New York Yankees News/Rumors: Winter Meetings this week, will the Yankees make big moves?

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams will participate in the baseball Winter Meetings this week. The meetings will be from December 6-10. Originally scheduled to be held at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Texas. The coronavirus has caused them to be canceled and held virtually and remotely.

The winter meetings are often packed with acquisitions and trades. How much activity will take place this year is anyone’s guess. It could be normal, but it could also be much slower than in previous years because the in-person meetings were canceled. The coronavirus and its recent surge are only making the financial condition of all teams less clear. Owners don’t know what the 2021 season will look like. Will it be a full 162 game season, and will fans be allowed in the stands?

These financial considerations will have a blanket effect over the whole offseason for owners and free agents alike. Most owners, including the New York Yankees, will want to penny-pinch where they can. Players may only be willing to sign short-term contracts to negotiate better when the money may be better.

Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said that he wants to stay under the $210 million payroll threshold. With that being said, it is doubtful that you will see any blockbuster big-money deals like you saw last season with the purchase of Gerrit Cole. But there are free agents out there who may be of interest to the Yankees, including trades to be made.

Think back to the last few years. The New York Yankees and it’s general manager Brian Cashman has made some really great under the radar moves. Some of these moves were actually criticized by fans as do nothing moves. One, for instance, happened before the beginning of spring training. With fans hoping for a Manny Machado or a Brice Harper, instead, they got a little known DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu, in two years, has outperformed both Harper and Machado.  Winning the batting title this season and causing the Yankees to prioritize bringing him back with a new contract.

Other instances are Luke Voit. Who would have guessed when the Yankee got him from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018 that he would be the 2020 home run leader. Another case is Gio Urshela, who the Yankees traded for at the end of the 2018 season from the Blue Jays. He has done nothing but play far beyond expectations for the Yankees. The Indians gave Clint Frazier a $3.5 signing bonus. But they lost faith in him and decided they needed a closer more. Frazier was traded to the Yankees who didn’t lose faith, and now he is one of the upcoming baby boomer stars.

Getting back to the present, look for Cashman to be creative in rebuilding the pitching rotation behind Gerrit Cole. He will also re-sign DJ LeMahieu at almost any cost. The sticking point in those negotiations has to do with DJ’s age; he is 32 and adamant about wanting a five-year contract to give him future security. The Yankees want three years. DJ had made it known through his agent, the Wasserman Group, that he might be willing to take less money for the longer contract. Cashman may be able to put together a deal that will work for both parties.

One thing we know is that the upcoming week will see more action for all teams, including the New York Yankees, than we have so far in an offseason that seems to be dragging on with little changes that will promise a new World Championship for the Yankees and it’s fans.

Other important dates to watch for are December 10, the Rule 5 draft, and the Yankees and other teams can dip into those not protected by the Dec. 2 deadline. January 15 is the deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to submit salary figures. Players can accept or choose arbitration. Also, on that date, the  2021 international signing period opens. It’s usually in July but has been pushed up to January due to the coronavirus pandemic.