The New York Yankees will be active players in the free-agent market this off-season, and there are specific positions they are looking to upgrade.
The market is flush with quality talent, and lucky for the Yankees, they have plenty of options at their weakest link. However, depending on how much money the Steinbrennerâ€™s are willing to spend, the Bombers will have to tread carefully. The expectation is that general manager Brian Cashman will have an open checkbook to spend big money on upgrades to the team.
Three positions the Yankees are looking to improve:
Cashman has made it apparent that shortstop will be addressed this off-season, whether they sign Carlos Correa or Corey Seager. Both will require massive contracts, and the Yankees are already on the hook for Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole, DJ LeMahieu, and they expect to offer Aaron Judge a big deal in the future.
Nonetheless, the Yanks are preparing to grab one of the best options on the market, as shortstop continues to be a liability for them after the Gleyber Torres experiment failed. Correa would be a long-term solution for the position, but Seager has the flexibility to move to third base once Anthony Volpe is ready for the big leagues.
2.) Starting Pitching
The Yankees attended starting pitcher Justin Verlanderâ€™s workout on Monday, and he was apparently hitting 95+ with his fastball. Verlander hasnâ€™t pitched a full season since 2019, but there is interest in the former Cy Young award-winning pitcher.
Pairing Verlander with Gerrit Cole would be a fantastic 1â€“2 punch, and with Luis Severino, Domingo German, Jameson Taillon, and Jordan Montgomery already on the roster, they would have a star-studded group. Of course, health would still be a concern with some of their starters, but it was a lack of hitting that put the Yankees in a tough spot this past season.
Signing centerfielder Aaron Hicks to a seven-year, $70 million deal seems to be a mistake at this point. Hicks recorded a .194 average over just 32 games this past season. He hasnâ€™t played over 59 games since 2018, making him a serious liability with injury problems.
Cashman made it clear that they would likely be involved in the centerfield market, but at what capacity we have yet to find out.
â€œObviously looking at shortstop,â€ Cashman said at the general managersâ€™ meetings, â€œmaybe center field.â€
The expectation is that Hicks will be back for the 2022 campaign, but Cashman was quick to note his injury history and reliability.
â€œHeâ€™s going to finish off his rehab and he very well might be our starting center fielder. Iâ€™m going to be open-minded in evaluating all opportunities,â€ Cashman said of Hicks. â€œWe just want to make sure we put our best team out there. So no guarantees right now for anybody. Certainly some more than others. But Aaron Hicks was hurt, so heâ€™s been off the board. He might play some winter ball. Weâ€™ll see. But in the meantime, center field was an area of concern this past year because of his injury.”
If Hicks’s contract wasnâ€™t so bloated, the Yankees might try to trade him away, but it seems they are stuck with him for the time being. It is always good to have a switch hitter in the lineup, but availability is the best ability.