With the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations dragging on, endangering the start of spring training, the New York Yankees are going to have to pounce and quickly once and if a new agreement can be reached.
Sewing up a shortstop and first baseman should be their number one priority. With the new season quickly approaching this month, it should be pointed out that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred could facilitate transactions by dropping the lockout and continuing the present CBA while discussions continue.
If Manfred would allow transactions or a new CBA reached, the Yankees have some big problems/holes to fill. Although it seems to be a complex problem, this writer believes they could solve it easily and quickly. Keeping in mind that owner Hal Steinbrenner has said the purse is open, he surely will want to keep expenses under control, my resolution also does that.
Believing the Yankees will sign Carlos Correa at short and Freddie Freeman at first base is more a pipedream. My belief is that they will spend for neither of these stars.
Here’s the plan: Once the lockout is over, re-sign Anthony Rizzo for first base and engage with the Texas Rangers, with who they have worked together before successfully, and trade for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa as a stopgap.
This would allow the team to work on getting some help in center field and another starting pitcher to bolster the pitching staff after the exit of Corey Kluber, who is now with the Tampa Bay Rays. Although Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Anthony Rizzo are not huge stars, the Yankees fans might want to see, they are significant upgrades from Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit.
Earlier in the week, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News spoke to scouts in the know about the Yankees’ biggest needs. Although shortstop is at the top of the list, they are unlikely to make a big splash at short with the likes of Carlos Correa.
“The Yankees didn’t spend last year. They were quiet before the lockout, and they have Aaron Judge in his final year of team control,” one American League scout told Ackert. “I don’t think it’s likely they are going to spend that money for Correa.”
With the Yankees’ Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza waiting in the wings and almost major league ready, it is unlikely they will spend big, instead of going the more popular route discussed recently, a stop-gap measure for just a few years.
That scout believes that the Yankees could engage with the Texas Rangers about their shortstop, Kiner-Falefa. The Yankees and Rangers have worked successfully recently in getting Rougned Odor and, most recently, Joey Gallo. It seems reasonable to assume that they can work with them again. The teams have two players they don’t need. The Rangers hired Corey Seager as their new shortstop, making Isiah Kiner-Falefa extra. The Yankees will likely hire an upgrade at first, leaving them no place to put Luke Voit.
The best first baseman in the business is the free agent Braves, Freddie Freeman. The Braves and Freeman could not agree to a $180 million contract. That amount also is not attractive to the Yankees, who already have Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton owed huge amounts over the next several years. Add to that, the Yankees will likely offer slugger Aaron Judge a huge extension keeping him in pinstripes and emptying the till. The best upgrade and cheapest way to go would be to hire Anthony Rizzo on a two to four-year deal in the area of $15 million a year. The Yankees would seem to have the upper hand in that negotiation as Rizzo has already said he wants to stay in New York.