Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yankees Spend More Money on Outfield, Extend Gardner

So much for all that talk earlier in the off-season about the Yankees trading Brett Gardner. New York finalized a long term 4-year, $52 million deal with the speedy outfielder to be the team's left fielder for the forceable future.

The move is a complete 180 from where the Yankees were on Gardner's status within the organization. After the club signed former Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury to a mega contract, Gardner was pushed out of center field, and became a bargaining chip if the Yankees decided to trade him.

The Yankees already had aging outfielders Alfonso Soriano, likely a DH in 2014, and Ichiro Suzuki along with Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Short term, the Yankees could have survived if they traded away Gardner, but perhaps with a eye toward 2015 and 16, GM Brian Cashman felt obligated to keep Gardner, who is only 30 years old.

With that move, however, the Yankee still have not spent a dime on fixing the problems at third base and second base. The Yankees have spent $247 million on the outfield this year, with only cheap pickups for second and third in the form of Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson.

While the Yankees are off the hook for this year anyway, regarding the Alex Rodriguez contract, perhaps the fact that New York will owe him $61 million from 2015-17 is strangling what the Yankees could and should do with the infield.

Instead New York is going to rely on aging stars like Beltran, and Soriano, an overpaid Ellsbury, an oft-injured Mark Teixiera and Derek Jeter on his last victory lap to get the team to the top. That is why New York's pitching will be so important this year; hence Mashario Tanaka, who has looked brilliant so far in camp, along with returning aces CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.

While the Yankees certainly won the off-season, and have been no strangers to spending -- the question will be when the games begin for real was it enough?

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