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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season. Embracing Change

About the Off-Season. Embracing Change

By Tim Kabel

October 9, 2023

***

This season, the Yankees did not make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. That is not acceptable to the players, management, ownership, or fans. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that changes need to be made to this team. Otherwise, there is no reason to suspect that the results would be any different in 2024.


Many people feel that Oswald Peraza is a superior shortstop to Anthony Volpe. He probably is. The general thought is that the best combination, defensively at least, for the Yankees would be to have Volpe at second base and Peraza at shortstop. That may very well be true, but I don't know if it's realistic. First, they already have Gleyber Torres at second base. Torres has become one of the Yankees' most consistent and reliable hitters and is a very important part of the lineup. I don't know if Peraza could match his production if they were to replace him, at least next year.


The other issue is that the Yankees don't have anyone else to play third base, other than DJ LeMahieu, who may be needed at first base, and is probably better suited to the role of an all-purpose infielder, playing everywhere except shortstop.


The point is that if you don't have to replace Torres, why would you? If you can keep Torres at second base, play Volpe at shortstop and Peraza at third base, that might be the best way to go. Playing Volpe at second base and Peraza at shortstop might be the gold standard for infield defense with this team, but It might not be practical, and it might not be the best overall option, factoring in Torres.


The Yankees started to get more athletic and younger at the conclusion of the past season. That needs to continue. In addition, the team needs to be more well-balanced in regard to having left-handed hitters in the lineup. If Anthony Rizzo is able to completely recover from his concussion and play next season, he will provide solid offense from the left side of the plate. If Austin Wells becomes a fairly regular presence as the team's catcher, he should also be able to contribute offensively from the left side. When Jason Dominguez returns, he will also provide some offensive firepower as a switch hitter.


Still, the Yankees should seriously consider bringing in another left-handed bat, such as Cody Bellinger through free agency. He hit for a high average last season and had a lot of home runs and RBI. Another option would be to trade for Juan Soto of the Padres, who was reportedly on the market and may not coat as many prospects as he did when traded by the Nationals. If the Yankees acquire Bellinger or Soto, and play Wells regularly, they will have four left-handed bats in the lineup when Dominguez returns and five if Oswaldo Cabrera is playing. That will provide greater balance to this team and make the lineup much more formidable.


Another area where the Yankees need to improve is weeding the roster of over-the-hill, faded veterans in prominent roles. Getting rid of Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson was a good start in that direction. Something needs to be done about Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton has vowed that he will work very hard to resurrect his career. He has become a one-dimensional player who is not very good at that one dimension and is a mere shadow of his former self. There needs to be regular and frequent check-ins with him during the winter to see what progress is being made. If it turns out that all he's doing is bench pressing fashion models again, that won't work. If he arrives in spring training and shows that he has made adjustments and improvements, it may be enough to enable the team to trade him. I would be reluctant to invest a lot of hope in the idea of Stanton being a major offensive weapon for the Yankees next season. He is too injury prone and seemingly set in his ways to be relied upon. His streakiness is off the charts and when he is in a cold streak, he is almost an automatic out.


The Yankees also have to figure out how to better handle injuries so that they don't make bad situations worse. The way they handled Anthony Rizzo, Jose Trevino, and Jason Dominguez last season was inexcusable and damaging to the individual players and the team as well. That can't continue. I agree with the people who say that that issue alone should be enough to get Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone fired. But that is unlikely to happen, at least in the case of Cashman. So, the Yankees need to address the issue with better conditioning and training and much more open communication between the players, the manager, and the front office, particularly regarding injury and health issues.


The Yankees have declared that this season was a disaster and unacceptable. In order to rectify that, they need to embrace change. The adjustments noted above are some of the steps that need to be taken to make this team capable of making the playoffs and perhaps even winning a championship.

10 Comments


cpogo0502
Oct 09, 2023

I don't see the point of trading for Soto just for him to become a free agent in 2025 and probably will be asking for 10 years and $400 million+. Have we not learned our lesson about long-term ultra high cost contracts? From a team management/flexibility point of view signing Soto would mean that three players (Cole, Judge, and Soto) would account for $100 million of our payroll. If we keep Rodon then it's 4 players for $125 million. Add in Stanton and it's approximately 5 for $150 million. See where this is going? No thanks.

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cpogo0502
Oct 11, 2023
Replying to

I agree with you that Soto doesn't quite fit what we want in roster construction.

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fuster
Oct 09, 2023

Wells gives the appearance of being a more than competent hitter and a possibly competent catcher. albeit one who has yet to master the physical demands of the position.

catching prospects with good left-handed bats are fairly rare and probably worth nurturing, but the majority of guys who play catcher get beat up and their offense becomes somewhat sporadic.


hopefully Rizzo will be fully healthy for his age-34 season


and Dominguez likely will return and provide superior offensive power as well as average-or-better defense in the outfield.


the point remains that the team is going to be best served by finding at least one and possible two additional first-rate lefty hitters, but they are not all that easily obtained.


there…


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ldegraphics
Oct 09, 2023

Incompetence breeds incompetence....right Cashmoron?

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sbarbeau
Oct 09, 2023

Any meaningful change would include changing management- that will not be "embraced", unfortunately

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Oct 09, 2023

Dominguez was 3-4 days from pain, to being shut down, not unrealistic. Rizzo was a complete puck up by both the medical team and the analytical gang. Trevino was just too damn stupid. Yes, Breaux, Wells, & Rortvedt, all were sidelined in Spring, but Higgy couldn't have handled the bulk of the playtime the first 2 months of the season?


I'd rather trade for Soto than sign Bellinger. Every pitching prospect except Thorpe & Selvidge are on the table.


But I am convinced through preponderance of the evidence, that most of the medical decisions are made by non medical people. Cashman himself has admitted to marginalizing the medicals on Montas, and made the trade anyway. After seeing that too ma…

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Oct 10, 2023
Replying to

That's fair.

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