The New York Yankees have put together another active and aggressive off-season, signing a number of big names to beef up their lineup and account for the departure of second baseman Robinson Cano. Their new additions include catcher Brian McCann, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and the newly signed Carlos Beltran.
Let’s be clear: the so-called “riskiness” in question here has nothing to do with production. Sure, Cano is a top-five player in all of baseball right now, but the Yankees stand to comfortably replace his production and then some…if these guys stay healthy and if their older players age well enough. But that’s where things get iffy.
Carlos Beltran, age 36. Go back to 2009 and 2010 and it looked like this guy just wasn’t going to be able to stay on the field. He has been remarkably durable the last three seasons, but there is still a lot that can go wrong when you pay a 36-year-old outfielder $45 million over three seasons.
Ichiro Suzuki, age 40.
Vernon Wells, age 35. Oh, and he’s Vernon Wells.
Mark Teixeira – played only 15 games last season due to injury.
Jacoby Ellsbury – He only played 18 games in 2010 and 74 games in 2012. He is coming off a relatively healthy season, but would you be excited if your team threw $135 million at a guy with that history?
Derek Jeter – he turns 40 in June and has battled serious foot injuries. If they crop up again, think the baseball version of what Kobe Bryant is doing to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Alex Rodriguez – well, you know…
The Yankees might be awesome next season. They have certainly filled up a lineup with guys who can hit. The problem is, they had an opportunity to finally build some organizational depth, the lack of which has been their problem the last number of seasons. Instead they reloaded on another batch of talented but risky players. They are once again one or two bad breaks away from trotting guys like Jayson Nix and the aforementioned Wells out there in their everyday lineup.
Even the biggest believer in these guys has to admit that’s a bit shaky.