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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season: Good Enough? 

About the Off-Season: Good Enough? 

By Tim Kabel

December 18, 2023

***

We are down to less than one week until Christmas. Things are really starting to heat up with free agency. Yoshinobu Yamamoto had dinner with Mets’ owner Steve Cohen at his house on Saturday night. He then scheduled to meet with the Yankees for a second time. Perhaps by the time you are reading this, Yamamoto has signed with a team. If not, it should happen soon. We all want the Yankees to sign Yamamoto. Not only that, but we also want them to sign Cody Bellinger and make a few other moves too. But, what if they don't? 


Let's just say for the sake of argument that the Yankees don't sign Yamamoto and they don't sign Bellinger. In fact, let’s assume they don't make any moves at all other than the the ones they have already made. That leads us to the question: Are they good enough as presently constructed to make it to the World Series? Let's take a look. 


. The Yankees have acquired Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo. They also traded for Victor Gonzalez, a lefty reliever from the Dodgers. Acquiring Soto was a great move. He is a tremendous player who complements Aaron Judge perfectly in the lineup. That is a huge upgrade. Alex Verdugo is an improvement over the parade of mediocre players they had in leftfield last year. However, they lost Michael King, Jhony Brito, and Randy Vasquez.They were all going to be significant parts of the Yankees’ pitching staff this season. Losing the three of them hurts a great deal. 


So, the Yankees have improved. They are a better team. But they cannot be satisfied with half-measures. The fact that they are continuing to meet with Yamamoto shows tremendous effort on their part. If for any reason, he signs with another team but, the Yankees’ offer was competitive, they won't have anything to apologize for. It seems that the Yankees are all in on acquiring Yamamoto. If they don't, they would still need to add at least one more pitcher. Since they were looking to acquire Yamamoto, whoever else they would pivot to would have to be a top-notch pitcher as well. 


I still don't believe the Yankees will open the season with Aaron Judge playing centerfield. I'm convinced that they will make a very competitive offer for Cody Bellinger. It is possible that one week from today, on Christmas morning, the Yankees will have both Yamamoto and Bellinger on the team. If they don't and those options no longer exist, the Yankees will need to quickly shift to plan B. I don't know what plan B is but, there has to be one and it has to be a good one. 


I saw an interview not long ago in which Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he doesn't believe in plan B. He said if you have a plan B to which you commit any level of thought and planning, you are not fully committed to plan A. Basically, he said there should be only one plan and you should do whatever you possibly can to make that plan come to fruition. If you're not fully focused on that plan and have something else in the works,you might not be doing everything to make sure your plan becomes a reality. That makes some sense to me but, I think you should at least have a secondary plan in your mind, particularly when the decision isn't entirely yours. In other words, the Yankees may have the best possible plan to acquire Yamamoto but, if he decides to go to the Mets, that is out of the Yankees’ hands. 


The point is that the Yankees, and in particular, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, need to keep their collective foot on the pedal and continue making moves to improve this team. They have made a good start but at this point, that's all it is. This is a nerve-wracking time for everyone, I'm sure. The question as to whether Yamamoto will sign with the Yankees will be the first piece of the jigsaw puzzle for the rest of the off-season. If he does sign with the Yankees, they can check off the box to improve the pitching staff. Sure, they can make a few more moves to add a little depth to the rotation and beef up the bullpen but, acquiring Yamamoto along with Soto, would make this a tremendous off-season. However, there are still other moves to be made. If they pick up Bellinger and possibly very good late reliever, then, they can be seriously considered to be a World Series contender 


It is as if Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner are preparing a dinner party. They have part of the entree done and are completing the other component. After that, they still have some side dishes to add. Otherwise, people will talk about what a lovely entree they had but the rest of the meal was lacking. This is a process, and we are now getting close to a resolution on some of the free agent signings. Hopefully, next Monday morning, we will have Yamamoto and Bellinger in our Christmas stockings. 

24 Comments


Brad Scheller
Brad Scheller
Dec 18, 2023

Btw, if I was Cashman, I would hand Yamamoto a mostly blank piece of paper and say tell us your terms. We already signed our approval on the bottom.

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Brad Scheller
Brad Scheller
Dec 18, 2023

I just hope that their plan B dinner party isn't McDonald's Big Macs.

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jjw49
Dec 18, 2023

For the Yankees, Plan A should be spending the money to get the player or players you want. FA's and posted players pick and chose where they want to go. Yankee's Plan A over the recent years was handicapped and eroded because they had a hard cap number that Hal wouldn't go over so they never really had a Plan A . Look at LF last year..... it was a cluster of cheap players that never resulted in any player contributing much of anything... The player that was in play signed with Sox and Yankees passed because of money. In reality, they had no intention of signing him because they knew he would sign elsewhere.... Hopefully this year will b…

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Dec 18, 2023

Getting Soto was Plan A. But on the flip side it did cost more than anyone of us thought it would.


Getting Both Grisham & Verdugo do take care of Cashman's personal plan of making sure Estevan Florial did not continue to be Jasson Domiguez's injury replacement. Only downside is to Cashman regardless of how Florial played.


Still no veteran SP. Personally, I've always believed it was always going to be Yamamoto or Imanaga. I still do not want Frankie Montas under any circumstances. Why? Again, Cashman's ego, and if Montas signs, I do fully believe he WILL be in the rotation regardless of who else needs to be bumped. Sure, they'll dress it up, but the end result w…


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Alan B.
Alan B.
Dec 19, 2023
Replying to

Glad I can help. Same time next week?😀

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Dec 18, 2023

It's important to have a bcak-up plan. Arnold is off base on that.


It seems like Yamamoto is Plan A.


Plans B and C and D and E, and etc... probably involve (not in any order):


B - Blake Snell

C - Jordan Montgomety

D - Dylan Cease

E - Corbin Burnes

F - Shota Imanaga

G - Frankie Montas

H - Maybe Cash Ninja will return with moves no one sees


But this would be the last possibility...


I - (Just want to put it out there...) I'm available.


Points to consider for the Yankees signing me:

  1. I can pitch every day and I don't care if my arm falls off

  2. I can give the Yankees 500 innings (talk…


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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Dec 19, 2023
Replying to

And Larry Storch (F Troop's Corporal Agarn) as Phineas J. Whoopee. Wally Cox did the voice of Underdog. I can't remember where I left my keys, but I sure as heck can remember the Underdog theme song:


"When in times that headlines read

"Of those whose hearts are filled with greed

"Who rob and steal from those who need

"To right this wrong with blinding speed

"Goes Underdog!"

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