The New York Yankees entered the 2015 season with much transition and uncertainty. For starters Derek Jeter‘s retirement ushered in a new era of youngsters looking to assume the mantle set by their predecessors and begin their careers in a new tradition of pinstriped pride.
With close to 20 rookies making their big league debuts at one point or another during the summer, the Yankees relied heavily on their contributions and exceeded expectations for the most part, winning 87 games and hosting their first postseason game since their ALCS loss at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in 2012.
As Luis Severino, Gregory Bird, Didi Gregorius, and Rob Refsnyder looked to become potential mainstays in the coming years, veterans Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner regressed mightily at the plate and by year’s end the trio held the lowest batting averages in baseball after the All-Star break. The lack of offensive potency came to a head against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel in the AL Wild Card Playoff when the Cy Young candidate shut out the Bombers for six innings.
Relying heavily on Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and McCann, the Yankees were able to slug their way past miscues and battle the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East crown through September, despite ineffective and fragile starting pitching that finished eighth in the league in ERA with five starters spending time on the disabled list.
Entering the offseason, general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees organization will look to continue the philosophy instituted last winter, where the goal became getting younger and more athletic while bypassing the upper-tier free agents who once almost seemed destined to don the pinstripes someday.
With the Winter Meetings less than a month away, let us take a look at five possible free agent targets the Yankees may focus on as they look to capture their first World Series since 2009.