Cary Greene, Yankees GM (If I Ran The Yankees, Part 1)
Now It’s My Turn, If I Ran the Yankees
by Cary Greene
November 22, 2021
Many fun articles come out this time of year as writers enjoy the offseason and dream about baseball and their favorite teams. I’ve never put my mind to the task of creating an overall plan but, after reading many of the SSTN articles, I think I’ll take a crack at it.
The roster is a fluid situation and Cashman is already wheeling and dealing so we’re down several names that might have previously counted on, names like Tyler Wade for example. Imagine exposing him to waivers and risking nothing in return? Well, Mr. Cashman has determined he’s just not worth protecting, so buckle up folks. What is and what should be are usually very different animals. In order to bring this conversation into focus, let’s admit the stark reality of the predicament we Yankee fans are in. A byproduct of always “trying” half-heartedly to win is that the roster has become quite a bit off-kilter. Gone are the days where the Yankees can be seen as prohibitive favorites to win a World Series. Therefore, we’re going to fix that.
The essence of my plan is to build on what is already a good pitching staff and create one that is capable of winning the World Series. We’re also going to reverse the downward spiral of the minor league system, which Brian Cashman has been slowly depleting in an effort to fix ill-conceived rosters that he keeps starting the season with. We need the Yankee system to be alive and well so that the team can contend in the future. Most of the American League East rivals that the Yankees compete against have very strong systems that produce highly qualified, high end talent that these clubs can draw upon to bolster their rosters.
I understand I need to trade from a position of strength in order to ignite this plan and that I have to consider what other teams would want in return. We must understand the stated goals, objectives and needs of each organization we deal with. As a rule of thumb, I’m not trading within my own division as it’s simply too competitive at this point and I can’t risk helping a division rival since the gap between my Yankees and the teams we’re looking up with is beginning to be very concerning, to say the least.
I also imagine that Hal Steinbrenner will want to impose budgetary restrictions but the reality is that I would absolutely be forced to exceed whatever the luxury tax threshold the CBA winds up will be set at, so the entire organization has to understand that I’m here to fix things and that this season will involve a large financial commitment. We’re here to win it all now folks, not just to compete.
Steinbrenner himself spoke recently to the media, saying that he voted to lower the tax threshold. It’s no secret that he wants a lower payroll. This thinking hurts the players ability to make money and in order to fix the very team Steinbrenner owns, he needs to spend money, not save it. Therefore, a heart to heart conversation would need to occur in which we help him to understand the true reality of where his current roster is at. There would need to be a basic agreement between us that we’re going to fix the team this season and in order to do that, we’d need a financial commitment commensurate with a large market team who is all in on trying to win.
Any trades I propose are trades that would have a strong chance of happening, perhaps some of the proposals would be altered but the basic proposals would be strong and have a good chance of starting conversations that lead to deals potentially happening.
Unfortunately, I do have to slap the pickup in reverse. My roster is poorly constructed. I need to fix this while I’m designing a stellar pitching staff. The team needs far better lineup balance and it needs much better defense and base running. Things are kind of messy right now with the Yankees. We’ve endured years of Brian Cashman trying to win, while being under budgetary constraints and that’s how we wound up with the current group of players that are clogging the roster. We have players that don’t hit, who don’t run and who don’t field. I’m aiming to fix all this and restore the Yankees to prohibitive World Series favorites status. Hal Steinbrenner would need to see the team for what it truly is and he’d need to have an understanding of what my vision is.
I’ll begin my offseason with a move designed to enhance the starting rotation, showing Yankee fans that I value pitching above all other things. Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino need a third monster in the rotation to slot in among them and provide support, delivering big-game run suppression. The Yankees need someone who puts fear into the hearts of opposing hitters.
My first move this offseason would be to blow up the Oakland A’s phone and I’d be after stud soon-to-be 29 year-old right-handed Frankie Montas, not necessarily Matt Olsen, but truth be told, I’m not sure I’d have what it would take to land him. Montas is a Free Agent in 2024 so the idea would be to trade for him and then extend him. Montas posted a 3.37 ERA this season and owned a 1.182 WHIP with 207 strikeouts in 187 innings so he wouldn’t come cheap. Oakland has committed to rebuilding and like many key A’s players, Montas is very tradable, but Oakland is unlikely to deal him and I do understand this. Therefore, we’d peel back the onion a bit and see if Billy Beane and I can work some mutual magic together.
The A’s are far more likely to trade Sean Manaea and he’d be significantly less costly to trade for as he’s a free agent at the end of next season. Let’s assume Manaea was the player I succeeded in trading for and that I am enamored with the notion of slotting him in behind Cole and ahead of Severino in a playoff series.
Oakland is looking to slash at least $35 million as they commit to their rebuild. The A’s have an outstanding future plan at shortstop, with Nick Allen looking like a future Gold-Glover and the young Max Muncy able to play third base and second base and I mention this because shortstop is a position of Yankee prospect strength. Therefore, they may look past Anthony Volpe and perhaps Oswald Peraza as well. In fact, Oakland absolutely wants young pitching and so this deal requires the Yankees to cough it up in a three for one!
Yankees Get: LH-SP Sean Manaea, +10.2 Million Projected Salary After Arbitration
A’s Get: RH-SP Luis Medina, RH-SP Clarke Schmidt and LH-SP Ken Waldichuk, Double-A
This is how I begin to build the 2022 Yankees.
There is more to come.