The New York Yankees might need to improve, but they don’t have many holes. Unless they make a major trade that shakes up their roster, their only obvious opening is at second base. That said, they could be on the starting and relief pitching market, and might even surprise some by spending Mark Teixeira's money a year before his $180 million contract comes off the books.
So, as Wallace Matthews and I do every year in our helpful way, we are advising Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees’ front office with our feature: “Spend Hal’s Money."
Today’s candidate: Wei-Yin Chen
2015 numbers: 11-8, 3.34 ERA, $4.75 million
Opening Day age: 30
Pros: The Yankees could use a lefty like Chen. Yankee Stadium is famously more conducive to lefties than righties and, as currently constituted, CC Sabathia is the only lefty with a chance to be in the Yankees' 2016 rotation. Chen could make the Yankees' staff deeper, while adding another lefty to the mix. He has already proven he can pitch in the AL East.
Cons: The usual 2016 items are in play. The Yankees are trying to avoid long-term contracts for 30-something starters. Since he turned down the qualifying offer, Chen would cost the Yankees the 22nd pick in the draft. The Yankees don't seem to have much money to spend. Chen is not perfect, but the factors that harm his case really don't have much to do with him.
The Verdict: It seems very doubtful Chen will be a Yankee, unless his market is very small and the Yankees could sign him to a three-year deal. I don't see that happening, of course. Even if somehow the three-year deal is in play, Steinbrenner is pretty intent on keeping that 22nd pick in the team's effort to get younger.
The one caveat is if the Yankees were to clear some payroll by trading either Andrew Miller or Brett Gardner -- or both -- to bring in young players. This would alleviate the possible loss of losing the No. 1 pick and perhaps put Chen in play. So it is not impossible, but just not the most likely outcome.