Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What If the 2014 Offseason Never Happened?

The New York Yankees were unusually quiet during the offseason before the 2016 season signing as many major league free agents as I have major league at-bats in my life, zero. This was unusually surprising because the free agent market last winter was exceptionally strong so with a much thinner market this time around it shouldn’t come as a shock if the team remains quiet again this winter. The last time the Yankees went truly crazy on the free agent market was the big splash after big splash free agent market of 2014 where the New York Yankees signed Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka but looking back now three years later was it a good idea and what would the Yankees look like right now had that not happened?

Let’s start with the easy one in Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury did not deserve his seven-year and $153 million contract in my opinion and he has far from lived up to the hype and the expectations since signing it, also my opinion. I mean he has been healthy overall, which was a huge concern, but he has hit just 32 home runs in his three seasons in pinstripes, hasn’t sniffed a .300 batting average and his stolen base numbers (80 combined in three seasons) are way down from his monster numbers that he had in Boston before leaving for New York. Without Ellsbury the Yankees could have more room for players like Ben Gamel (who was traded to Seattle due to the outfield logjam), Mason Williams who impressed in another short stint in the Major Leagues and others. This Ellsbury contract is going to hurt in my opinion sooner rather than later, especially when you consider his no-trade clause.

Speaking of no-trade clauses one of these men who also got one but could still be traded as early as this winter, Brian McCann. McCann has been just as good as advertised and maybe better since coming to New York and he has been an absolute asset to the pitching staff. McCann, nor the Yankees, couldn’t have expected or predicted the emergence of Gary Sanchez coming onto the scene and exploding though which leaves both parties in a bit of a predicament. The McCann deal was a good deal and likely will be a good deal if he sees it till the end in New York.

Masahiro Tanaka and his deal has also been good thus far in my opinion and will remain good as long as he can avoid the dread TJS word that we won’t say here just in case. Tanaka has been consistent and he has been getting better and better as he adjusts to Major League Baseball. The Japanese-born right-hander has an opt-out clause upcoming into his contract after this season so that will likely be the true indicator of whether this deal worked or didn’t work for the Yankees.

The final piece of the puzzle may very well be the hardest to judge, the Carlos Beltran signing. Beltran’s beginning to his tenure in pinstripes was not a good one as an elbow injury limited his time in the field and his ability to hit the ball but it ended with him being one of the most consistent and possibly the best hitter in the Yankees lineup. Beltran is gone now, traded away to the Texas Rangers this winter for Dillon Tate, so this may be water under the bridge but to get the production out of him that the team did plus Dillon Tate seems like a big win to me.

So there you have it, what if the 2014 offseason never happened? The Yankees wouldn’t have enjoyed great production out of the catcher position, they wouldn’t have had a 25-year old ace join the fold and they would have missed out on some great moments and games from Carlos Beltran. McCann will likely be traded this offseason bringing in fresh prospects to join Dillon Tate who was acquired in the Beltran trade so all-in-all I believe the Yankees benefited from the 2014 offseason as a whole. Now if they could just get out from under that Ellsbury contract….

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)