New York Yankees News/Rumors: Eight teams that are stuck in limbo this offseason

To say that this offseason is as bizarre as the shortened 2020 baseball season is an understatement. The New York Yankees and several other teams have been extremely slow to do anything to improve their teams for the 2021 season. The big shakers and movers have been the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox. Some teams have let several pitchers walk, like the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros, with $55 million to spend have let their two best hitters in 2020 walk. Today we look at eight teams that seem to be doing nothing, as time is quickly running out. Spring training starts on February 21.

American League:

The New York Yankees:

The New York Yankees have been mostly silent, almost to the extreme of wondering if the front office is on vacation. The Yankees seem to be banking everything on the re-signing of DJ LeMahieu while having only one veteran experienced pitcher and a depleted bullpen. The Yankees also have questions at backstop and shortstop but have made it pretty clear that they will do little to provide an upgrade at those positions. With owner Hal Steinbrenner’s statement that he wants to spend $30-40 million less than last year, it’s doubtful that the Yankees will be spending this offseason. After losing three pitchers and a backup catcher, the Yankees are running out of time to fill those positions.

The New York Yankees 2021 payroll as of now, according to FanGraphs is projected to be about $75 million below what they would have spent in 2020. If they nonetheless fail to re-sign LeMahieu and significantly upgrade their starting rotation and bullpen, Yankee fans will see their World Series dought extend to twelve years. The Yankees have made two minor moves in adding Nestor Cortes Jr. to the bullpen, and they traded for Greg Allen for outfield depth, making the re-signing of Brett Gardner less likely.

The Houston Astros:

The Houston Astros, after being beat out by the lowly Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 ALCS, will likely remain mostly static. There are several reasons for this. Probably the most important one is that they will likely have to spend big next year. Three reasons for their recent success are Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke. With Houston Astros, other than cheating, they have been all about starting pitching. This season they lost Cole to the Yankees in free agency, and after this season, they will lose both Verlander and Grinke leaving them with no pitching and big bills. They have lost their two best hitters from the 2020 season, but are not in the mix to re-sign them.

Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins president Derek Falvey spent big on Josh Donaldson last winter (four years, $92 million). At the same time, however, most of Minnesota’s positions are filled, and the starting pitching market, one area of need, fairly weak. The Twins could play for Trevor Bauer and more likely will resign Nelson Cruz now that Bauer has said he wants a 5-6 year contract for big money. If the New York Yankees are in a staring contest with DJ LeMahieu the Twins are in the same staring contest with Nelson Cruz.

Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have done little more than the embarrassing re-signing of Houston Astro’s cheating developer Alex Cora. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox can fill Fenway park no matter how bad the team is and is only interested in cutting payroll, as exhibited by letting Mookie Betts go west. Obviously after finishing last in the American League East, the Red Sox need to do more than just retool. the Red Sox actually have a path to the top of the AL East in 2021. If they were to augment their core with a second baseman, a center fielder and pitching depth. But like the New York Yankees the Boston Red Sox will seemingly not have any big hires in their immediate future.

Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals, once one of the toughest competitors for the New York Yankees, hasn’t been much of a team since then. Their last 100 game winning season was in 1977 when they lost to the Dodgers. The Royal’s are a sad team the doesn’t spend the money, and when they get an outstanding player, homegrown or not, they seem to trade them away and get little in return. The odd thing is that they have one of the most loyal fan bases in baseball for a small market.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays although almost winning a World Series, are dumping payroll this offseason, first by letting Charlie Morton walk and then trading away pitching ace Blake Snell. Although the Rays have more than doubled their payroll in the past few years, don’t look for them to be spending big. The Rays have bigger problems like getting a new Stadium that isn’t the laughing stock of baseball. If anything, the Rays will likely remain crafty and rely on their strong farm system. You can be sure the the Rays will use what resources they have smartly.

National League:

The Washington Nationals are an interesting team to watch after many big acquisitions and winning the World Series in 2019; none of those expenditures paid off this year when then totally flopped. With Strasburg and Corbin’s big contracts on the books, don’t look for them to be big spenders. The Nationals’ offseason have consisted of a few minor-league signings, a slew of declined contract options, but have been going extremely slow with filling the many major holes. But unlike many of the teams on this list National’s GM Mike Rizzo explained Tuesday that they’re just getting started. So far those may not seem like moves made by a serious World Series contender.

The Philadelphia Phillies:

Philadelphia Phillies Club president Andy MacPhail has basically said to Phillies fans that the team is near broke. After getting Bryce Harper, Didi Gregorius, and J.T. Realmuto and not reaching the postseason the past two years, they will not be spending; they will be dumping. They are stuck with a huge Harper contract, much like the Yankees are on the hook for Giancarlo Stanton. The Phillies have already let Realmuto and Gregorius walk, saying they don’t have the money to pay them.

With MLB spring training starting on February 21st, even with these teams you have to assume that the coming six weeks will be more active than the first two months of the offseason. There are too many free agents out there unsigned and to many teams still have holes to fill.