Brian Cashman made many signings before the 2014 season for the Yankees, but how well did each of those signings work out?
The Yankees were looking to regroup after a disappointing 2013 season that saw them finish 85-77. Derek Jeter would be playing his final year as a Yankee and retire after the season. The thought was that a team should be assembled to, hopefully, send Jeter out in style.
The first big move Cashman made was signing longtime Braves catcher and seven-time All-Star Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal with a vesting option for a sixth year. In his three seasons with the Yankees, McCann hit .235 with 69 home runs. He was not able to replicate his .275 career average in Atlanta but still gave the Yankees two and a half solid years behind the plate until Gary Sanchez was called up in August 2016.
Not long after McCann was signed, the Yankees announced that Jacoby Ellsbury would sign with the Yankees to a seven-year, $153 million contract. Ellsbury was signed in hopes of being the everyday center fielder, but also creating a speedy one-two combo with Brett Gardner at the top of the lineup.
Ellsbury would have a couple of decent seasons with the Yankees but came nowhere close to living up to his contract. He would play in only 520 games in pinstripes over seven years, none of which came after the 2017 season. It was not a matter of not being able to produce stats, but a matter of injury after injury and setback after setback. The Yankees released him following the 2019 season with one year remaining on his contract. It has been regarded as one of the worst contracts in all of baseball.
In attempts to bolster their outfield even more, the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million contract to play right field. Beltran was 36 at the time of the signing and had a higher offer from another team, but wanted to play for the Yankees. He was able to produce well in pinstripes, hitting .270 with 56 home runs and 180 RBIs in his two and a half seasons in New York.
The final big signing of the offseason was a pitcher who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan during the 2013 season. His name is Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka would sign with the Yankees to a seven-year, $155 million deal that included an opt-out after the fourth season and a full no-trade clause.
In six seasons with the Yankees, Tanaka has a 75-43 record in 163 starts with a 3.75 ERA. One trait that Tanaka has shown is that he is capable of pitching when it matters most. In eight postseason starts, he has a career 1.76 ERA. He is currently in the final year of his contract and is expected to hit free agency at the end of the season.
Cashman made four major signings during this offseason. One did not work out at all, one worked out very well and two worked out decently. At the end of the day, no World Series was won. But there is still time for that to occur.