Monday, November 24, 2014

Will Yankees overreact to Red Sox deals with Ramirez and Sandoval?

“Great, the Yankees are sleeping while the Red Sox win the offseason.” - ABC Yankee Fan

The New York Yankees have a tendency to create plans for the structuring of their roster and then perform a complete about-face when seemingly pushed into the corner by American League East rival Boston Red Sox.

The BoSox have reportedly signed a five-year, $90 million deal with Hanley Ramirez and apparently completed another five-year contract for just under $100 million with Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez and Sandoval were arguably the two best positional players in this year’s free-agent market. The Red Sox, after a 71-91 record and a last-place finish in 2014, are looking to jump right back into World Series contention.

The Red Sox have good depth in their farm system and might trade Yoenis Cespedes for pitching which they need. It’s true, the immediate future looks good in Beantown.

But, now that the Yankees have seen their nemesis make splashes within a 24-hour window, should they change the game plan of staying out of the high-ticket free agent market this offseason?

After spending close to $500 million in guaranteed contracts before the 2014 season, the word from Yankees’ camp has been that they would look to piece together their roster this offseason via trade and/or midtier free agents.

Will these signings push the Yankees into the Max Scherzer or Jon Lester sweepstakes? I’ve detailed at length the potential for either player coming to the Bronx here and here. I’m not sure the Yankees should become reactionary to signings they had no intention of making and simply because it was the Red Sox who made them.

The Yankees have been said to be interested in signing Brandon McCarthy and potentially another midtier starter to compensate for a rotation with loads of questions. They also need to fill the void left by the retirement of Derek Jeter at shortstop. Finally the Yanks will either decide to retain David Robertson as their closer, or move to fill a late-inning role in the bullpen with Andrew Miller being a top candidate.

With all of these needs, should the Yankees stay the course as laid out not long after they failed to reach the postseason for the second straight season? Or do they throw that idea in the scrapheap and make a move for Scherzer or Lester?

In my view, if the Yankees want Scherzer or Lester, it is fine, but it shouldn’t be because they lost out on two players they had no intention of signing, or because they are worried about who is headed to Boston, Toronto or elsewhere.

One thing seems certain. Once the ink dries on Sandoval’s deal, the Yankees will go to work on bringing Chase Headley back. I stressed in September that the Yankees would be wise to go full tilt with Headley. Now, with Sandoval signing for close to a nine-figure deal, the Yankees will have to shell out somewhere in the neighborhood of four years and $50 million as far as I can see.

The Yankees will likely have some competition from the San Francisco Giants and maybe the Toronto Blue Jays who were said to be eyeing Sandoval. It remains uncertain if the Padres will try to bring back Headley, though they did make an offer to Sandoval to fill the void left by trading Headley to the Yankees this past summer.

To sum up, the Red Sox got better (in the immediate future) but it should not push the Yankees into panic mode. Winning on the field is much more valuable than winning the offseason.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.