Robinson Cano wants $300 million, Curtis Granderson opts for free agency along with Hiroki Kuroda.
So what’s the plan in Yankee Universe: buy.
In an apparent move that will probably not put the Yankees near their hopeful $189 million payroll goal for 2014, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner will look a lot more like his late father when MLB’s free-agency goes into full swing next month.
"Even with [Alex Rodriguez] as our third baseman, we will have a fair amount of money to spend to try to fill the holes, and that's what we're going to do," Steinbrenner said Tuesday night in Orlando, Fla., during a break in MLB's general manager meetings.
So with money to burn in the Yanks pocket, the Yankees might just do something they haven’t really done in like last four years: spend money.
After they missed the playoffs in 2008, the last year of old Yankee Stadium, the Yankees spent about $500 million in the offseason, bringing in pitchers C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixiera.
The result? Just the Yankees 27th World Series title, defeating the then defending champion Philadelphia Phillies in six games, with the sixth game being in the Bronx.
One expense the Yankees handled already was re-signing, or the contract replacement of Derek Jeter to a one-year, $12 million deal.
"Given what Derek has meant to the organization, does mean to the organization, both sides needed to be comfortable with a number," he said. "We needed to come up with a number both sides thought was fair and that's what we did."
"Obviously, we've got a lot of holes and third base is not our only problem," Steinbrenner said. "We've got a lot of concerns, but we're going to keep plugging away, leave no stone unturned, as always. We've also got some pitching programs we've got to take care of. We've got to start filling those holes one by one."
Those holes include catcher, pitching staff, outfield, second and third base.
But we start with the supposed "$300 million man" Robinson Cano.
Is he worth a good chunk of money, yes. Since being called up in 2005, Cano has hit .309 for the Yanks including 204 homers and 822 RBI. He's hit over .300 in six of the last seven seasons, racked up six Silver Slugger awards, four consecutive all-star nominations since 2010, two Gold Gloves and helped the Yanks win the World Series in 2009.
But $300 million for 10-years, "ain't happening." Anywhere.
After guys like Albert Pujols and A-Rod have been busts in their long-term deals, teams around the league do not want to give anyone that kind of contract. But, a back-loaded, possible 6-7 year deal around the $160-$170 million range would be fair. Maybe then, hopefully, Cano will actually RUN to first base.
The Yankees are looking at Brian McCann and possibly Jarrod Saltalamacchia to man home plate in 2014, however it’s the outfield that might see some serious change. With guys like Shin Soo Choo, Hunter Pence, Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury potentially available, losing Granderson might not be as big of a loss as some think.
Although Curtis didn’t show much in 2013 after two freak hand injuries, let alone going a combined 2-for-15 in the Yanks finale in Houston, he hit 84 home runs in two healthy years in 2011 and 2012.
Pence would add a sense of leadership in the clubhouse, while Choo brings a .280 batting average from the last two years. And, he hits from the left side. Nearly perfect for Yankee Stadium’s 314-foot left field.
And then there’s third base.
While the Yankees along with the rest of the world await the A-Rod decision on his possible 211-game suspension, the Yanks could bring back Kevin Youkalis, who played all of 28 games for the bombers before a back injury ended his season. The Yankees are talking to St. Louis about a trade for former World Series MVP David Freese.
Freese batted .262 with nine homers and 60 RBI in 138 games for the Cards in 2013, however, couldn’t find his October magic against Boston in this year’s fall classic, going just 3-for-19 at the plate.
It’s November and the Yankees have options and money. The last time this happened, they won the World Series the following year.
Where some can build for a championship, the Yanks are aiming to do what they have done best for the past two decades: buy it.