The New York Yankees lost out on a unique opportunity when pitcher Carlos Carrasco was traded to the crosstown New York Mets that now seems intent on becoming the number one New York team. Besides needing to re-sign DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees really need to upgrade their pitching both starting and the bullpen. When the Mets acquired Carrasco in the Francisco Lindor blockbuster trade, the Yankees lost out big time.
Carrasco represents what would have been a major upgrade for the team’s most glaring need: its starting rotation, currently loaded with young, untested arms outside of Gerrit Cole. In last year’s shortened season, Carrasco pitched 68 innings and put up a 1.5 WAR, higher than any Yankee starter, including Cole (1.4). FanGraphs has him pegged at a 3.5 WAR for 2021 in 174 innings, that better than any free agent pitcher out there other than Trevor Bauer, who the Yankees can’t afford. The Mets will pay Carrasco just over $10 million this year, something the Yankees surely could have afforded. If the Yankees finally make a move on Masahiro Tanaka, it will likely cost them more than that for a pitcher that will provide far less.
San Diego Padres continues to be the team to watch
The San Diego Padres seem to be the stream train that just can’t be stopped in their campaign to be the most improved team in baseball during 2021. First, the Padres made a blockbuster deal that included the Tampa Bay Rays ace pitcher Blake Snell. They followed that up by trading for Cubs ace Yu Darvish. They were making it known that they will no longer be the NL West’s laughing stock and instead would be a team to be contended with.
The best team in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have to be looking over their shoulder with these recent Padre moves. But the Padres weren’t done being one of the most active teams this offseason. They went ahead and signed star SS Ha-seong Kim. Now the news arises that the Padres are close to a $320 million 11 year extension for Frenando Tatis Jr. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees are sitting on their hands trying to keep the team the same as it was last year when they again exited the postseason, too early.
The New York Yankee fans’ offseason of discontent is far from over
New York Yankee fans continue to be disappointed with an offseason over two months old, and the Yankees have done nothing significant to improve the team other than a few minor league deals. The Yankees need DJ LeMahieu to re-sign. As of yet, they have not been able to do that while trying to get him for as cheap as possible and for a shorter time than DJ is demanding.
Meanwhile, the team’s most important needs are going unaddressed. The team needs a proven number two start behind Gerrit Cole. As it stands now, the team is depending on Domingo German to be the pitcher he was in 2019 after not pitching for a year and getting beat up in Winter ball. They also are looking to Luis Severino to be the pitcher once was after not pitching for two years. And after all that speculation is a host of untested arms.
Looking at the bullpen, the Yankees have needs as well. Although they have signed some arms (Nestor Cortes Jr. and Adam Warren) to minor league contracts, they haven’t replaced Tommy Kahnle, who went with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the next two years. Kahnle was a dependable quality arm that needs to be replaced. Also, with the subpar play of reliever Adam Ottavino in the last two seasons, that need is even more intensified.
The offseason is not over, and the New York Yankees still may make moves whether they can resign DJ LeMahieu or not. But the longer they wait to do that, the fewer the players’ availability that could help the team; they have already seen almost a dozen possible targets either be traded or signed by other teams. It’s time for the Yankees to make a final offer to LeMahieu; if he doesn’t accept, move on and get on with the business of putting together a team that can win in 2021. Whether owner Hal Steinbrenner likes it or not to accomplish a championship team they may have to spend more than they want.