As we have written, this will not be a Boss-like winter for the Yankees. Instead it will be about the new boss, Hal Steinbrenner, and his $189 million spreadsheet.
So when you look at Keith Law’s top 50 free agents list, it is more a matter of who the Yankees will lose than who they will gain. The Yankees make up more than 10 percent of Law’s list.
It is more fun to look at who makes sense for the Yankees than who will go, so let’s start there. As we mentioned early this offseason, Torii Hunter makes a lot of sense. He might be older, but that means the Yankees could get him on a shorter-term deal.
One note to Torii, don’t use Law as a reference on his resume. Law has Hunter at a respectable No. 17, but then writes this:
Hunter is one of the most respected players in the game by both fellow players and members of the media, so it pains me to rain on his free-agent parade. But what you saw from Hunter in 2012 isn't at all indicative of what he's going to provide on his next deal.
He's been losing bat speed for the past few years and compensated this season by being much more aggressive earlier in the count, even if the pitch in question wasn't one worth swinging at. His power is diminished, and he's not going to hit .390 on balls in play again, so what you're likely buying is a .330 OBP guy who plays a very good right field and has great makeup. That's a solid player -- an everyday guy -- but nothing more, with the downside risk of any position player in his late 30s. (Torii Hunter is in his late 30s. That sounds very, very wrong to me.)
I'd take him for a year without hesitation, but if the .313 average makes someone go three years or more, they are asking for trouble.
The Yankees will likely offer Hunter a one-year deal, maybe two at most. I could see the Yankees trading Curtis Granderson, opening up center for Brett Gardner and then employing Hunter and Ichiro Suzuki as the team’s corner outfielders.
On Law’s list, the Yankees have two players in the Top 10. They would like to keep No. 5 Hiroki Kuroda and they are expected to lose No. 10 Nick Swisher. The Yankees are waiting on Mariano Rivera (No. 12) and, if Mo retires, they will wait for the price tag on Rafael Soriano (No. 14) to come down.
The Yankees would like to keep Ichiro Suzuki (No. 25) and Russell Martin (No. 36), but teams -- dare we say it -- may outspend the Yankees.
One sleeper for the Yankees could be Joakim Soria (No. 31), who the Yankees have liked out of the pen. He could be put into the closer mix if Mariano and Soriano are not back. If Rivera returns, the Yankees could possibly sign Soria and have him learn under Rivera for a year.
QUESTION: When you look at list, who do you want to see come and go?