The Mourning After for the Yankees

Yankees must balance final weeks against many other factors

In the next couple of days, there are going to be polls in the tabloids asking readers which Yankees should stay or go for next season. 

You don't really need to wait for the results because you know what they are going to say. Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and others will be told to get out of town after their miserable postseasons. 

It's meaningless, but there's obviously some emotional satisfaction to it because the tabloids do it at the end of every year and people go to the trouble of taking part. Brian Cashman's job isn't quite that easy, mostly because there are actually consequences to his actions.  

Take Rodriguez, for example. It's going to be a common refrain in the next few weeks that the Yankees should pull the trigger on a move to clear A-Rod off the roster by any means necessary with no thought about how much money you'll have to pay him to play for someone else. 

Emotionally satisfying, to be sure, but the realities are a bit more complicated. You'll have to spend money to replace Rodriguez, likely wiping out any savings you'd get for foisting off some portion of his contract, and the available free agents aren't likely to be any more productive than the player you're shipping out of town. 

You could potentially land a replacement in a Rodriguez trade, but if not, that's more treasure you'll have to spend in order to fill the spot without making any real alterations to a bloated payroll. That could still be worth it, but all of the angles matter. 

The same is true of Granderson, who has a $13 million option for next season that the Yankees would be silly to reject even if Granderson's become an all-or-nothing power hitter without much in the way of defense or speed. Such a player should have some trade value, should the Yankees really decide they don't want what he's selling. 

Which leads us to the next rub -- the Yankees don't actually seem to have much interest in radically revamping their offensive style while playing in a stadium that overwhelmingly rewards those that swing with power. Filling up that stadium is also a real and driving concern for the Yankees, so they aren't likely to strip things down to get lean and mean so it's best to stow some of the agitation about the size of the payroll. 

That could mean Granderson's 45 homers and 200 strikeouts remain part of the club because they aren't going to become the second coming of the Whitey Herzog Cardinals who win with stolen bases and a lot of bunt singles. It would be good to install some of that style into the lineup (can Ichiro Suzuki do what he did over the course of an entire season?) but the replacements for Swisher and Martin, both likely gone as free agents, are a likelier place to implement that change. 

Or not. There are a lot of ways the Yankees could go this offseason and every decision has its own tree of pros and cons that must be weighed before making the call. 

As cathartic as it would be to put A-Rod, Granderson and plenty of other guys on a slow boat to Kansas City, actual team building can't just be driven by the bad taste at the end of the season. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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