2015-16 Yankees Offseason Guide and Predictions

Before we get started on the offseason, lets take a look back at the 2015 season and how it was more successful than you’d probably think.

2015 Season in Review

Spring training came around, the predictions came in and many chose the Yankees to be in the cellar of the AL East, and it came with good reason, too. 1. the Red Sox just signed some shiny new FAs (Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval) and looked primed for a worst to first kind of season. 2. The Captain (Derek Jeter) finally called it quits to his soon to be HOF career. 3. The starting DH  hasn’t played a game in a full year, the starting 1B cant stay healthy, and the starting SS has to fill the biggest shoes ever left behind. Now it’s time for the season and all of sudden this run-of-the-mill team looking to just finish around .500 starts winning. Relatively no analysts believed that entering the All-Star break this team would be in first place in the division and primed for a playoff run. Then came the trade deadline. It came and it went and like many other deadlines, there were a lot of rumors and not a lot of trades. In the end the Yanks came up with Dustin Ackley, who some said would hurt their chances of making the playoffs, and the Blue Jays went all in and traded for All-Stars Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, while also acquiring the solid OF Ben Revere. However, failing to make the classic over the top Yankees move was the best play for GM Brian Cashman. Going into this season, the plan was for a rebuilding year, so whatever level of success they could obtain would be an add on to another year of development from top prospects Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Jorge Mateo. The second half of the season came and, as everyone expected, the Blue Jays took the divison lead and ran with it. However, without key injuries down the stretch to Mark Teixeira, Nathan Eovaldi, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda, it could have been more competitive than it was. With those injuries came the emergence of Luis Severino and Greg Bird, but also the sting of a one game home playoff series loss leading to the key 2016 Offseason.

2016 Off-season

2016 Payroll: $182,767,857

2016 Opening Day Expected Payroll: $235,000,000

Money to Work With: $52,232,143

Yankee’s own Free Agents

Chris Young (RH OF): Chris Young put in a great season as a platoon OF against lefties, as his OPS against them was .972. With the Yanks recent addition of Aaron Hicks, it seems all but certain he will be signing elsewhere this Winter.

Verdict: Won’t Re-sign

Chris Capuano (LHP): Chris Capuano 2 years ago was a great innings eater for the Yankees, but 2015 was not the same and he got smacked around on more one occasion and was DFA’d 4 times.

Verdict: Won’t Re-sign

Stephen Drew (LH 2B,SS): A slick fielding middle infielder who lost the ability to hit, batting .201, and at times looked lost even in the field. With the emergence of Rob Refsynder, and Dustin Ackley still under contract he seems destined somewhere else.

Verdict: Won’t Re-sign

Sergio Santos (RHP): Made 2 Appearances with the Yankees before tearing his UCL, which requires TJ surgery.

Verdict: Won’t Re-sign

Potential Free Agent Signings


Daniel Murphy (LH IF), Possible Offer (4 yrs $50 million): Most people would say, “oh, Daniel Murphy re-signed with the Mets good for them,” but the team on the other side of town has a great shot at signing the NLDS and NLCS hero. A favorable ball park would lead to great power numbers for the left handed hitting 2B. But with his glove as a concern and no room at DH, the Yankees will be reluctant to sign him for top dollar.

(Received Qualifying offer)

Verdict: Won’t Sign

Howie Kendrick (RH 2B), Possible Offer (3 yrs $40 million): Howie Kendrick has always been an above average fielder and an average hitter. In recent years, his hitting has improved and his fielding has not shown a decline, so a 3 yr deal would be worth the risk of putting him under contract until he’s 35 at $13.3 million a year, an increase over his last high of $9.5 million.

(Received Qualifying offer)

Verdict: Will Sign

Ben Zobrist (SH plays everywhere but P,C), Possible Offer ( 3 Yrs $48 Million)  The guy who can play anywhere and play it well is finally a free agent. He enters the year at the ripe age of 34 after proving his worth with the Royals, anchoring the team in the second half and the playoffs, all the way to a World Series win. Zobrist is due for a huge pay raise over the $2.828 million he made last year, but the Yankees are looking for a younger solution so he might have to get it somewhere else.

Verdict: Won’t Sign

Sean Rodriguez ( RH plays everywhere but P,C), Possible Offer (1 yr $3 million): He’s 4 years younger and will do the same as Zobrist, but at a lower level. S-Rod will be looking for a 1 year, prove-it-or-you’re-gone contract after a poor showing towards the end of last year.

Verdict: Will Sign (Brendan Ryan likely to be released after)

Alex Gordon (LH OF), Possible Offer (5 yrs $100 million): The best fielding LF in the AL since his switch from 3B, and he’d add a great bat to the Yankees line up. The catch in this signing would be the likely trade of Brett Gardner to both free up the spot in LF and the necessary cap room to do it. Also preserves another year of Aaron Judge developing in AAA.

(Received Qualifying offer)

Verdict: (Gardner traded) Will Sign , (Gardner not traded) Won’t Sign

Starting Pitchers

Wei-Yin Chen (LHP), Possible Offer (4 yrs $50 million): The lefty from Taiwan has been very consistent since he came over with the Orioles, and now it’s time for him to leave Baltimore since they seem destined to enter a rebuilding phase. Chen would be a fit in the Yankees rotation with the team searching for a lefty, but as a fly ball pitcher, he would not fair well in the hitter friendly confines of Yankee Stadium.

(Received Qualifying offer)

Verdict: Won’t Sign

Mike Leake (RHP), Possible Offer (4 yrs $60 million): Pursuit of the 28 year old will be high, as he avoided the Qualifying Offer bug that plagues teams on the FA market. Again, like Chen, he is a fly ball pitcher and will look to go to a spacious park. My bet is Seattle.

Verdict: Won’t Sign

Jeff Samardzija (RHP), Possible Offer (2 yrs $30 million): The Shark has been linked to the Yankees before in trade rumors, but nothing ever materialized. After a poor year, this is a-show-me-what-you-got contract that the Yankees may pull the trigger on due to a desperate need for a consistent innings eater in the middle of the rotation.

Verdict: Will Sign

Jordan Zimmerman (RHP), Possible offer ( 6 yrs $120 million): This guy is filthy. Yes, last year was a down year, but that was after being casted off to the back of the rotation. It’s also important to mention that he still ended the year on a high note. Signing Zimmerman would solidify the front of the rotation for years to come with the combo of Zimmerman, Tanaka, and Severino, followed by Pineda and a mix of Sabathia, Warren, and Nova in the back end. This deal will only get done if Alex Gordon is not signed.

Verdict: 60/40 Won’t sign.

 Relief Pitchers

Darren O’Day (RHP) Possible Offer (3 yrs $25.5 million): The 33 year old reliever has been killing it with the Orioles the past 3 years and now is going to look for a job elsewhere. The Yankees might be that place, as they are looking for another durable arm at the back of the bullpen to take some of the load off star reliever Dellin Betances (most used reliever in past 2 seasons).

Verdict: Will Sign

Tyler Clippard (RHP), Possible Offer (3 yrs $20 million): He’s a home grown boy, but a reunion is not likely, as Clippard is looking for a closer or set-up man role. Washington maybe?

VerdictWon’t Sign

Antonio Bastardo (LHP), Possible Offer (3 yrs $15 million): Bastardo put together a great 2015 campaign, which might earn him a set-up man role. If there isn’t one out there for him, look for Bastardo to return to the Bucs in the same or maybe even an increased role.

Verdict: Won’t Sign

Salary Cap left after Free Ageny


Potential Trades

Rob Refsnyder, Adam Warren, and Chasen Shreve


Aroldis Chapman (LHP CIN)

Why This Trade Could Happen:

Cincinnati: The Reds are in full blown fire sale mode and looking to get younger and less expensive, so getting a potential starting 2B, a now proven MLB pitcher who can start, and a reliever who has shown he can pitch at the big leagues at half of the cost of your closer seems like a great deal. It might not seem like enough on the surface, but the Reds don’t have much leverage in this situation.

Yankees: The Yanks need another strong arm at the back of the bullpen. With the pitching they have, Warren is an expendable piece. Prize prospect Jorge Mateo might have to move to 2B, with the emergence of SS Didi Gregorious pushing Refsynder out of a job. Finally, swapping Shreve for Chapman in the bullpen seems like a great deal to me for the Yanks.

Rob Refsynder and Ivan Nova


Hanley Ramirez (RH SS, 3B, LF, 1B BOS)

Why This Trade Could Happen:

Boston: The Han-Ram wore out his stay just 1 year into his contract in Boston, so they are looking to trade him. With the growing age of Dustin Pedroia and the Sox looking to get younger, Refsynder looks like a good fit to to fill in after Pedroia is gone. Ivan Nova would add a more consistent pitcher to the end of the rotation, since the back end of Boston’s rotation has caused many problems over the past 2 years.

Yankees: The Yankees could use another big bat in their lineup, but it comes at a cos.t I know it is listed that Hanley can play all those positions, but he can’t play any of them well. Sadly, any defense at 3B could be an upgrade over Chase Headley, as the former Gold Glover lead the AL in errors last year to go with an unspectacular year at the dish. The one snag in this deal could be the fact that the Yankees and Red Sox will be stubborn about trading within the division, but I’m hoping Dombrowski sees the value in this deal.

Brett Gardner


James Paxton and Charlie Furbush (Both LHP SEA)

Why This Trade Could Happen

Seattle: Gardner is a reliable hitter and solid defender, which the Mariners desperately need in CF and at the top of the line up. Look for Gardner to make the Mariners more of a legit contender, rather than the pretender they were last year.

Yankees:  The Yankees are looking to get some younger pitching out of their all-star OFer after he posted a career 1st half and an abysmal 2nd half of the year. Paxton would fill out the back of the rotation and Furbush could be a reliable innings eater in the middle of the bullpen. Also, the Yankees would need the cap space to sign some high level FAs.

Yankees Projected 25-man roster

(Barring no Trades or Free Agents)

C-Brian McCann

1B-Mark Teixeira

2B-Rob Refsynder

3B-Chase Headley

SS-Didi Gregourious

LF-Brett Gardner

CF-Jacoby Ellsbury

RF-Carlos Beltran

DH-Alex Rodriguez

SP1-Masahiro Tanaka

SP2-Michael Pineda

SP3-Nathan Eovaldi

SP4-Luis Severino

SP5-CC Sabathia

CL-Andrew Miller

SU-Dellin Betances

Long-Adam Warren

RP1-Justin Wilson

RP2-Ivan Nova

RP3- Chasen Shreve

LHS- James Pazos

BEN1-Gary Sanchez

BEN2-Dustin Ackley

BEN3-Aaron Hicks

BEN4-Brendan Ryan


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