There are a lot of top free agent lists out there, I just took the top-10 names I saw the most and put them into the post. My question is, if you were the Yankees or the Red Sox, would you sign any of them? Let’s look at the list
#1- Max Scherzer
The good- Incredible last two seasons in Detroit and he is 29.
The bad- Already turned down a six-year/$144-million deal so what will he cost?
#2- Jon Lester
The good- Proven winner in the AL East
The bad- He will be 31 this offseason and will cost a small forunte.
#3- James Shields
The good- Definition of workhorse. 8-straight years with 30-plus starts and 200-plus innings
The bad- Will be 33 when this contract starts and has a 5.49ERA in 60 postseason innings
#4- Pablo Sandoval
The good- Good production at a tough position and only 28.
The bad- Weight concerns and four-straight years of declining OPS.
#5- Hanley Ramirez
The good- Brilliant player when motivated and healthy.
The bad- Not always healthy or motivated. Can he still play enough defense to stay at short?
#6- Nelson Cruz
The good- Power that you don’t see that much anymore.
The bad- PED suspension, 34 years-old, bad defender. Seems destined to be a DH soon.
#7- Victor Martinez
The good- Offensive machine who is also a switch-hitter.
The bad- 36 and probably a DH only very soon.
#8- Melky Cabrera
The good- Has turned into a good offensive player and he is only 30
The bad- PED suspension.
#9- Yasmany Thomas
The good- Young guy with big power.
The bad- He is coming from Cuba so he will need to adjust to MLB.
#10- Russell Martin
The good- Good catcher defensively and offensively
The bad- 32 years old and will attract a premium price in a thin market.
So getting back to my original question, would you sign any of these guys if you were the Yankees or the Red Sox? Since I am the Yankee side of this blog, I will focus on that.
A guy like Lester or Scherzer would be nice, but pitching is not the Yankees problem and spending huge money on another starter seems foolish. Shields is more interesting to me as an innings sponge, but assuming he gets an arbitration offer from KC, I wouldn’t want to surrender the draft pick for him.
On the offensive side of things, Russell Martin isn’t needed and Melky Cabrera isn’t wanted. I wouldn’t go near Sandoval or Cruz. That leaves the three tempting players for the Yankees- Ramirez, Martinez, and Thomas.
Ramirez makes sense because the Yankees could put him at short now and move him to third later. He would be an upgrade to the position in 2015 and help an offense in need of fixing. But, is he worth the headaches? That’s the part I am unsure of. If the Yankees could get him for five years at most and $100-million or less, I think they would be very interested, but I would pass.
Victor Martinez would really help the offense, but where are you going to play him? Teixeira, A-Rod and Beltran are probably your 1b/DH combination already. Plus, Martinez is exactly the type of guy the Yankees should stop signing (old) so I would pass.
That leaves Thomas and he is intriguing. The scouts love his power, a commodity in short supply in MLB these days. But, there are questions about his OBP ability and his defense. The market for Cuban players has exploded, so he is going to cost a lot, and I think the Yankees could get better value elsewhere.
So if I am running the Yankees, I avoid all of these guys. I would look at guys like Headley and McCarthy and see what they want to stick around, but I would not give up a draft pick for any of the top free agents. Spend some money on short deals with lower-tier free agents and hope you hit on some of them. The Giants have shown that a wild card team can win the World Series, so the important thing is to qualify for the playoffs. With the right tweaks, that is attainable for the 2015 Yankees.