The New York Yankees are preparing for the winter meetings and the insanity that comes with it. Ultimately, this off-season will be different than others, where general managers from teams across the country gather at the meetings and aggressively attack free agents on the market.
Gerrit Cole was a player that the Yankees landed at the meetings last year, but their desires and needs are a bit different in 2021. They need to find a number two starter behind Cole and find a way to re-sign DJ LeMahieu to a long-term deal. Of course, there are other players on the market that the Yankees have been looking at, including Kyle Schwarber and Michael Brantley.
Schwarber is actually a perfect fit for the Yankees with their slugging mentality. His big lefty bat would fit nicely in the lineup, but it seems that financial limitation might dampen their aggressiveness this year.
ESPN’s Buster Olney believes that Brian Cashman will default to pitching:
The Yankees need better left-right balance in their lineup, which might explain why they expressed early interest in veteran free agentÂ Michael Brantley, and why theyâ€™ll at least look atÂ Kyle Schwarber. But neither player fits easily into their roster, or their current financial constraints. The Yankees probably donâ€™t have a ton of money to spend, and beyond their desire to re-signÂ DJ LeMahieu, their most glaring need is in their rotation. Through Brian Cashmanâ€™s career, his default response to roster holes has usually been to prioritize pitching.
When all else fails, defaulting to pitching is always a good idea. Similar to football, where they say â€œdefense wins championships,â€ pitching wins championships in the MLB. As we saw this past season, the bullpen gets tired out too easily without depth in the starting rotation, and the Yankees are forced to fight their way back into games.
Relying on Gerrit Cole to start strong is expected, but inconsistencies with other starters significantly hurt their chances at a World Series appearance this past season. There have been rumors that Masahiro Tanaka could make a come back in pinstripes, but he has had his issues as well and canâ€™t be trusted as the dominant number two the Bombers really need.
Thereâ€™s always the slight chance they go all-in on a player like Trevor Bauer for one year if heâ€™s willing to utilize a short term deal to his advantage. They could significantly improve their rotation and increase their chances of making the World Series for the first time in over a decade.
How do you see the hot stove months unfolding for the Yankees? Do you believe they will focus more on pitching or land a few solid hitters?