Patience is not something the New York Yankees or the city of New York are known for. Yet, this year, the Yankees are being cautious in their offseason dealings. They have not pursued the few free-agent megastars, and even more uncharacteristically, the Yankees have refused to overpay for mediocre talent. This restraint actually has the Bronx Bombers looking better than the team that took the field last year, as can be seen by some of the cautious moves listed below.
Adding Kevin Youkilis. When Alex Rodriguez went down, it looked like an excuse for the Yankees to lure Josh Hamilton into wearing pinstripes. Instead, the New York chose Youkilis to fill the very small void in the lineup created by A-Rod’s injury. Youkilis is an improvement over A-Rod in almost every way. In 2012, he outhit the Yankees biggest signing mistake, having one more home run and three more RBIs. Rodriguez did have a noticeably higher batting average and an attitude. Youkilis comes over in a year $12 million deal less than half the average salary Hamilton will make after signing a five-year contract with the Angels. But the best part of snagging Youkilis is his performance in the playoffs. He plays to win, and he prefers giving his complete dedication to the playoffs and not to random women in the stands.
Replacing Nick Swisher with Ichiro Suzuki. Does Swisher hit more home runs? Yes. Has Swisher had more RBIs in the past few seasons? Yes. Does Swisher come through in the postseason? No! Swisher’s power was a nice plus in the New York Yankees lineup, but he lacked the speed and defensive skill necessary to win championships. And in terms of last year’s postseason, Suzuki, not Swisher, put up the far better offensive numbers. Suzuki also will receive $13 million over two years, a nice contract for the Yankees to take on, as Ichiro’s total deal is about half of what Swisher will receive per year in his new contract with the Cleveland Indians.
Bringing back Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte. Two talented pitchers are returning to the Yankees for one more year and another shot at a title. Both had very good seasons in 2012, with Kuroda leading the Yankees in wins, while Pettitte had an under 3.00 ERA. Pitching was not the problem when the Yankees were swept by the Detroit Tigers the playoffs. And by re-signing these two starters, the New York Yankees will be competitive this year and have flexibility to add more talent in the future, while not breaking the bank.