Amid all the craziness that has ensued this offseason, it’s pretty remarkable that the New York Yankees have been fairly quiet thus far. The typically free spending front office lead by Brian Cashman kept themselves out of the market for high price free agent talent like Jon Lester and Hanley Ramirez, despite the teams need for starting pitching and offense. Instead, the Yankees fortified the back end of their bullpen by inking former Red Sox left hander Andrew Miller to a lucrative 4 year, $36 million deal. Last season in split time with the Red Sox and Orioles, the 30-year old posted an ERA of 2.02, and collected an astonishing 103 strike outs in 62.1 innings pitched. Together with young late innings hurler Dellin Betances, the Yankees bullpen appears to be in good hands following the departure of closer David Robertson. Speaking of departures, the Yankees were also tasked with finding a new everyday shortstop for the first time 20 years. In turn, the team acquired young infielder Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three way trade that also involved the Detroit Tigers. The 24-year old Netherlands native is know more for his glove work than his offense, which accounted for a .226/.290/.363 slash last season. Joining Gregorious on the left side of the infield, the Yankees were able to retain free agent third baseman Chase Headley, whom the team acquired from the San Diego Padres during last seasons non-waiver trade deadline. While the 30-year old finished the season with an unimpressive .243/.328/.372 slash, he enjoyed a lot of success upon joining the Yankees as he posted a .262 average and a .371 on-base percentage. New York remained quietly busy into December, as the team hooked up with the Miami Marlins on a deal which sent utility man Martin Prado and reliever David Phelps to Florida, and netted the Yankees young starter Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones, and a minor league pitcher. For New York, the 24-year old Eovaldi represents a hard throwing, but hittable, middle of the rotation arm. Last season in Miami, the right hander surrendered 223 hits over 199.2 innings of work. As for Jones, the veteran lefty figures to be a bench asset for the team considering all his playable positions are filled. However, Jones has the career tendencies to take advantage of Yankees Stadiums short right field porch.
- While Mookie Betts’ position on the field isn’t set in stone just yet, his spot in the batting order is all but penciled in. The Red Sox spent most of last season searching for a player who could fill the void that Jacoby Ellsbury left atop the order. However, Grady Sizemore, Daniel Nava, and Brock Holt all failed to capture the lead spot for Boston. Betts then came along and proceeded to boast the speed, patience, and power the team had been looking for out of their leadoff man. (Mookie Betts odds-on favorite to lead off for Red Sox in 2015)
- As the Red Sox offseason shopping list winds down, there’s still one more item that Ben Cherington would like to check off. The third year general manager admitted the team is still in the market for a relief pitcher to fortify the bullpen. While the team has some internal options at the minor league levels, the free agent market presents names that could fill the void for Boston. (Building bullpen has become end-all, be-all for Red Sox)
- In order to enjoy sustained success over the course of a grueling 162 game schedule, a team’s roster must feature depth. Therefore, the current construct of the Red Sox roster has set the team up to withstand injury or under performance that a starter endures in 2015. From the outfield, to the infield, to behind the plate, Boston should view their often discussed roster “logjam”, more like a roster insurance plan. (The first line of defense: How a deep Red Sox team can weather most storms)
- Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo has made large strides towards a successful rookie season in the majors. After spending time on both the Red Sox minor league and major league roster towards the end of the season, the 27-year old has found enjoyed a fruitful offseason while playing in the Arizona Fall League and Puerto Rico winter league. Castillo’s manager and former Red Sox infielder, Alex Cora, had nothing but high praise for the Cuba native, citing his defensive skills in particular. (Rusney Castillo continuing to find success in Winter League)
— Alex (@ac13alex) December 23, 2014