New York Yankees: Four storylines to follow in the offseason

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
Aug 8, 2020; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) fields a ground ball and throws out Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Jose Martinez (not pictured) to end the fourth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are watching from home how the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers decide the 2020 World Champion. As they try to return to the Fall Classic next year, here are four of the most interesting storylines to follow in the offseason:

Will the team spend on starting pitching or will it go “young and cheap”?

Outside of Gerrit Cole, the New York Yankees don’t have too many sure things in the rotation. Luis Severino will return in 2021, but when? Will Domingo German be a starter? Will he be with the Yankees at all? Will the Bombers retain Masahiro Tanaka or James Paxton? Could Clarke Schmidt take a step forward in development and be an option?

Only Cole, German, Montgomery and Deivi Garcia remain realistic options, today, to be starters at the start of the 2021 season. Mike King has to show something, while Miguel Yajure is still green. Will the Yankees break the bank to land Trevor Bauer? Will they sign someone in the next tier, like Marcus Stroman? Or will they rely on the young guns with controllable years?

Will the Yankees re-sign DJ LeMahieu?

DJ LeMahieu, who slashed .364/.421/.590, led the Yankees in wOBA (.429) wRC+ (177) and fWAR (2.5). He was, once again, the best and most consistent offensive performer in an extremely talented roster.

However, he’s hitting the market after the World Series ends, as the two-year, $24 million deal he signed before the 2019 season is up. Will the New York Yankees be willing to pay top dollar to bring him back?

What will the Yankees do with the bullpen?

After Tommy Kahnle went down with Tommy John surgery, the Yankees’ bullpen looked mediocre, and was in the middle of the pack in several statistical categories. This is uncharacteristic of a franchise that boasted super units in the last few years.

Something has to change in the Yankees’ bullpen. Going into October with only three reliable options (Zack Britton, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman) just won’t do.

Maybe the organization’s player development staff can turn German, or King, or Nick Nelson into successful, consistent relievers. Maybe they could identify a couple of under-the-radar free agents that can contribute. Or will they break the bank for Liam Hendriks?

What about Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar?

Gary Sanchez was very bad for the New York Yankees in 2020. He slashed .159/.147/.253 and was even worse in the playoffs. By the time the Bombers were playing their most important games of the season, he was leapfrogged by Kyle Higashioka.

Miguel Andujar, meanwhile, could never get going at the plate, finishing with a .242/.277/.355 line. What will the Yankees do with them? As recently as 2018, they were both ascending stars with tons of trade value. Their future remains two of the most interesting storylines to follow in the offseason.