With a weak free agent class this year it is no surprise that the Yankees have stayed away from any big moves yet, but this is getting to be annoying. On Friday the team agreed to terms with Andruw Jones on a one year $2 million contract pending a physical. The veteran proved to be a valuable asset for the Yanks as a left handed bat off the bench hitting .247 with 13 home runs despite a slow start to the season.
Jones’ primary function will be against left handed pitching, which he excelled at in his first season in pinstripes. Jones wore out lefties to the tune of a .287 average and 16 extra base hits. He will be asked to make some spot starts for lefty Brett Gardner in left field against southpaws. With the resigning of Jones, the Bombers roster from 2011 is essentially intact. There has been no word yet on back up third baseman Eric Chavez. After a 13 year career riddled with injuries, it is possible the veteran will not return, however the Yankees will probably have a contract waiting for him if he chooses to return.
There are few moves out there to be made, but this isn’t the off season fans are used to. The highlights have been resigning of CC Sabathia and picking up arbitration on all eligible players. The biggest area of concern is still the pitching staff and right now it looks like the Yankees will have to bank on potential. The much maligned AJ Burnett is potentially an ace at his best and definitely a number two when mediocre, but he has yet to pitch well consistently in pinstripes. Rookie phenom Ivan Nova had a terrific first season, but how will he respond to the innings put on his arm this season and how will hitters adjust to him remains to be seen. We can expect more of the same from veteran Freddy Garcia, which is consistency and feasting upon impatient hitters. Phil Hughes had a rough year last season with a dead arm problem, which sidelined him for most of the season. When he returned, Hughes was a far cry from the 18 game winner of 2010. Right now he is a major question mark in the rotation.
The Yankees don’t have too much in the way of potential trade pieces. Their biggest piece would be Jesus Montero, but with Jorge Posada more than likely not returning and Montero’s fast start, the Yanks want to keep the young catcher in pinstripes. Eduardo Nuñez is another player who could move and I believe he will. With Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter under contract for the next four and three years respectively, there isn’t really a role for a talented young player like Nuñez.
While this team may not have been a championship club last season, they were contenders. Despite the flaws they did accumulate the most wins in the American League last season. If Hughes and Nova pitch to their potential, AJ achieves mediocrity and CC doesn’t break down late in the year, this could be a championship club.
How well can the Bombers fare with the same roster? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.