By Sweeny Murti
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The Yankees officially have a new face. I know Derek Jeter is still here — and this is certainly not any disrespect to The Yankee Captain. But the reality is that there are only two players signed for more than four years and they are Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann.
Ellsbury and McCann are not home-grown fan favorites, but they do represent a commitment to up-the-middle talent that teams crave. Neither will play a game for the Yankees in their twenties, but they are still considered in their prime. These are the players that the Yankees will be anchored around for the rest of this decade.
Of course, Jeter is coming back in 2014, but with no guarantees after the severe injuries and certainly no guarantees beyond that. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia are signed for three more years. A-Rod is actually signed for four more years, but how much of that he sees on the field is anyone’s guess.
Robinson Cano left for greener pastures in Seattle, marking a defection by the player who logically would bridge and connect past Yankee teams to future ones. It was a calculated decision by the Yankees to not get tied down to Cano for the ten-year period the Mariners committed to him. But as they move on, they must find the next core of players that the Yankees hope will lead them to more championships.
Ellsbury and McCann have not played a single game yet for the Yankees. But by committing nearly $250 million to these two players, there is no mistaking the message—these two guys are the foundation to what the Yankees hope will lead to a successful decade.
Will the rest of the core come from within? That’s the goal, for sure. Here is the newly-released list of the Yankees Top 10 Prospects from Baseball America:
1: Gary Sanchez, catcher
2: Slade Heathcott, outfielder
3: Mason Williams, outfielder
4: J.R. Murphy, catcher
5: Eric Jagielo, third baseman
6: Aaron Judge, outfielder
7: Ian Clarkin, left-handed pitcher
8: Greg Bird, first baseman
9: Luis Severino, right-handed pitcher
10: Gosuke Katoh, second baseman
Baseball America has another list of top players 25 and under, and Michael Pineda slides into this list at number 5, so he is essentially on the top prospects list too. The Yankees certainly believe Pineda will compete next spring as a healthy pitcher and will contribute in 2014, but just how much is hard to know after missing the last two seasons.
You know who wouldn’t have looked bad as the Yankees fourth starter next year? Bartolo Colon. But the two-years, $20 million he got from the Mets is much more than the Yankees needed to spend. Still, that’s the type of move the Yankees might have to make if they don’t land Masahiro Tanaka, if and when he is finally posted.
Follow Sweeny Murti @YankeesWFAN.
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