New York Yankees News/Rumors: How will the Yankees prioritize offseason spending?

William Parlee
New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
USA Today

How will the New York Yankees prioritize offseason spending? That is the big question with a team with an early exit from postseason play for four straight years. Yankee fans have some definitely strong feelings and with so many players reaching free agency, the Yankees will have to prioritize spending to fill in for their deficiencies.

The Yankee front office’s first consideration is to spend as little as possible after signing Gerrit Cole for $324M and having a season with no revenue. General Partner Hal Steinbrenner has said the team suffered monstrous losses with no fans in the stands and no concession revenue. The revenue wasn’t there, but the expenses continued with team payroll, front office payroll, and Yankee Stadium maintenance and security.

Without question, all MLB teams, including the New York Yankees, will all be penny-pinching wherever possible. All of this is bad news for free agents across all of baseball.  The Yankees have a bevy of free agents this offseason. The most notable is DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. The Yankees have two main needs, a true number two starting pitcher and retaining the services of the MLB Batting Champ, DJ LeMahieu.

However, for the Yankees retaining DJ LeMahieu is not a done deal. LeMahieu loves playing at Yankee Stadium, but he is no dummy either; he will require a contract of more than two years and at least at double his current salary. If the Yankees have to spend more than that, they may let DJ walk, just like they did Didi Gregorius last postseason.

Of the free agent pitchers, Masahiro Tanaka is the one most likely to return, but at a vastly discounted rate from his present salary. Tanaka has also made it know that he might return to finish his career in Japan. Tanaka was impactful in his 2016 season, but since then, not so much. However, he has been relatively dependable for the Yankees. That gives him the edge over the other free agents in getting a contract.

James Paxton can be a lights out pitcher when he is healthy, but that is a factor the Yankees will be looking at. After preseason surgery, he never really gained his velocity back. Then he injured his forarm and was out for the rest of the season and postseaon. J.A. Happ did not meet his vesting requirements to play in 2021. Whether the Yankees make an attempt to sign him is anyone’s guess.

These signings may depend on if the Yankees are willing to spend for a true number two starter, like Trevor Bauer.  If they spend for him, they may take Tanaka back as a number three of four starter in the rotation and then depend upon all the up an coming pitching prospects, like Deivi Garcia to anchor the rotation.

To a lesser degree the Yankees have a deficency at shortstop. Gleyber Torres had the second most errors at the position in all of baseball.  The Yankees will be looking at that.  There have been all kinds of talk of moving him to second base, his natural position. To do that a mirad of ideas have been thrown around. Those ideas have been trading off Voit, trading off Urshela, and securing the services of Francisco Lindor.  I guess that the Yankees short on money and needing pitching, they will not spend for Lindor.

The Yankees could do nothing with two moves. Make LeMahieu a utility player that can play all the infield positions giving everyone a day off per week. Or another option they could investigate, is moving Gio Urshela to short, where he has played before, and move DJ LeMahieu to third base where his is capable. Whatever moves the Yankees make, and who they may take on, will become clearer as the postseason progresses.