The New York Yankees might need to improve, but they don’t have many holes. Unless they make a major trade that shakes up their roster, their only obvious opening is second base. That said, they could be on the starting- and relief-pitching market and might even surprise some by spending Mark Teixeira's money a year before his $180 million contract comes off the books.
So, as Wallace Matthews and I do every year in our helpful way, we are advising Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees’ front office with our feature: “Spend Hal's Money."
Today’s candidate: Alex Gordon
2015 numbers: 104 games, .271, 13 HRs, 48 RBIs, $12.5M salary
Opening Day age: 32
Pro: He is one of the better fielding outfielders in the game. His career OPS of .783 is pretty good. He has been an All-Star the past three years. Gordon, who was once hyped as the next George Brett, can play the game. He is no future Hall of Famer, but he has proven he can be a very important contributor on championship teams. He seems like the type of guy you would appreciate even more if you see him play daily.
Cons: His career OPS of .783 is not that much better than Brett Gardner's .738. He will likely cost much more than Gardner's $13 million average salary during the next three years (and maybe four based on an option). The Yankees would have to deal Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury -- who has an actual no-trade clause and a $153 million contract paired with declining production that acts like a virtual no-trade clause -- to have room for Gordon. So, at the moment, there is no space for Gordon. Plus, he is not that young at 32 on Opening Day 2016.
The Verdict: The Yankees have a left fielder in Gardner. They are listening to offers for him, so, in theory, they could deal Gardner and then sign Gordon to play left.
That is a lot to ask. Even if the Yankees were to deal Gardner, I doubt they would sign Gordon. He is approaching his mid-30s and is not the type of guy in whom they are looking to invest. The Yankees want to become younger and cheaper, and Gordon would not accomplish either of those. So I don't see him in a Yankee uniform.