen, the Orioles have multiple weapons that can throw hard and strike out opposing hitters late in games. Although the O’s dumped former closer Jim Johnson, they will be replacing him with Tommy Hunter. Hunter throws extremely hard and has been able to pitch well over the past few seasons as an eighth inning pitcher. Along with hard throwing from the right side, Brian Matusz is a lefty specialist that pitches in the mid to high nineties and has improved over the past few seasons.

Although the Orioles improved their team this offseason, the other teams in this division have improved as well, so it is unlikely they will noticeably improve their win total from last season.

Predicted Orioles Record: 85-77

5) Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays hope they can avoid the East cellar
The Jays hope they can avoid the East cellar

The Blue Jays entered last season as one of the best teams on paper and many thought they would be one of the best teams in the league. However, the Jays did not meet expectations as they suffered many injuries and their players did not play to previous standards.

Like the other American League East teams, the Blue Jays have a threatening lineup. On the infield, the Blue Jays have Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, and Maicer Izturius. In the outfield, the Blue Jays will be led by Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, and Colby Rasmus. The Blue Jays have one of the best 3-4 hitting duos in the league because Bautista is one of the best power hitters and Encaracion has turned into one of the better hitters after a sluggish start to his career. At the top of the order, the Blue Jays will have Reyes and Cabrera at the one-two positions as they both have great speed and the ability to reach base at a very high percentage. If the duo can stay healthy, they will score a lot of runs and help the Blue Jays score runs because Bautista and Encarnacion should both be able to record at least 100 RBIs. Although the Jays have the potential for a great offense, their defense does not have the same ability.

In terms of pitching, the Blue Jays have many questions in their rotation, which negatively separates them from the rest of the teams. Although the Blue Jays gave up two very good prospects to the Mets, they did not receive great production from RA Dickey last season. Although Dickey should be able to achieve more success this season because he is now healthy, it is unknown if he can return to his Cy Young form. After Dickey, the Jays have Brandon Marrow, Mark Buehrle, JA Happ, and Esmil Rogers in the rotation. Mark Buehrle and Esmil Rogers are steady pitchers and should provide the Blue Jays with consistent quality outings. Although Marrow and Happ have great talent and have shown they can produce at the major league level, they are consistently injured and cannot pitch at their full potential. If the duo can remain healthy, the Blue Jays can compete in the East and win about 85 to 90 games.

Although the Jays may have the worst starting rotation in the division, it is likely they have the best bullpen. The back of the Jays bullpen is very solid with Sergio Santos as the closer and Steve Delbar and Brett Cecil as the set up men. Last year, Cecil and Delbar had great seasons and made the All-Star team. If the Jays can maintain a lead into the 7th inning, they will have a great chance of winning games and competing for the last Wild Card spot. Unless the Jays have a few surprises in the rotation, it is unlikely they will win more than 80 games in the difficult AL East.

Predicted Blue Jays Record: 78-84

 

Pics and stats from ESPN.com

How Soriano and A-Rod can alter the Yankees salary for 2014

By: Jon

The players on the Yankees current roster have salaries that add up to over 250 million dollars. To put that number into perspective, the salary of the AL All-Stars only added up to 300,000 more dollars than the Yankees. However, the Yankees true payroll “only” adds up to $203 million. The Yankees will have a lot of options and decisions this offseason because of their desire to have their payroll under $189 million. Although it seems like a random number, it is the luxury tax number for Major League Baseball. The Yankees have been hit with the luxury tax for eleven consecutive seasons. The owner of the Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner, does not want to pay more luxury tax because the rate significantly rises this year. However, if the Yankees could keep their salary under $189 million, their tax rate would reset to 17.5% and the Yankees would save lots of money. If the Yankees maintain there current spending, they would pay 50%, which is about $25 million. The Yankees have 7 of the 25 highest paid players in baseball and 7 of the highest 12 in the AL.

However, the Yankees have a real chance of keeping their salary under the 189 marker if they are smart and dedicated. The Yankees have been planning a long time for this offseason because they have a strong desire to save money. Thus they will have a lot of free agents and options. Currently, the Yankees payroll is set for $86 million, but this is for a six players, Sabathia, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Wells, Soriano, and Suzuki. However, the Yankees will have to spend less than $103 million to stay under their desired limitation of $189 million. However, the Yankees will have many Arbitration Eligible players, but they will not greatly affect the Yankees aspirations.

Following moves that the Yankees should make this offseason:

1. Sign Robinson Cano.

Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano

The Yankees must re-sign Cano this offseason if they want anyone to come and watch them play this offseason. Cano is the Yankees best player and it is an absolute must that they re-sign him to a long term deal. Luckily for the Yankees, teams have realized troubles of signing a player to a deal longer than 8 years. The Yankees should attempt to sign him to a deal that is more money per year instead of a 9 or 10 year deal. The Red Sox deal with Dustin Pedroia will help the Yankees because he signed for under market value. Pedroia’s average deal is for $14 million per year. Cano is not twice as good as Pedroia so he will probably sign a deal for 6-7 years and $25 million per season.

Yankees Salary after Cano: $111

2. Have Jeter opt into his current deal or re-sign for a less money.

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter

The Yankees captain will not be in great position to sign a big deal during the offseason. Although he is a good player, he is old and injury prone. Teams will not be willing to spend big bucks for a 39 year old shortstop, who has lost range and is not a power hitter. Derek knows that his best possibility to brand himself and succeed is in New York with the Yankees. Although Jeter may opt out of his current deal and re-sign with the Yankees, he will not get much more than the $8 million he would get if he opted in to his deal. If he opts out he will sign for 3 years 8-10 per season

Yankees salary after Jeter: $120

3. Re-sign Brett Gardner.

Brett Gardner
Brett Gardner

The Yankees will need to have more speed because their offense is not as good as previous years. Gardner is having a good season for the Yankees. He is a steady contributor, steals bases, and plays great defenses. Gardner should win the Gold Glove this season because he plays great defense and can cover lots of ground in center field. Since Gardner is arbitration eligible, he will not be an expensive option in the outfield. He will probably sign another one-year deal for $5 million.

Yankees salary after Gardner: $125

4. Re-sign David Robertson.

David Robertson
David Robertson

Robertson is in the same position as Gardner, last year of arbitration. Robertson has been one of the best set up men in the league over the last three seasons. David will take an even bigger role next season, when Mariano Rivera retires and the closer position is free. Although the Yankees will want to replace Rivera with an established closer, it will probably be too expensive. Robertson may be able to step in for Rivera. Also a set up man will be easier to sign than an established closer. He will probably sign another one-year deal for $6 million.

Yankees salary after Robertson: $131

5. Re-sign Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda.

Ivan Nova
Ivan Nova

The Yankees will be forced to put young starters in their starting rotation. Nova has been great as of late for the New York Yankees. Besides for Hiroki Kuroda, Nova has been the Yankees best starting pitcher over the last month. He will be extremely important next season because the Yankees will lose at least one pitcher and probably three. Along with Ivan, Pineda will be an important cog of the Yankees rotation next season. Like Nova, Pineda is young and talented. After having a great rookie season with the Mariners, Pineda has been hurt and spent time in the minors with the Yankees. He will finally have the opportunity to start this year for the Yankees. Luckily for the Yankees, Nova and Pineda will come cheaply, since they are in their first year of arbitration. Expect one million dollar deals for both of them.

Yankees salary after Nova and Pineda: $133

6. Re-sign Eduardo Nunez and David Phelps.

Eduardo Nunez
Eduardo Nunez

Nunez will be an important part of the 2014 New York Yankees because of their age and injuries. Nunez has the ability to plan all around the infield. The Yankees will need him to play short and third next season because Derek and Alex, if he is not suspended, cannot play more than a few days in a row in the field. Nunez has a solid bat and quick bat speed. He has good speed and is a good youthful addition to the New York Yankees. Nunez is not even arbitration eligible so his contract will probably be worth $500,000. However, he will be more important than his contract because he is versatile and a good player. Like Nunez, Phelps is not arbitration eligible. However, he will have an important part of the 2014 team. Phelps will either be the fifth starter or a long man in the bullpen. He is versatile and a solid pitcher when he is healthy. Phelps has been very good for the Yankees as a bullpen arm and an occasional starter. Excess pitching is always necessary in MLB because a lot of pitchers experience injuries.

Yankees salary after Nunez and Phelps: $134

7. Re-sign Curtis Granderson.

Curtis Granderson
Curtis Granderson

Granderson will be an interesting option this offseason. Since he spent most of his time on the DL this season, he will not be receiving the type of deal he would like to sign. The Yankees will most likely offer Granderson a qualifying offer of $13.8 million. If Granderson signs elsewhere, the Yankees will receive a first or second round pick from that team. However, Granderson will probably sign his tender so he can reach free agency again in a year and sign a more lucrative offer. Curtis has been a great teammate and hitter for the Yankees over the last few years, The extra year will enable Curtis to play more and improve his stock. Curtis will provide more power to the Yankees lineup, which they desperately need at this point. Although the Yankee outfield will seem to be crowded, Soriano will play a lot of DH so his bat is in the lineup.

Yankees salary after Granderson: $148

8. Re-sign Shawne Kelley and Boone Logan and call up Mark Montgomery.

Boone Logan
Boone Logan

The Yankees, as usual, have a solid bullpen. The Yankees have been known for their ability to build a strong bullpen. When the Yankees were at their best in the late 1990s, their bullpen was automatic. The Yankees bullpen will undergo a lot of changes this offseason because Rivera will retire and Joba, Preston Claiborne, and Adam Warren will not re-sign this offseason. The Yankees have found a solid relief pitcher in Shawne Kelley this season. Mark Montgomery has been a good relief pitcher for the Yankees in the minors over the last few years. He can have a major impact on the Yankees next season since they will probably be losing 4 right handed relievers. Since the Yankees acquired Logan from the Braves a few years ago, he has been their lefty specialist in the bullpen. Since Logan has not been great this offseason, the Yankees can sign him to a cheap long term deal.

Yankees salary after Kelley (.5), Logan (5), and Montgomery (.5): $154

9. Sign Joel Hanrahan and Scott Downs

Joel Hanrahan
Joel Hanrahan

The Yankees will be undergoing major renovations during the offseason because all of their bullpen arms will be free agents this season. With the departure of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees will have to find a new closer. Although the Yankees hope Robertson can become the closer, he did not succeed last season, when Rivera tore his ACL. The Yankees should sign Joel Hanrahan because he is a veteran arm and knows how to close games at the major league level. Although he has not pitched much this season because of injury, he was extremely successful in the closer role with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since he did not pitch a lot, he will be willing to sign a cheap contract to reinvent himself for the next offseason, $4 million. The Yankees should sign another lefty pitcher this offseason. Today, teams have a few lefty bullpen arms. Boone Logan is not the most consistent reliever so more depth and talent will help the team. Since Rivera is departing, the Yankees will have more money to spend on their bullpen. Downs would probably be willing to sign a deal for about $5 million.

Yankees salary after Downs and Hanrahan: $157

10. Re-sign Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart.

Francisco Cervelli
Francisco Cervelli

The Yankees will not be able to spend a lot of money on a luxury position, like catcher, if they are going to stay under their budget. Although Francisco may be under speculation because of the Tony Bosch situation, he will probably not heavily suspended. Chris Stewart and Austin Romine will be able to produce at a high enough level until Cervelli returns. Although the production will not be great next season, the Yankees are just waiting for their top prospect Gary Sanchez to be called up to the majors. By 2015, Sanchez should be able to produce for the New York Yankees. The Yankees can live with bad hitting, but solid defense. Both players should sign for about $500,000.

Yankees salary after Stewart and Cervelli: $159

11. Sign Mark Reynolds.

Mark Reynolds
Mark Reynolds

If Alex Rodriguez is not suspended next season, the Yankees will at least need a solid back-up, who can play a lot of games. The Yankees can return to the Bronx Bombers if they sign Mark Reynolds this offseason. Reynolds has great home run power, which will significantly improve the Yankees roster next season. Reynolds will also be able to back-up Mark Teixeira at first baseman if he needs an occasional day off. Reynolds would almost act as a starter because they will be able to play a lot. He will not be that expensive since he consistently has a low average and strikeouts frequently.

Yankees salary after Reynolds: $163

12. Sign Chris Carpenter

Chris Carpenter
Chris Carpenter

Chris Carpenter is one of the most clutch pitchers in baseball. Although he has been hurt over the last two seasons, Carpenter can still pitch, especially in the postseason. Carpenter has led the St. Louis Cardinals to two championships during his career. Since the Yankees want to win championship, he would be a perfect addition because he has a career 3.00 ERA in the postseason. The Yankees will be able to offer Carpenter a incentive laden deal because he has experienced a lot of injuries lately. Carpenter may be willing to leave the Cardinals because they have a deep starting rotation and may not want him anymore. The Yankees would also give Carpenter an opportunity to pitch for a championship. The Yankees should give Chris $5 million in guaranteed money and the possibility to make $11 million if he stays healthy.

Yankees salary after Carpenter- $174

13. Re-sign Kuroda OR sign Josh Johnson.

Hiroki Kuroda
Hiroki Kuroda

The Yankees will need two more starting pitchers this offseason. First, the Yankees should attempt to re-sign Kuroda because he has been great for them over the last two seasons. If they cannot re-sign Kuroda, the Yanks should go after Josh Johnson because he is a solid pitcher with a lot of talent. Kuroda will probably cost more than Johnson for the 2014 season because he will only sign a one year deal. More information later in the article.

Yankees salary after Kuroda- $189

Yankees salary after Johnson- $187

Yankees Roster – $187 or $189 million dollar team

Catcher – Stewart and Cervelli

Infield – Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez, Nunez, and Reynolds

Outfield – Granderson, Suzuki, Gardner, Wells, and Soriano

Starting Pitching – Sabathia, Carpenter, Nova, Pineda, and Johnson/Kuroda

Relief Pitching – Downs, Hanrahan, Kelley, Montgomery, Logan, Robertson, and Phelps

Now, the rest of the Yankees decision will be dependent on Alex Rodriguez. Currently, the Yankees are set to pay $27 million to Alex Rodriguez next season for his services. However, the Yankees would love to rid themselves of his contract so they could sign more productive players. Although the Yankees will not be able to void the whole contract, there may be a way that they can get rid of Rodriguez’s contract for the 2014 season. If MLB suspends Rodriguez for the 2014 season, the New York Yankees will be able to write off his salary. Thus the salary would not count against the payroll, which would be great for the New York Yankees. The Yankees will be given a lot more flexibility and options if A-Rod’s contract does not count against the payroll. Instead of the approximate $28 million, the Yankees would have $55 million more dollars to spend on free agents. The Yankees and their fans should hope that Alex is suspended for the rest of this season and especially next season. The following moves should occur if the MLB saves the Yankees and their fans.

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez

14. Sign Matt Garza.

Matt Garza
Matt Garza

The Yankees will desperately need pitching next season. The Yankees will probably lose three starting pitchers. Matt Garza would be a great addition to the Yankees because he knows how to pitch in the AL East and has pitched in the post season. Garza is a great arm, but has injury concerns. Garza’s injuries may drop the price tag on Matt Garza this offseason. Since he was hurt over the last few seasons, he does not have the innings pitched like other pitchers. Garza is a solid two for the Yankees and will probably be paid as such during the offseason. Since CC has been ineffective this season and Nova and Pineda are inexperienced, the Yankees will desperately need a talented work horse. He will be an expensive piece this offseason. 5 years at 18 million per season. The Yankees may even be able to offer more money per season than the $18 million. The Yankees will only be able to sign him if A-Rod is suspended.

Without Rodriguez and with Garza – $153

15. Sign Michael Young.

Michael Young
Michael Young

Since Alex Rodriguez will be unable to play if he is suspended, the Yankees will need a player who can play third base. Michael Young is a competent starter and would be a great addition for the New York Yankees. Young is still batting .277 with 7 HR and 32 RBI. Young would sign a one year deal with the Yankees because it would give him a chance to play in the postseason. He would also be given the starting third base position, which some teams would not offer to Young. Young would probably not be too expensive for the Yankees since he is older and on the down side of his career. The Yankees could sign him for $6 million a season.

Without Rodriguez and With Young- $159

16. Sign Carlos Pena/Lyle Overbay rather than Mark Reynolds

Lyle Overbay
Lyle Overbay

The Yankees will need a left handed batter off of the bench instead of a right handed bat. The Yankees do not need another right handed bat off of the bench because they have a few bats from the outfield who are right handed and Eduardo Nunez is right handed. Pena can provide a lot of power off of the bench, which would be great for the team. Pena can also back up Mark Teixeira if he is hurt or needs a day off. Pena would be cheap because he has a lot of flaws. He would cost about 1 million compared to 5 million for Reynolds.

Without Rodriguez and with Pena/Overbay: $155

17. Desperately attempt to re-sign Kuroda OR Carpenter AND sign Josh Johnson.

Josh Johnson
Josh Johnson

If the Yankees sign Matt Garza, they will still be in need of one or two more starting pitchers, in order to be a quality, playoff baseball team. The Yankees desperately need to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda for the 2014 season. Similar to Andy Pettitte, he will be signing one year deals for the rest of his career. However, this could be the end for Kuroda, but it is not because of his performance. Over the past two seasons, Kuroda has been the Yankees most consistent and best pitcher. Although Kuroda does not blow away batters, he is extremely smart and does not allow runs to score, 2.51 ERA. He would be a great 2 or 3 for the Yankees during the 2014 season. He would probably sign another $15 million deal. Besides for Hiroki, the Yankees should attempt to sign Josh Johnson this offseason. If Kuroda signs this offseason, the Yankees will have three definite starting pitchers in the  rotation. The Yankees would love to have another solid starting pitcher in their rotation, instead of having Nova and Pineda in the starting rotation. If the Yankees sign another solid starting pitcher, Nova and Pineda will not have the pressure of succeeding. If Kuroda does not re-sign, the Yankees will desperately need another starting pitcher and Johnson can fill that need. Although he has not be great this season like other free agent pitchers, he has the most skill and talent. Johnson has improved since coming off of the DL. He would not demand a huge contract, like other pitchers, because he was on the DL this season and has not been great over the last few seasons. The Yankees can sign him for 4 years and $52 million or maybe a deal closer to Kuroda so he can rebound for the next season and score a huge deal like Garza.

Without Rodriguez and with Kuroda and Johnson – $183

Without Rodriguez and Kuroda and with Johnson and Carpenter – $180

If the Yankees are able to dump the A-Rod salary for the 2014 season, the team will be significantly better.

Yankees Roster – $180 or $183 million dollar team

Catcher – Stewart and Cervelli

Infield – Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, Young, Nunez, and Reynolds

Outfield – Granderson, Suzuki, Gardner, Wells, and Soriano

Starting Pitching – Sabathia, Garza, Carpenter/Kuroda, Nova/Pineda, and Johnson

Relief Pitching – Downs, Hanrahan, Kelley, Montgomery, Logan, Robertson, and Phelps

Stats and Pics from ESPN.com

5 Ways Yankees Can Improve

By: Jon

Seattle+Mariners+v+Minnesota+Twins+-lP2C0fUX7wl

1. Trade Phil Hughes and Outfield Prospect for Michael Cuddyer

The Yankees are in massive need of a first baseman as well as a right handed power hitter. After the Yankees lost Mark Teixeira for the second time this season, the Yankees were left with a massive hole in the middle of their lineup. Especially against left handed pitchers, the offense is absolutely dreadful. Currently, the Yankees are forced to put Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay into the lineup even though they have massive struggles against lefties. Cuddyer can also play outfield in case the Yankees experience even more injuries to their outfield. Cuddyer is having a stellar season this year batting .339 with 11 homers (Baseball Reference). The Yankees currently have little use for Phil Hughes as he is inconsistent and the Yankees have options behind him. Since Michael Pineda is about to be called up and after Ivan Nova’s impressive outing this past weekend, the Yankees should be optimistic about their ability to replace Hughes. It is also highly unlikely that they will be able to re-sign him after this season as they want to remain under $189 million. If there is one position the Yankees have depth in their farm system, it is the outfield. With Zolio Almonte, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores, and Tyler Austin in the minors, the Yankees can afford to give one up in order to improve the major league team.

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2. Trade for James Russell

The Yankees have an immediate need for a left hand specialist. Currently Boone Logan is not getting the job. This is evident by his last outing against the Rays where he surrendered two runs, which broke the tie. Although he has a relative low ERA, 2.29 from Baseball Reference, he has allowed 10 of the last 28 inherited runners to score. If the Yankees want to make the playoffs, their bullpen cannot lose any of the leads they gain because of their paltry offense. One possible candidate for the job is James Russell from the  Chicago Cubs. James Russell is having a solid season for the Cubs, 2.22 ERA from Baseball Reference. Along with dominating lefties, he is reliable against righties. However, he will not be cheap as he is under contract until 2015. They could possibly trade a prospect like 2B Angelo Gumbs or a pitcher like Rafeal DePaula or Brett Marshall.

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3. Trade for Michael Young

Along with a need for a first baseman, the Yankees have needs on the left side of the infield. Although Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez may be returning within a month, they cannot be expected to play a lot of games. The Yankees are entering a difficult part of their schedule and need someone other than David Adams manning the hot corner. Michael Young is having an okay season batting .282 with only four home runs (Baseball Reference). He would not be an expensive addition. They can possibly trade Joba Chamberlain for Young. Joba’s value has major fall this season and he will probably not be re-signed this offseason. The Phillies are currently experiencing problems in their bullpen and Joba may be able to return to his dominant form with a change of scenery.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Milwaukee Brewers

4. Trade for Yovani Gallardo

Although the Yankees have a decent depth in the rotation, the Yankees can always use more solid pitching. The Yankees could possibly trade for Gallardo without giving up much of their farm. Yovanni has started the season slowly but recently has rebounded and has been known has a second half pitcher. Gallardo could be a solid number three starter behind CC and Kuroda. The last four years he has won double digit games while maintaing an ERA below 3.85, Baseball Reference. The addition of Gallardo would better prepare the Yankees for a playoff run. The Yankees could use him next year as well with the probable loss of Kuroda and Andy. Yovanni will come cheap for the Yankees. If the Yankees are able to get him for Hughes, DePaula/Marshall, one of their talented outfielders/ a lower level prospect.

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5. Call up Gary Sanchez

Even though he is extremely young and only in class A, he could definitely improve the Yankees catching situation. Before the season, he was voted the top Yankee prospect, MLB.com rated him as the 36 best prospect, and Baseball America said he was the 57th best prospect. After a dominant beginning of the season, he has recently cooled down. He is currently batting .270 with 11 homers and 48 RBI. He is known for his batting, which the Yankees desperately need from their catching position. If not the majors, he should definitely be promoted to AA.