A Direction the Yankees Might Take in 2022
by Cary Greene
December 31, 2022
We’re in the midst of a relatively tropical winter. Brian Cashman and the Yankees have been inactive in the free agent market up to this point and will remain so until after the latest MLB labor dispute is finished.
When the lockout ends, the Yankees will need to either spend money or fall further behind their division rivals. Certainly there may be a few trades as well, but Mr. Cashman needs to fix the team’s glaring problems while also planning for the future.
The Yankees need a shortstop.
The Yankees need a first baseman.
The Yankees don’t have a ton of money to spend but they can certainly make at least a few reasonable moves, can’t they?
The Yankees need some front end help for the rotation and lastly, the Yankees need better lineup balance.
A path I didn’t expect to be considering this offseason has recently become increasingly tantalizing. Perhaps it’s a product of having too little baseball news to hone in on or perhaps it’s a result of simply having enough time to truly consider each possible move the Yankees could make.
The flurry of activity prior to the deadline has set the table. Brian Cashman may choose to simply react to how the market has developed and because of the flexibility he has at his disposal, he may choose to make a few surprise moves that haven’t been anticipated by the media.
Let’s bring out some unexpected main-courses that the Yankees might elect to put on the menu for the 2022 season and beyond.
Surprise Move #1: Sign soon to be 30-year old free agent third baseman Kris Bryant, who coincidentally does not require the Yankees to provide a compensatory draft pick because he was traded from the Cubs to the Giants mid-season. Bryant will receive a contract that likely surpasses $160 million for six years and he fits the Yankee plan for the near future and beyond. Signing Bryant allows the Yankees to use Gio Urshela at shortstop for the time being, until such time as either Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe emerge as promotable major league level talent. Bryant’s contract will likely have an average annual value eclipsing $27 million.
Surprise Move #2: Sign Kyle Schwarber, who will be 29 years old this season, who will likely receive a four year deal that possibly eclipses $70 million. The Yankees can use Luke Voit and Schwarber as part of a first base platoon and also find Schwarber at-bats at designated hitter and in left field. It makes perfect sense to add a big time left-handed power threat to the lineup, especially now that Giancarlo Stanton is playing some outfield.
Surprise Move #3: Swing a trade with the A’s for the imposing and soon to be 30 year-old, 6’5 lefty Sean Manaea. This move gives the middle of the Yankees rotation some much needed, innings-eating, reliable depth and Cashman could consider extending Manaea prior to the start of the season, in order to inject the Yankee rotation with a legit left-hander to complement Jordan Montgomery and bring some balance to the rotation.
Surprise Move #4: Make another trade, this time with the Diamondbacks, for Ketel Marte. The Yankees would absolutely be starting this conversation with Gleyber Torres and to pull off a deal, Cashman would have to include more than just Gleyber, but we pull the trigger here because of the versatility that Marte provides. He’s a switch hitting machine in the lineup and can play pretty much anywhere. The Yankees could utilize Marte mostly at second base (when flexing LeMahieu) and in centerfield. This trade balances the lineup and provides the flexibility the Yankees love and also need.
These four moves aren’t moves that many in the media have written about. The market saw a flurry of activity by many formerly light-spending teams who perhaps were anticipating the implementation of a salary floor as part of the eventual CBA agreement. Much has been written about the Yankees need to sign a capable shortstop, but the team already has a capable shortstop and as Gio Urshela more than proved last season, he can more than hold down the position. Urshela is 30 and he’s controllable as he isn’t a free agent until 2024. The perfect plan would be to jump start the offense with Bryant and Schwarber and let Urshela handle shortstop for the time being. This move hurts the Red Sox also, so why not throw the dart
Brian Cashman might also look to trade Gleyber Torres and use DJ LeMahieu mostly at second base. This might allow the Yankees to pick up a center fielder who could make Aaron Hicks more of a fourth outfielder.
Here is the new Yankee Lineup after said moves:
And here is the new Yankee Rotation after said moves:
Cortes Jr, German, Gil, Schmidt or King
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