The New York Yankees have some pretty tough questions to answer during this offseason. General Manager Brian Cashman has made it clear acquiring a shortstop is his priority. That may be the case, but he has several other problems to resolve, including a reliable centerfielder, an ace-like starting pitcher, and, oh yes, what to do with the logjam at first base. But, of course, the biggest question to answer at first is, do the Yankees resign Anthony Rizzo?
One of the earlier situations the Yankees must solve is what to do with free agent Anthony Rizzo. Once they solve that, they can move on to other infield moves. As it is right now, the Yankees have three possible first basemen. Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit. Luke Voit, the once-heralded player, hasn’t been able to stay healthy for the last few years and is probably on the trading block. Gold Glover DJ LeMahieu played all the infield positions other than shortstop due to Gleyber Torres being moved back to second base after a two-year failed experiment as a shortstop.
First, let’s look at the shortstop position. Many MLB insiders like Jon Heyman think the Yankees’ general manager may make a big splash in the market, securing either lefty Corey Seager or the less likely Carlo Correa. There are two strikes against Correa, the cost, and his involvement in the Astros 2017 cheating scandal that may have cost the Yankees a World Series appearance. Heyman thinks that Seager is the near-perfect fit for the Yankees. Another route Cashman could take is taking the cheaper avenue by hiring Javier Baez and spending his money on another starting pitcher.
General Operating Partner Hal Steinbrenner has not weighed in on if he is willing to go over the luxury tax threshold now that the Yankees have again failed in the postseason. So much of what Cashman can do will be guided by how much money he is allowed to spend and what revenue he can free via the trade market. The most apparent trading piece is Luke Voit, as he is expendable, having no everyday place to play. But in a shocking move, don’t be overly surprised if the Yankees deal Gleyber Torres.
Many Yankee fans may balk at getting rid of Torres, but actually, it would solve many problems for the Yankees. Consider that Torres has not grown as a Yankee, and he is no longer the 22 year old with a bright future. The pluses for the Yankees is he could be a good find for another team and would be a good part of a trade package. But maybe the biggest plus for the Yankees is that it would put other star players back in their regular positions. Rizzo at first, LeMahieu at second, and Gio Urshela at third. Solving this would no longer require manager Aaron Boone the everyday decision of who to play where.
None of this can be accomplished until the Yankees decide to lure Rizzo back to the Yankees. Rizzo will turn 33 next season, so the Yankees probably won’t offer a long-term contract. On the other hand, Rizzo has clearly stated that he loves New York and wants to retire as a Yankee. So, that is not a problem. They just have to decide on a price and how long Rizzo wants to play. If the Yankees can resign Rizzo and snatch up Seager, half of their offseason problems will be solved; they can then concentrate on finding a dependable centerfielder if they choose not to bring Brett Gardner back for the fifteenth season. Then look to how to shore up the starting rotation.
Gerrit Cole will be serving out the third year of his monster contract. Jameson Taillon will be back for another year, as will Jordan Montgomery. Beyond that, there are questions, will the Yankees sign Corey Kluber. It was initially thought that Kluber would use the Yankees as a stepping stone to a more significant contract if he could return to his Cy Young form. However, the bottom line is that although he had the Yankees’ first no-hitter since 1999, he was also out half the year with his lingering shoulder problems. Other starter questions may not be answered until spring training. Can Luis Severino and Domingo German be effective pitchers next season? There is also news that the Yankees might consider another risky move by going after Justin Verlander, a free agent coming off Tommy John surgery.
One thing is for sure; the Yankees are projected to have a very active offseason to fix the team to be championship-caliber again. A team that will be able to get over that hump of getting to a long-awaited 28th Championship.