How the Yankees Can Still Improve

The offseason has been a moderately busy one for the New York Yankees, filled with a number of moves for complementary players, but lacking a move to reel in a big-name superstar. But even after all the work they’ve done, the Yankees still have room where they can improve.

Where the Yankees have done an excellent job is in bolstering their bullpen. They wisely let David Robertson leave for the Chicago White Sox via free agency, but the Yankees may still possess the best unit in baseball.

It starts with Dellin Betances, who was absolutely deadly as a setup man last year after converting to the bullpen from a starting role. He’ll close out games for the Yankees and be absolutely dominant. He’s joined by three new acquisitions from this offseason: left-handed Andrew Miller, whom the Yankees brought in via free agency; lefty Justin Wilson, whom the Yankees traded for from the Pirates; and right-handed David Carpenter, brought in from the Braves.

If Adam Warren returns to the middle relief role where he excelled last year, and Jacob Lindgren, last year’s top draft pick, makes his big league debut this season, as most expect, the bullpen will be dominant.

There aren’t really any moves for the Yankees to make on offense. There are no viable options on the market at second base or shortstop (and the Yankees have already snatched up Didi Gregorius to man the latter, anyway); the team has answers at catcher, left field, center field, and third base (in Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Chase Headley, respectively); and improvements at first base, right field, or DH are blocked by the immovable contracts of Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and, yep, Alex Rodriguez, respectively. That means the Yankees’ lineup for 2015 is pretty much set.

Where the Yankees still have room to improve is in their starting rotation. As of right now, the Yanks look like they will run out a rotation of C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Capuano, and Nate Eovaldi, with Ivan Nova likely to return from Tommy John rehab in May or June. The weak link in this group is clearly Capuano, who pitched decently in a short stint with the Yanks last season but isn’t prone to dominating hitters.

The two top remaining starters on the market are Max Scherzer and James Shields, and although the Yankees have been linked to them simply by virtue of being the Yankees, it seems highly unlikely that Brian Cashman actually inks either of them to deal. Nor should he. Unless the Yankees can get Shields for no more than four years and $60 million, or Scherzer for no more than five years and $100 million, it doesn’t make sense for a team trying to get younger to sign either ace.

Two free agent names that are intriguing are Brandon Beachy and Chris Young. The two injury-prone starters have been very effective when healthy, but because of their injury histories, they wouldn’t cost too much on the free agent market. So why wouldn’t the Yankees take a flyer on one of them?

Of the two, Beachy is a more attractive option because he has less tear on his body, and is still only 29 years old. If he pans out, then the Yankees get terrific production for very little cost. If he doesn’t, the Yanks eat a couple of million dollars (if that), and run out Chris Capuano every fifth day.

For the most part, the Yankees’ offseason is over. There aren’t any major signings left for the team to make. But if the Yankees are really dedicated to competing in 2015, then a signing like Brandon Beachy could help put the team over the top in an increasingly competitive AL East.

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2 thoughts on “How the Yankees Can Still Improve”

  1. Agree the bullpen is much improved but countering that is the weakening of the rotation. Based on recent performance, CC is definitely a weak link also. Losing Kuroda, McCarthy, Greene, and Phelps will hurt the rotation and depth. Unlikely CC will replicate McCarthy ‘s performance, so Yanks really need smother starter, but aren’t going to pay for it. Not good. Nova is a total wild card if he even makes it back.

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  2. I agree with Kevin. CC is a question mark. Nova will be a question mark once he returns. Need another solid starter. Cole Hamels is available but I’m not sure at what cost. He’s the only one out there now that Scherzer has signed with Washington. Shields is another option. They can go younger, but you have to have some established players in there also!.

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