The Yankees have strong free agent options such as shortstop, midfield and starter


George Steinbrenner, the fiery and fickle Yankees owner who prioritized victory over pretty much everything else, died of a heart attack at 80 in July 2010, about nine months after his club won the 2009 World Series in six games. about the Phillies.

The Yankees, who won seven World Series titles in the Steinbrenner era (1973-2010) – and made it to the finals four more times – have never returned to the World Series since his death. The Bronx team have been good ever since, with two 100-win seasons and nine playoff trips – including four to ALCS – but have failed to make it through.

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Perhaps most frustrating of all? The Yankees have had more regular season wins than any World Series champion five times since that 2009 title: 2010 (95, to the Giants ’92), 2011 (97, to the Cardinals’ 90), 2012 (95, to the Giants’ 94), 2019 (103, to the Nationals’ 93) and 2021 (92, to the Braves’ 88).

So, yes, there is a lot of motivation this offseason to add significant talent to what is already a very talented roster. Here are two things we know about the Yankees’ off-season plans: They will acquire a shortstop and the payroll will rise.

Longtime GM Brian Cashman has spoken frequently since the end of his club’s season about the need to upgrade shortstop – Gleyber Torres is moving full-time to second base – and addressed the payroll issue by speaking to reporters at GM meetings this week.

“Well, it has to be (on the rise). We don’t have a lot of things coming up, “Cashman said, according to the New York Post. “So obviously I’ll have some latitude.”

The Yankees remained below the competitive balance tax threshold in 2021, which was important to the club because penalties for exceeding the set number – it was $ 210 million in 2021 – dramatically increase for each consecutive year of a team. Going back under the number for a season resets everything. So the Yankees are back to zero, but they expect them to pass the luxury tax, whatever the number, next year.

Let’s take a look at what the Yankees could do, in positions Cashman has said are at stake this offseason. We will start with the obvious one.

Yankees shortstop options

Back when Cashman made his initial comments saying shortstop was a “need area” we took a dip in the more obvious options in front of the club, so we’ll just do it link to that story and give you the Cliff Notes version here.

Carlos Correa Other Corey Seager they are the two biggest names, which means both will require massive contracts of at least 10 years. Trevor’s story a bad year is coming out, but the Yankees have had a lot of success with a former Rockie (DJ LeMahieu). Marcus Semien this year he is in the top three of the AL MVP and could move up to second when / if one of the Yankees shortstop prospects is ready for the big names. Javier Baez it’s an intriguing option.

“It’s definitely the year of the shortstop, certainly with a lot of high-level and talented players coming out at the same time,” Cashman said at GM meetings.

After those five free agents, there are options the fan base probably wouldn’t like but wouldn’t be terrible, like signing up José Iglesias or Andrelton Simmons (Cashman mentioned defense a couple of times) or mistaken for Paul De Jong.

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Yankees starting pitcher options

Here’s what Cashman said on the subject at GM meetings: “I always throw, throw, throw, even though our launch has been a good thing for us this year. It is always good to try to strengthen it and add something to it if you can ”.

Steal this from a TSN piece earlier this week: Yankees’ 2022 rotation options at the moment consist of perennial candidate Cy Young Gerrit Cole and about eight or nine pitchers who seem likely to post an ERA in the 4s if given 25 to 30 starts. It would seem unlikely that the Yankees will add a starter to the bottom of the rotation this offseason, unless it is an opportunistic operation or a low-risk signing.

Here are four options to put next to Cole:

Max Scherzer, Released: Scherzer is 37 and 29, still an effective and often dominant starting pitcher in the big leagues. The right-hander with three Cy Young wins had an ERA of 1.98 in 11 starts with the Dodgers after coming into a trade with the Nationals. He will have a lot of teams bidding on his services, offering two or three year deals with crazy annual salaries. A short-term, high AAV deal makes sense for the Yankees, who need to address the Aaron Judge extension issue as soon as possible.

Justin Verlander, free agent: Sure, he’s coming out of Tommy John’s surgery and will turn 39 during spring training. But that surgery at TJ was 17 months ago, and Verlander impressed during his featured launch session earlier this week, sitting 94-97 with his fastball. And the idea of ​​pairing Verlander with Cole on top of the rotation must be intriguing. Remember 2019, when those two finished 1-2 in the AL Cy Young race as teammates in Houston? You can bet the Yankees – who lost to those Astros in ALCS that year – remember the duo well.

Marcus Stroman, Free Agent: Stroman was outstanding for the Mets in 2021, one of the few players on the team who had a good start to finish. He made 33 starts for the club, recording a 3.02 ERA and a FIP 3.49, with only 2.2 walks out of nine. Stroman pitched at least five full innings in 29 of his 33 starts – including all outings in July, August and September – and only three pitchers made it past that number: Zack Wheeler, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias. And you know Stroman would love the pressure of the Bronx microscope launch.

Kevin Gausman, Released: Gausman was outstanding in 2021 for the Giants, releasing the best season of his career. He had a 2.81 ERA / 3.00 FIP in 33 starts, with a 10.6 K / 9 and 2.3 BB / 9. Also, he played last year after accepting the San Francisco qualifier offer, so he has no compensation for the draft pick, which is nice for him. He knows the pressures of AL East from his days with the Orioles, but now instead of facing the Yankees a couple of times a season, he would face an Orioles club that lost 110 games in 2021.

Yankees center court options

Aaron Hicks is a hard worker and a good teammate, but at this point in his career, he’s probably not a full-time central defender, as much as the Yankees would like him to be. The club gave him a seven-year contract, $ 70 million after his breakthrough 2018 season – 27 homers, .833 OPS, 4.4 bWAR – but he only played 91 of the possible 324 games in 2019 and 2021, and although he has played 54 of the 60 games of the 2020 season shortened by the pandemic, his production was not great: 0.8 bWAR, 6 homers, 21 RBI, 0.225 on average.

Injury problems are not new. Hicks has been in the majors for eight seasons of 162 games and has played more than 97 games just twice. His contract has four years remaining, but using “contractual obligation” to determine starters is not the best way to build a World Series team. Cashman recognized him at GM meetings.

“His rehabilitation is about to finish and he may very well be our fallen starting center, but once again I will be open minded and will consider all opportunities”, Cashman said. “We just want to make sure we have the best team on the pitch. There are no guarantees at this time, for anyone. … Aaron Hicks was injured, so he went off the scoreboard. Could play some winter dance, we’ll see. Meanwhile, midfield was an area of ​​concern last year due to his injury. “

Here are four options:

Starling Mars, free agent: He is about to start his season at the age of 33, but Mars is still a great player. He led the majors with 47 stolen bases despite playing only 120 combined games for the Marlins and A’s, and recorded a career best base percentage (.381) and OPS + (131), as well as a bWAR of 4.0 or better. for the sixth time in his career. So he’s an outstanding defensive center-back. A three-year agreement with a relatively high AAV seems reasonable.

Chris Taylor, Free Agent: Playing in midfield is just one of his many talents. The Yankees could sign him with the idea that he is the starting center winger, but they would also have a replacement third base if Gio Urshella gets hurt, a replacement shortstop if the new shortstop gets hurt, a replacement second base if Torres falls. and he probably could get it too, if Gary Sanchez gets hurt (OK, not the last, but you get it).

Joey Gallo, on the roster: The Yankees may decide to keep him at home, with Gallo – yes, he’s a great man but he’s a great defensive winger who has played 55 games as a center-back in his career – as a fallback option if the club decides Hicks is ready to take on. full-time role this spring.

Brett Gardner, Free Agent: Yes, Gardner could return, even after both sides turned down their options this offseason. Another year of “hope Hicks is healthy, but at least we have Gardy” may not be the most appealing, but if the Yankees spend a lot in the shortstop and rotation, it could happen.


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