The New York Yankees are gearing up for an action-packed off-season. Looking to address and analyze the root causes behind their less-than-stellar acquisitions in recent years, October has been earmarked as an evaluation month. In an interesting move, owner Hal Steinbrenner has opted for an external viewpoint, bringing in a third-party evaluator to dissect the challenges of 2023.
While the Yankees are equipped with the resources for a quick turnaround, the journey ahead is more complex than just a basic rebuild. On the roster are aging veterans with hefty contracts, juxtaposed with young prospects gearing up for their 2024 promotions. The silver lining? A few departures are bound to free up salary space, giving the Yankees some much-needed flexibility in the free agency market.
Five Yankees Set to Depart:
The curtains might be drawing on Luis Severino’s time with the Yankees. At 29, Severino struggled in the 2023 season, with a disheartening 6.65 ERA over 89.1 innings. Career lows in strikeouts per nine (7.96) and other concerning metrics are evident. With a $15 million adjusted salary and a $12.25 million luxury tax, his departure could free up funds. The savings could be redirected towards acquiring fresh talent, such as the Japanese sensation, Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Frankie Montas, an acquisition from 2022, could also be making an exit. Clocking in just 1.1 innings in 2023, the pitcher’s $7.5 million could be better spent elsewhere. While general manager Brian Cashman might consider a budget-friendly deal, any significant offers for Montas from other teams might signal a clean break for the Yankees.
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Domingo German’s journey with the Yankees has been tumultuous. From a domestic violence case to personal challenges, it seems the franchise might choose a different path forward. Despite a recent Perfect Game against the Oakland Athletics, inconsistencies have marked German’s stint. The emergence of talents like Clarke Schmidt and Michael King allows the Yankees some leeway here.
The Yankees are set to enter 2024 with a surplus of catchers, putting Kyle Higashioka in a precarious position. Despite being a reliable backup for three seasons, the focus might be shifting toward the promising 24-year-old, Austin Wells. With Wells displaying growing prowess both defensively and offensively, the Yankees might opt for youth and potential over experience.
Trade rumors were rife around Isiah Kiner-Falefa during the trade deadline. Although a deal didn’t materialize, IKF’s 2023 performance, including a batting average of .242 and a .306 OBP, suggests he might not be a fixture in the Yankees’ future plans. Being an ideal backup in case of injuries, IKF’s role as a regular starter is in question. Redirecting his $6 million salary towards other potential areas could be on the cards.