We’ve been talking a lot about football over the last few weeks with baseball games finished for the winter and hockey and basketball just getting their seasons underway. But that doesn’t mean we should completely ignore baseball, right?
In baseball the off season is almost as exciting as the postseason, odds to win the next championship are updated almost weekly impacted by the wheelings and dealings between players, their agents, and team owners and management lead to some pretty high drama. How much are the Yankees going to spend? Are they sticking to their $189 million budget to try and get under the luxury tax or will they go for broke and try to avenge their first missed playoffs since 2008? Is Robinson Cano destined to be a career Yankee or is some dark horse team out there going to give Cano his dream ten year contract for hundreds of millions of dollars? Will the crosstown Mets start acting like a big market team or will they continue to play second fiddle to the Bronx Bombers? Will Major League Baseball and Japan iron out the problems with the posting system in time for pitching phenom Masahiro Tanaka to land with a team, possibly the Yankees as they try to skirt around luxury tax restrictions?
All of these signings and moving players will have a tremendous impact on how the 2014 season will play out.
The biggest questions for the Yankees lie in how they can improve while keeping their salaries low. The Yankees are old and need to get younger because younger players are cheaper and typically improve as they get older. The problem is, the Yankees don’t have a good farm system. They’ve drafted heavy in pitching and catcher and neither position has yielded nearly as much talent as Brian Cashman had hoped. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes did not turn into the bonafide stars they thought they would. Betances and Banuelos have suffered injuries and performance setbacks while the catching prospects are either too young or unproven, leading to the signing of Brian McCann.
If the Yankees are going to make a run at the Red Sox and the rest of the American League, they will need some bounce back seasons from the rehabbing Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. They will need CC Sabathia to pitch like the ace they paid him to be. They will need Ivan Nova to continue his upward trend of great pitching. And they will need to be crafty in their dealings this winter if they want to build a foundation for a new dynasty. What are the odds of that?