The New York Yankees were eerily quiet before the MLB lockout, mainly as a result of strategy. Owner Hal Steinbrenner preferred to operate after the new luxury tax threshold is set, potentially earning him even more money, thanks to evermore greediness from the owners. General manager Brian Cashman inquired about a few names early in free agency, but those attempts were swept under the rug as more aggressive teams spent over $1 billion on new contracts before the lockout.
In fact, even the Toronto Blue Jays, not known for their spending, were in pursuit of star shortstop, Corey Seager, previously from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees were the favorites entering free agency for Seager’s signature, given his awesome lefty bat and solid defense. Now, the Yanks are in no-mans land, eyeing a monster name like Carlos Correa on a huge contract or a stop-gap for the interim. However, seeing Toronto as an aggressor while the Yankees sat quietly on the side was a sign of embarrassment for ownership.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan stated that the Toronto Blue Jays were even in on Corey Seager, as the Yankees sat on the sidelines with not a care in the world:
It was far from a sure bet — theÂ Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom Seager had spent his entire career and won a World Series, weren’t going anywhere. And Toronto, which had also been in on Semien, was now primed to take a strong run at Seager. But first the Blue Jays had some other business to take care of. They were in a bidding war with theÂ New York Mets.
Details from the tick-tock of baseball's free agent frenzy:
– Toronto was very much in on Corey Seager
– The Mets were hoping to get Kevin Gausman AND Max Scherzer
– Detroit was heavy on Marcus Semien before pivoting to Javier Baez
Plenty more at ESPN+: https://t.co/LFZH2LhuXD
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2021
The Yankees can still fill a big need with a good player:
In context, the Yankees don’t want a 10-year solution at shortstop, they want a quality stop-gap who can hold the line while they wait for Oswal Peraza and Anthony Volpe.
Trevor Story is exactly that player, slashing .251/.329/.471 with 24 homers and 75 RBIs during the 2020-21 season. Story is a good enough defender to make the transition of Gleyber Torres obsolete and has enough offensive production to provide some consistency. Story has hit double-digit homers in all of his six MLB seasons and is only two years removed from posting 35.
The Bombers have been heavily connected to the Colorado infielder in the past, so signing him would make logistical sense. Monetarily, Story would be far less costly than Correa and allow the Yankees a bit of flexibility to enable their youngsters to develop.