When the MLB-imposed lockout is over, the New York Yankees are going to have to pounce quickly to improve the team. They are going to have to spend to get it accomplished. If they don’t and decide to go with what they have, they will be left behind. Yankees fans will only be able to look forward to another mediocre season, as the other AL East teams forge ahead.
If the Yankees don’t act after doing nothing to improve in the postseason 1.0, they may find themselves last in the East, only ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, who are years away from contention. The Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox, and yes, the Toronto Blue Jays have better teams than the Yankees at this point in the postseason.
The Yankees are going to have to open the checkbook and make a splash somewhere to improve a team that presently has many holes to fill. The Yankees have a questionable starting rotation, missing a true number two starter. They have no shortstop, they have to do something at first base or be left with the oft-injured Luke Voit. They still need help in center field, as they can’t depend on Aaron Hicks to remain healthy for a season. He has only been on the field for 88 games or more twice in his six years with the Yankees. Most recently, he played in only 32 games last season. The Yankees can not avoid beefing up the bullpen with the loss of Zack Britton for most, if not all, of the season.
The Yankees will have to get better to avoid a losing Wild Card game and a quick end to another disappointing season. The teams they will face in the AL East have promoted from within and already acquired by signing and trading for better players. They also have better farm systems. The Yankees are rated by the Athletics Keith Law as having the 22nd best farm system, whereas the Rays and Blue Jays are rated number four and five. The Orioles are number ten and the Red Sox number 20. The bottom line is that no matter how much finagling the Yankees do with what they have, it will not produce a Championship team.
The Yankee front office has already said they may spend big and disregard the luxury tax threshold to win a World Series berth now when the lockout is over, they need to prove that or accept a possible dismal season with Yankees fans longing for more.
With the Yankees sitting by before the lockout as other teams had picked up some of the best free agents on the market, it is even more important that the Yankees act first, with what is still available. With the long wait during the lockout, the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman have had plenty of time to figure out what they need to do.