As the 2014 MLB season closes and we look forward to the hot stove season nobody really knows what the plans for the Yankees are. My guess would be don't expect for the Yankees to sign any of the biggest names like Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or Nelson Cruz, but they are still the Yankees and you never know. Hal Steinbrenner has been resistant to having the payroll more than what it was last year. They haven't traded a big time prospect since Jesus Montero, so it's hard to see them acquiring a big name via the trade route with their new commitment to building up their farm system.
Other than shortstop, the Yankees have players under contract for big money at all the other positions. That's likely to hurt them on the market. Why would Pablo Sandoval or Melky Cabrera want to come here with Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran here?
It's hurts even more when trying to recruit part time players, which the Yankees desperately need with their injury risks. I think Mike Morse would be a great fit as a power righty bat, part time right fielder, first base and DH; but again why would he want to come here if he could get more playing time elsewhere?
The Yankees probably did most of their big spending last winter. They need those guys--particularly Beltran and Brian McCann-- to have bounce back seasons if they want to return to the playoffs after a two season drought. That's more important than likely moves they make this offseason.
McCann, Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury were the trio that as brought in to replace Robinson Cano. Elsbury had a passable season, but McCann and Beltran were big disappointments. If that does not change next year it does not matter what the Yankees do this winter.
There are silver linings for McCann's season last year. McCann threw out 37 percent of base runners last season, which led all MLB catchers and was awesome defensively behind the dish all season. Also, his 23 home runs were tied for 2nd most in his career.
McCann's overall hitting production fell to a 92 wRC+ and a .306 wOBA. This was due to horrible plate discipline (5.9 percent walk rate) and the shift taking away many of his hits (.231 BABIP). McCann's 22.2 percent line drive rate last season is above his career average, which indicates the shift was a big factor in him not getting more hits. He seemed more willing to try to go against it than Mark Teixeira has, so maybe a full offseason of work on that will do McCann some good.
Beltran has an injury excuse that McCann didn't have, but at his advanced age there is always the chance that could rear its ugly head in 2015 again. The silver lining for Beltran is when he was healthy he hit very well. In April he hit .263/.311/.516/.826 with a 124 wRC+ and hit .300/.354/.486/.840 with a 134 wRC+ in July when a cortisone shot in his elbow kicked in.
Unlike McCann, Beltran did see a drop in his line drive rate (16.5 percent) and a rise in his ground ball rate (44.2 percent). Beltran is a huge negative on defense, so his whole value will be dependent on his bat returning close to what it was for St. Louis in 2013.