In the past, the Yankees have made some important free agent signings during Christmas season. Some of the deals turned into the favorite toys of the organization, while others despite the perceived promise turned into coal.
As we await the Yankees next free agent move, let's take a look back at some of those memorable agreements.
December 17, 2001 - Yankees sign free agent Jason Giambi
The Yankees signed Giambi to a seven-year, $120 million pact, one that got off to a rocky start as he tried to replace fan favorite Tino Martinez. Giambi didn't take long to have his signature Yankees moment as he smashed a huge walkoff grand slam home run in the 14th inning against the Twins on May 17, 2002. Giambi went on to mash 41 homers in each of his first two seasons in New York. Giambi, who made three All-Star teams with the Bombers, played 897 games in New York, hitting .260 with a .404 on-base percentage, .521 slugging percentage, 209 home runs and 604 RBIs.
December 19, 2002 - Yankees sign free agent Hideki Matsui
One year after Ichiro Suzuki became the first posted player from Nippon Professional Baseball to sign an MLB contract, Matsui signed outside of the posting system with the Yankees for $21 million over three seasons. Matsui leapt into Yankees lore, hitting a grand slam in the club's 2003 home opener. Matsui, a consistently clutch hitter for the Yankees, signed a four-year deal worth $52 million after the first deal concluded. Matsui was runner up in the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year balloting, a two-time All-Star selection and the 2009 World Series MVP. Across his seven seasons with the Yankees, Matsui hit .292 with a .370 on-base percentage and a .482 slugging percentage with 140 home runs and 597 RBIs.
December 20, 2004 - Yankees sign free agent Carl Pavano
To say that Pavano was a bust might be an understatement. After a sixth-place finish in the 2004 NL Cy Young Award voting (Pavano went 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 220 1/3 innings), he signed a four-year contract with the Yankees worth $39.95 million. Pavano succumbed to a slew of injuries during his time with the Yankees, including Tommy John surgery in 2007. Pavano pitched in just 26 games for the Yankees during the duration of the contract and the results - 5.00 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 145 2/3 innings - were just as miserable. Pavano is widely considered one of the worst contracts the Yankees ever doled out.
December 27, 2006 - Yankees purchase Kei Igawa from Hanshin Tigers
Two years after signing Pavano, the Yankees went back to Japan in hopes of finding a stud pitcher to match with Matsui and erase some of the bad vibes from the last Japanese pitcher the club had signed, Hideki Irabu. Igawa turned out to be a worse signing than Pavano. After paying the Hanshin Tigers just over $26 million in posting fees, the Yankees signed Igawa to a five-year, $20 million deal. Igawa was terrible; throwing just 71 2/3 MLB innings in the five seasons, to the tune of a 6.66 ERA and 1.76 WHIP. Igawa threw 533 innings in the minor leagues, recording a 3.83 ERA along the way, but he never cracked the big leagues over his final three seasons in the organization.
December 20, 2008 - Yankees sign free agent CC Sabathia
After Sabathia, already a Cy Young Award winner (2007), carried the Milwaukee Brewers to the 2008 postseason after a summertime trade, he cashed in on a seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees. Sabathia's signing paid immediate dividends as the Yankees went on to win the 2009 World Series. Sabathia finished fourth in Cy Young voting that season and followed that up with third and fourth place finishes the following two seasons. Sabathia, via a contract extension with a vesting option and two consecutive one-year deals will enter his 11th season with the Yankees in 2019, which he has already claimed to be his last season before retiring. In 284 games as a Yankee (1,810 2/3 innings), Sabathia owns a 3.74 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 1,593 strikeouts. Sabathia is closing in on 3,000 strikeouts (he's 14 away) for his career, one that could end up honored in Cooperstown with the interlocking N.Y. on his cap.
December 23, 2008 - Yankees agree to deal with Mark Teixeira
The Yankees, after claiming to not be interested in Teixeira, jumped into the fray nabbing the first baseman with an eight-year, $180 million contract. Like Sabathia, Teixeira had been traded during his walk year and excelled with his new club. And as with Sabathia, Teixeira made an immediate impact with the Yankees, as he hit 39 home runs and drove in 122 in the team's drive to its 27th World Series title. Teixeira finished second in AL MVP voting that season and the subsequent two seasons were strong. However, from that point Teixeira's production waned and his remaining time with the Yankees was riddled with injury issues, which included playing in just 15 games in 2013.