With free agency 2.0 ready to commence, the New York Yankees are gearing up for an aggressive approach. With major needs at essential positions, general manager Brian Cashman has to make a few big decisions, meaning he will have to crack open the checkbook.
Top 3 questions the Yankees still need to answer:
1.) Who’s their shortstop for the 2022 season and beyond?
The biggest question this off-season is who will be the starting shortstop once the regular season begins in mid-April. The Yankees could still elect to spend big money on Carlos Correa or Trevor Story, but the most likely scenario is a stopgap until Anthony Volpe is ready in 2023.
It seems the Bombers are keen on spending on a player like Freddie Freeman to lock down the first base position, despite having Luke Voit on the roster.
2.) Does the starting rotation need more support?
Before the lockout, the Yankees had offered Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million deal. Subsequently, Verlander elected to stick with the Houston Astros on a two-year, $50 million deal with a player option for the second season. Given the more lucrative offer, the Yankees will have to find a number two starter behind Gerrit Cole quickly before the good options are plucked off the open market.
Cashman had requested medicals on Carlos Rodon and Yusei Kikuchi before the lockout started, meaning they could still have an eye on those two targets to fill the vacant spot behind Cole. With Luis Severino, Jameson Tallon, ad Domingo German all returning from injury, the Yanks do have support waiting in the wings, but unreliable at best.
3.) Who will man first base?
As stated above, the Yankees are keener on spending big money on Freddie Freeman than Carlos Correa. Freeman hit .300 last season with 31 homers, winning the World Series. In Yankee Stadium with a short right porch, it is possible that Freeman launches 40+ homers next season, but at 31 years old, paying him until he is 37 may be overzealous.
Nonetheless, first base doesn’t require an elite athlete, so Freeman should be a phenomenal hitter for at least the next five seasons, which is where his value shines.
There’s always a slight possibility that the Yankees retain Anthony Rizzo, but it seems as if their interest in him has dwindled.