There was a time when the Yankees might have offered a swift response to the Red Sox, who reached deep into their pockets Monday to snag two of the most potent bats on the free-agent market.
But for now, the Yankees don't seem keen on throwing a counterpunch. Even after their bitter rivals reportedly laid out a combined $188 million to sign Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval during a flurry that unfolded over a few frantic hours, a source said the moves will have "no impact" on the Yankees' larger offseason plans.
But Sandoval's new contract nonetheless could affect the Yankees in one critical area: their desire to re-sign Chase Headley. With Sandoval off the board, Headley, 30, is the most attractive third baseman on the free-agent market. His prospects for a big payday appear bright.
Sandoval agreed to a five-year deal with the Red Sox worth roughly $100 million, according to CBSSports.com. Ramirez agreed to a four-year, $88-million contract, according to foxsports.com, with a $22-million vesting option that could push the ultimate value to five years and $110 million.
Neither player had appeared to be on the radar for the Yankees, who have shown little appetite to splurge this offseason. On Monday, a source said the team has remained quiet of late. Of course, the Yankees have changed tactics in the past, and competition for Headley's services could change the equation.
After his midseason trade from the Padres, Headley, 30, hit .262/.371/.398 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 58 games for the Yankees. As a switch hitter with a steady glove at third base, he could provide protection against some of the uncertainty surrounding Alex Rodriguez, who at 39 is coming off a one-year Biogenesis suspension.
But the Yankees likely won't be alone in the chase for Headley. The Giants must replace Sandoval, who along with Ramirez will help to anchor the reconfigured Red Sox.
Ramirez, 30, battled injuries in recent years, and his subpar defense at shortstop likely will prompt the Red Sox to move him to leftfield. Still, he remains dangerous at the plate, hitting .283 with 13 homers in 128 games for the Dodgers.
Sandoval, 28, had been a rock for the Giants despite constant questions about his weight. Nicknamed "Panda," he was the World Series MVP in 2012. He hit .279 with 16 homers in 2014 and played stellar defense at third base during the Giants' latest championship run, their third in five seasons. His 26 postseason hits this year set a record.