The New York Yankees finished the regular season with a 92-70 record — eight games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays — before losing 6-2 to the Boston Red Sox in the wild-card game last week. It has now been 12 years since the team last won a world championship. The desire for #28 is at an all-time high.
In order to right the ship, the Yankees need to once again be aggressive this offseason and make some sweeping player personnel changes to be more athletic, younger, better balanced and improve from top to bottom both on the bases and defensively. There is a lot to be done, but here are some suggestions that I think would at least put them in the right direction.
Open the books and spend big where needed: Starling Marte and Carlos Correa/ Corey Seager
These moves would probably make for the most expensive spending free agency in franchise history but remember: When they did this back in 2009, they won a World Series. But while expensive, the Yankees can afford it and might be pressed to do it as it would immediately solve 80% of their flaws.
Marte, 32, led the league with 47 stolen bases in 52 attempts, while getting on-base at a 38 percent clip and belting 12 home runs. He’s a plus defender in center field and would improve the team’s outfield range, overall defense, baserunning, and ability to create traffic for the middle of the order.
The Yankees most glaring need is for that franchise shortstop. They need an elite defender up the middle while providing offense in this high offense era of baseball. Luckily for the Yankees they find themselves in the best SS free agent market ever, which means they have options.
Seager, 27, is just starting his prime years and his left-handed bat and calming aura is a perfect fit for New York and, more importantly, Yankee Stadium. He’s a legitimate .300 type hitter with 30-home-run power and performs on the biggest stage. Last year, he was both the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP. It feels like a perfect fit.
But what if the Yankees want the splashy and controversial option? That is available too with Correa. Correa, a top 2 villain of the modern era for the Yankees, is also available and is quite the Yankees fan growing up.
But snagging Correa helps two folds. His remarkable play on offense and defense is a given. Plus he snatches the opposing teams soul in the biggest spots in the postseason. But the underlying, significant outcome would be weakening the Astros in the process.
Landing Marte and either Seager or Correa feels like a plan A the Yankees need to attack this offseason.
Upgrade 1B by Trading for Oakland A’s 1B Matt Olsen
Olson, who is only 27 years old and coming off a year where he hit 39 home runs while playing half of his games at the spacious Oakland Coliseum, would rake in Yankee Stadium. Imagine what he could do at Yankee Stadium in-between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the Yankees’ lethal lineup.
Olsen is more than a power bat as he is a Gold Glove first baseman as well. The Yankees defense needs improvement all around so he definitely helps in that aspect too.
What do the Yankees surrender? I propose Luke Voit, Domingo German (the clubhouse hates him for beating on his wife) and a low tier pitching prospect. The deal could be enticing to the A’s who will have 3 players, two of which will contribute immediately as they try to compete, under contract for years as opposed to Olsen who has 2 years left on his deal.
Trade for Cubs Catcher Wilson Contreras
I love Sanchez since he is a home grown Yankee, but it is time to cut the cord.
Contreras, 29, is still in his prime years and is coming off a season in which he reached base at a 34 percent clip with 21 home runs and 57 runs batted in which resulted in a bWAR of 4.1. He’s a free agent after the 2022 season. The Cubs are in the midst of a roster overhaul and won’t commit big money to a catcher.
What the Cubs want and need are pitching prospects under club control. The Yankees can send Devi Garcia and Sanchez to the Windy City for Contreras in a two for one swap.
They can use Sánchez for a year, non-tender him or trade him. Maybe Sanchez regains form and returns to his good ways and the Cubs cash in on his value at the deadline.
Either way the Yankees need to make the move and Contreras, a player with a winning history and elite abilities on both ends, is the perfect fit.
The knock on the Yankees for the past 15 years has been the play too much into the “Bronx Bombers.” I get it the long ball is sexy and necessary to win. But when you become too dependent on one aspect of the game while others fall behind, you will become a limited team.
When the Yankees sluggers went down with injuries midway through the summer, they team went to its junior varsity guys and they excelled. But it wasn’t with power. The team no longer awaited around for the 3 run home run. No thhey made things happen, pushing the pace and eventually won because of it.
Guys like Tyler Wade, Andrew Velazquez, Greg Allen, used their skillset and applied it to the games.
Soon the Yankees were stealing bases, making marvelous defensive plays and forcing other teams into errors.
I don’t expect the Yankees to fully embrace the small ball way, they’re not built for that. But the guys that are athletic and can do those things, should be amplified, not locked down to situations.
Tyler Wade, who many fans including myself long saw as the worst player on the team, were wrong. He wasn’t used the right way. For a good run in the summer Wade hit close to .400 and became a vital base runner and utility man. He played his way and his value became enhanced and required.
Adding in a few more players in those roles, and less Joey Gallo’s who are all or nothing will help the Yankees in the postseason where bats and long balls go silent.