Are the Yankees Serious?
About the Off-Season: Are the Yankees Serious?
By Tim Kabel
December 12, 2022
At this point, the Yankees have basically retained last year's team. They added Tommy Kahnle. A few relief pitchers, including Aroldis Chapman, will not be back. The most important thing they did was sign Aaron Judge to a nine-year, $360 million contract. We all said repeatedly they needed to do that. The indications are that the Yankees are now ready to improve last year's team. Remember, they won 99 games in 2022. But they lost in the ALCS in four games to Houston. Justin Verlander is now a Met and not an Astro. Logically, the Yankees are a step closer to beating the Astros by that move alone. Now, they need to make moves of their own to close the gap and win a championship.
There have been reports over the past few weeks about how interested the Yankees are in Carlos Rodon. Today, there were several articles stating the Yankees have prepared an offer for Rodon. If he accepts it, the Yankees will have greatly improved the team. The starting rotation will be one of the best in the league with Gerrit Cole, Rodon, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, and Frankie Montas. After that, the Yankees would be able to turn their attention to leftfield.
There are many options for the Yankees for leftfield - they can go in multiple directions. They can acquire someone such as Andrew Benintendi to play leftfield, which would be the most logical move. Another choice would be to sign someone to strengthen third base, and turn leftfield over to Oswaldo Cabrera, who despite having very little experience as an outfielder, played very well in both rightfield and leftfield last season.
Carlos Correa's name has been floated around as a possibility for the Yankees. As committed as they are to Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, I don't think the purpose of acquiring Correa would be to then trade one of their two top infield prospects. I imagine the Yankees taking a “let's eat our cake and have it, too” approach. In other words, they have developed Volpe and Peraza to be key components of their lineup. They could add Correa and keep both youngsters. That would give them an infield of Anthony Rizzo at first, Anthony Volpe at second, Oswald Peraza at shortstop, and Carlos Correa at third base. That would make Yankees fans and Aaron Judge very happy, I think.
In order to free second base up for Anthony Volpe, the Yankees would need to trade Gleyber Torres. My friend, Brian, proposed a trade of David Peterson for Gleyber Torres and Josh Donaldson, with the Yankees eating $15 million of Donaldson's contract. I countered by saying the Mets would need to kick in a mid-level relief pitching prospect. Peterson could slide into the bullpen in a long relief role and make spot starts in case of an injury. He is left-handed, which would be beneficial to the Yankees. He is also young and under team control. This trade would allow Anthony Volpe to play second base and rid the team of Josh Donaldson. I wonder if we could throw in Aaron Hicks as well.
The Yankees interest in Carlos Rodon seems to be genuine and I would not be surprised to see him in pinstripes very soon. I believe when Hal Steinbrenner made the commitment to Aaron Judge and gave him his word he would strengthen the team, he meant it. I am getting the impression the Yankees are all in. What that means in terms of trades or free agent signings is unclear. They could sign Andrew Benintendi to play leftfield and shift Oswaldo Cabrera to third base. That would be an upgrade as well. I don't think they will trade for Brian Reynolds of the Pirates, simply because he would cost too much in prospects.
Watching this process is like observing Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman at a car dealership, shopping for a new vehicle. They know they will get something, but they are not sure what. They are open to a variety of possibilities. They may go in looking for a sedan and leave with two SUVs. I have no idea which direction they will take in constructing the roster. I only know they will do something. I think the least likely scenario is that they do nothing. They are reported to be very active in negotiations and not adding pieces would almost defeat the purpose of re-signing Judge. By making that commitment to Judge, and promising him they would strengthen the team, the Yankees clearly indicated they were planning to “go big”, as the saying goes.
So, now we just tag along to the auto dealership with Uncle Hal and Uncle Brian and watch them shop. One way or another, I think Yankees’ fans will be very satisfied with their purchases.