The Yankees are notorious for busting out the checkbook during the winter and bringing top-class talent to the Bronx, but last season’s house-cleaning suggests they may be going into rebuilding mode. The Bombers have some promising young bats to turn to in the form of Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird, and still have some better-than-average arms like Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances on their staff, but there are seven American League clubs favored to win the pennant over them for a reason.
So will Brian Cashman break the bank once more? The Yankees have been linked to the hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman since they dealt him to the World Series Champion Cubs at the deadline last season, mainly because of an Instagram post that Chapman made that ended with the phrase “#newyorkyankees bye for now.”
“I think most players have had real positive experiences playing for us,” Cashman told the New York Daily News regarding Chapman. “I think we take care of our players and provide a lot of excess for them to be comfortable and successful. I know he had a great experience while he was here, as did we.”
Chapman is allegedly seeking a five-year deal worth in excess of $100 million, but there is great skepticism about what the market will bear with Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon and other elite relievers looking for deals as well. If Chapman lands elsewhere, a reunion with Boone Logan (.166 batting average against in 66 games for Colorado last season) would not be a bad idea.
The Yankees have also been connected to Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, but those rumors are largely unsubstantiated. Given their current ages and the enormity of the deals they are looking to land, signing one of them would suggest the Yankees would be trying to ‘win now,’ but the rest of their roster doesn’t put them in contention.
The Daily News’ Mark Feinsand has said that Carlos Beltran or Mike Napoli would make the most sense for the club given its current status, as neither veteran slugger would command more than a two-year deal.
Beltran was apparently well-liked in the clubhouse in his two-plus years as a Yankee, and there were no hard feelings when Beltran was traded to Texas at last year’s trading deadline.
“This organization has never been this,” Beltran said at the time. “But it’s the new baseball, man. It’s the new generation. Organizations no longer are making dumb decisions. They’re trying to make right decisions and smart decisions, and if they’re not contending, they’re going to get rid of some players and try to get something in return.”
Napoli hit 34 home runs and drove in 101 RBI in 150 games with the Indians last year. He’s been a menace when playing against the Bombers in his career (.300 average, 19 home runs and 57 RBI in 81 games) and would be a welcome addition in the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium.