Over a month through the off-season, the New York Yankees have remained extremely quiet. They’ve denied options to Brett Gardner and JA Happ, tendered Gary Sanchez, and brought back Nestor Cortes Jr., all of which were not surprising.
The Yankees haven’t made a signing early on in the free-agency period, but have been in negotiations with DJ LeMahieu. Â LeMahieu is asking for five years and $100 million, while the Yankees are more interested in four years and $75 million (per NJ Advance Media).
Signing LeMahieu is the Yankees obvious priority. The two sides are currently a ways apart, meaning it’ll take some time and effort until an agreement happens.
That being said, the Yankees can’t forget about their other needs. In addition to retaining LeMahieu, the Yankees need starting pitching, relief pitchers, a left-handed bat, and potentially both a backup catcher and left fielder.
We haven’t heard much of anything about Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton, two members of the 2020 team who are free-agents. The Yankees have expressed interest in free-agent Trevor Bauer, the best available free-agent starter. Additionally, the Yankees have talked to the Pittsburgh Pirates about trading for Jameson Taillon.
In terms of relief pitchers, we haven’t heard anything. Tommy Kahnle elected free-agency after undergoing Tommy John surgery, leaving an empty spot in the bullpen. However, even before the Kahnle injury, the Yankees were still expected to pursue relievers in the off-season.
Both Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner are both logical candidates to play left field in 2021. Frazier had a breakout 2020 season, showing he’s capable to start for the Yankees. Gardner, despite the Yankees declining his option, could still be re-signed on a cheap deal. The team has also shown interest in signing veteran Michael Brantley, a lefty who spent the past two seasons in Houston.
The Yankees will also look into Kyle Schwarber, formerly of the Chicago Cubs. The 27-year-old can play both left and right field, and can also catch if needed.
Another lefty that the Yankees are reportedly interested in is first baseman Josh Bell. Currently a Pirate, his name came up in discussions for Jameson Taillon.
As important as signing DJ LeMahieu is for the New York Yankees, the team can’t forget about their other needs. If the Yankees wait too long to fill other positions, all of the big names could be off the board, and things could backfire badly.