The New York Yankees are always willing to seek out new talent, if they feel it can help their ballclub, most times with no real salary concerns. This year the free agent of choice is pitcher Cliff Lee. The biggest difference this year is what to do with some veteran players they already have.
Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are Yankee icons. They are both free agents at the end of their careers. Most everyone feels it is a given that both will be Yankees again next year, and in fact end their careers there. Jorge Posada’s catching career is coming to an end. Luckily for him, they play in the American League, where he can be a designated hitter.
The interesting question here is, if these players were not already part of the team, would the Yankees pursue them through trade or free agency? The easiest decision of the three would probably be Mariano Rivera. He is the greatest closer in the game and didn’t show many signs of his age lat year. He also is only seeking a one year deal, knowing his career is coming to a close. If the Yankees didn’t already have him, they would probably be trying to get him.
Jorge Posada is something you don’t hear that often, a veteran catcher. The catching position takes more of a toll on a player than any other. Posada’s best catching days are behind him, but he does have value as a designated hitter. The question here is, if he wasn’t already a Yankee would they pursue him? Honestly, maybe, but he probably wouldn’t be their first choice. Adam Dunn is available, has more power, and can play more positions if need be, than Posada. Still his presence on the team, probably won’t be the reason they don’t make the postseason.
Derek Jeter, as hard as it may be to believe, may actually be the biggest reason the Yankees don’t make the postseason. Jeter will be a Yankee next year, probably for the next three years in fact. There probably wouldn’t be much debate, however, if the Yankees were looking for a shortstop, and it wasn’t a given he was going to be on the team, Jeter wouldn’t get much of a look. He is a Yankee icon, clutch player, and all around great guy. What he is not, is a top shortstop in the major leagues. If he wasn’t Derek Jeter he would of probably been moved to another position by now. Despite his Gold Glove, he does not make the team better in the infield. He will probably not be able to play as many games next year, and at his age an injury almost seems certain. The Yankees will have to carry a player to back him up, and dedicate $20 million in payroll.
The Yankees will always be a contender for the World Series. The money they are willing to spend will ensure this. The odd thing about this year is the move they won’t make could be their greatest obstacle. Derek Jeter will be the opening day shortstop for the Yankees, because he is Derek Jeter. Not because he was the best player they could find at that position through trade or free agency. Will it cost them?