New York Yankees Offseason Preview

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New York Yankees Offseason Preview

Shane Palma, Editor in Chief

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I’m not going to lie, as a Yankees fan, it hurt to watch the World Series. Not only was it painful to see the Red Sox parade around Boston blasting “New York, New York”, but witnessing former Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi make opposing hitters look like minor leaguers was a stake to the heart. Especially since he was available at the trade deadline and the Bombers’ biggest weakness was pitching. But that’s all in past, and free agency is almost here! For fans whose team didn’t make the playoffs, dreams of their team signing one of this year’s superstars have replayed in their heads since October 1. And now, as Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, every ballclub has that same vision in mind.

If you poll Yankee fans across the area, you will almost surely get one of two answers to the question, who do you want General Manager Brian Cashman to sign? Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. (Although there might be some who would like both. But George Steinbrenner is no longer around to make THAT happen.)

The offseason that has been hyped for almost three years has finally arrived, and with it, comes two players who can shape a franchise for the next decade. This article won’t be a debate over who is the better player, but more of who I think the Yankees will end up giving a ludicrous contract to. One of them? Both? Neither? Find out below as I breakdown New York’s biggest needs heading into 2019.

Acquire Starting Pitching

It’s obvious. It’s been obvious for the past three seasons. Yes, Cashman has done a phenomenal job with acquiring hidden and surprising offensive talent (Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, and most recently Luke Voit) but pitching has been merely patched together with worn-out duct tape. Yes, trading for J.A. Happ was a great move that I strongly advocated for, but more needed to be done before the Yankees could expect to compete with the likes of Boston and Houston, the two most recent World Series Champions. Last offseason, rumors swirled for what seemed like an eternity that former Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole would soon wear the pinstripes. Well, Cashman never pulled the trigger and the Astros pounced on the opportunity. Cole went on to dominate in 2018 and nearly led the Astros to another World Series appearance. With speculation that both the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians could be sellers this offseason, the Yanks must take advantage. James Paxton, Carlos Carrasco, and Corey Kluber are all available and any of the three could easily be the missing piece to add another ring. If that option fails, Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin, two filthy lefties, are both available as free agents. **UPDATE: Yankees have resigned CC Sabathia to a 1-year, $8 million contract. This does not impact any of my predictions but is still noteworthy.

MY PREDICTION: Yankees sign Patrick Corbin to a 5-year deal, Yankees trade Clint Frazier and other prospects to the Mariners for Paxton.

Keep The Bullpen Intact

It was the team’s biggest strength coming into the season, and after getting past a rocky start, each man proved his worth down the stretch. Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Johnathan Holder and Chad Green all had their moments of dominance and would serve vital roles for a potential World Series run in 2019. Unfortunately, Britton and D-Rob are free agents and while it may be easy to bring back Robertson, the former Oriole Zach Britton will want closer-type money which the Yanks won’t pay. While it’s difficult to let a hard-throwing lefty reliever walk, it is in their best interest. Instead, I have two alternative plans that would get the job done; one of them being a very familiar face to the Bronx.

MY PREDICTION: Yankees re-sign David Robertson while adding Jake Diekman and Andrew Miller.

One More Bat?

Here it comes, my take on Machado vs. Harper. And the winner is… neither. The Yankees need to take a pass as each of their mega contracts will be signed elsewhere. The Bronx doesn’t need another financial burden. After avoiding the luxury tax for the first time in 2018, there’s no reason to blow all your money on basically one player. I know they’re dynamic, once in a generation, game changing, every positive adjective you can think of, cornerstone players, but the Yankees have the bats already to win. What is really needed is someone whose primary job is to get on base. Home run hitters are great, especially since that’s where baseball is headed, but the main reason the Red Sox won the World Series is because they played “next man up.” Get on base, get the other runner in, and keep the basepaths moving. It’s deflating to start a rally in the 8th inning, only to have it stifled by two strikeouts from hitters swinging for the fences. If I’m Cashman, I’m putting two big, red circles around these specific players to truly improve the team.

MY PREDICTION: Yankees sign Daniel Murphy to a two-year deal. Yankees trade prospects Justus Sheffield, Estevan Florial and other low-end talent to the Diamondbacks for Paul Goldschmidt.

I know, a little anticlimactic with my decision to pass on both Harper and Machado, but isn’t Goldy a high-caliber player? A career .297 hitter with a .398 on base percentage, Goldy would do wonders for a team whose first base has been a wasteland since the departure of Mark Teixeira.

With all that being said, it should be a very exciting offseason with the Yankees active throughout the winter months. It’s time to turn on the hot stove.