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20 Questions for the 2020 Yankees

Twenty Questions about the 2020 Yankees

The 2019 season ended a few games too soon, which makes for a too early start to the hot stove. Here are some questions to get us started.

1. Do the Yankees resign Brett Gardner? The news of Aaron Hicks’ Tommy John surgery makes for a pretty obvious answer. Coming off of a solid season, will one year be enough for the player who could be the unofficial captain of the team?

2. Will Aroldis Chapman opt out of his contract? If so, do the Yankees sign him to an extension? Chapman has generally performed well the first three years of his five-year deal, but do you add years to the contract to a reliever who will be 33 when his current pact expires?

3. Has Didi Gregorius played his last game as a Yankee? Gregorius is a free agent, and Gleyber Torres showed he can handle shortstop, as he did while Didi was recovering from Tommy John surgery. I have no concerns about Torres at shortstop, but this move almost certainly makes DJ LeMahieu the starting second baseman and takes him out of the role he played so effectively this season. As well, where do the Yanks get lefthanded power should Didi walk?

4. Is Gio Urshela for real? Urshela came from nowhere to be an elite player in 2019. The organization will need to make a decision on this as they could use their infield depth (Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada) in a trade for starting pitching.

5. How do the Yanks handle Giancarlo Stanton? There will be cries to trade Stanton, stating that he’s too fragile, costs too much money, etc. Due to his salary, and the no-trade contract, we better get used to the idea of seeing Giancarlo in Yankee pinstripes. Is that all that bad? While it was frustrating to watch the big slugger’s injury filled 2019, he was a 4 WAR player as recently as 2018, and was the 2017 MVP. Would full time DH duty protect his health? Do we want to 29-year old with eight more years on his contract relegated to DH duty?

6. Will Clint Frazier be a Yankee in 2020? The Yankees are almost certain to look for pitching this offseason, and Frazier is an intriguing trade chip. His bat is major league ready, his glove is not, but he’s putting in the effort to get better. He needs to play to improve, and regular playing time is likely not in the cards in New York.

7. What will Austin Romine do? Put together his backup work of 2018 and 2019 and you get a nice season – . 262, 18 HR and 77 RBI. He has earned a bigger paycheck and more playing time. I have to think the Yanks are interested in retaining him, but how much would they spend? Would he leave the only organization he has known for a more lucrative deal? His value probably doesn’t get any better than it is now, and this is likely the one opportunity he has for a bigger contract.

8. Is there any reason for the Yanks to keep Edwin Encarnacion? He was bad in the postseason, but has been a good hitter for a long time. That being said, with a healthy Voit and the emergence of Mike Ford, I’d be very surprised to see his option picked up.

9. Do the Yankees upgrade the starting rotation? After the ALCS, one can reasonably question if the bullpen approach is a sound long term strategy. It worked very well in the regular season, and occasionally a team can catch lightning in a bottle (2015 Royals), but it may be telling that the participants in the Series, the Nats and Astros, have two of the best rotations in the game, and leveraged them well in the playoffs.

10. What becomes of Domingo German? German, who emerged as a solid starting pitcher in 2019, has been suspended by MLB for violating the domestic violence policy. He has not been charged of any crime at this point. There is a recent precedent within the Yankees – Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was suspended for a similar violation for thirty days at the beginning of the 2016 season. Chapman has been successful on, and seemingly off the field since his suspension. Will the Yanks hang in there with German hoping for a similar result?

11. Is a reunion with Cameron Maybin coming? Like Romine, Maybin was a solid backup whose 2019 performance warrants reward, and a guaranteed 2020 contract somewhere. Is that in New York? His performance certainly got the attention of other teams, and would one offer the high character player off of his best season a two-year deal?

12. Do the Yankees extend DJ LeMahieu’s contract? After his MVP effort in 2019, he goes into the 2020 season as a pending free agent. He’s 30 years old and baseball’s currency is young players, but do they add a couple of years to his contract? He certainly looks to be a player who will age well.

13. Do the Yankees resign Dellin Betances? The Yankee reliever is a free agent after throwing only 2/3 of an inning the whole 2019 season. His Achilles injury that ended his year should be healed by Spring Training. Dellin is a career Yankee, and he could be especially needed should Chapman leave.

14. What about the injuries? Injuries are a part of the game, but 2019 was just ridiculous. Of particular concern were the setbacks of Severino, Betances and Stanton while rehabbing other injuries. Will there be a shakeup of the Yankee medical staff? Would it help at all?

15. Where does Miguel Andujar fit? It’s sometimes easy to forget that Andujar batted .297 with 27 home runs and .527 slugging in 2018 at age 23. His fielding was forgettable, and was one reason why Gio Urshela felt like was such a revelation.

16. Are there any young pitchers ready to emerge in 2020? Johnny Loaisiga and Ben Heller spent time in the majors this summer and showed promise. Mike King and Delvi Garcia are propects who shined in the minors.

17. Is Jordan Montgomery ready to contribute again in 2020? Monte was solid in his rookie year of 2017, (9-7, 3.88, 116 ERA+) and looked to have a future as a solid mid/back end rotation piece. The need for Tommy John surgery ruined 2018 and 2019, but he appears healthy.

18. Is Mike Ford a major league first baseman? He sure looked like one this summer after an OK minor-league career. Did he catch lightning in a bottle or figure it out? Can the Yanks count on him as an option for 2020?

19. Greg Bird? It seems like Bird has been around forever, but he’s just 26. Alas, the promise of his rookie year of 2015 seems like ages ago. He’s seemingly healthy and playing in the Dominican Winter League. Does he get nontendered?

20. How does the money all work? These are the Yankees, so that sounds like a silly question. That being said, today’s Yankees seem to pay a bit more attention to payroll than previous editions. The team’s young core is starting to mature and will require decisions on additional compensation. Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge are both arbitration eligible. Gleyber Torres next year. How do these needs mesh with the need and availability of some high level pitching in this year’s Free Agent class?

Bonus question!

Will Aaron Hicks be useful in 2020? As we’ve seen in Gregorius and other players who miss Spring Training due to injuries/contract issues, it’s really hard to start the season late. Can Hicks buck the trend?

What are your questions about the Yankees as the enter the offseason?


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