Perspectives: The Recent Yankees Moves… I LIKE THEM! (Here Is Why)
by Paul Semendinger
January 26, 2021
I like it when the Yankees start making moves. The quiet winter frustrated me. Over the last few weeks, we’re finally seeing the Yankees doing things to address the 2021 team.
And I like what I am seeing.
James Taillon – Yes, I know all about the reasons to hate this acquisition. The guy has talent, but he’s always hurt. The Yankees are building a staff of injured starters to compliment Gerrit Cole. The last thing the Yankees need is another longshot for the starting rotation. Yeah, I get all of that. I understand. And I don’t necessarily disagree. But, the Yankees picked up Taillon for spare parts – none of whom will probably be impactful major leaguers. And, although he’s been hurt, a lot, if Taillon is healthy, he could be a top starter. He’s a good gamble. It’s the smart move.
When elite talent can be had, the Yankees should always be all-in. Always. When that elite talent is a $30M left-handed hitting right fielder, the Yankees should be all-in. When that elite talent is a $30M switch-hitting shortstop, the Yankees should be all-in. And when that elite talent is a super-high pitching prospect who could be an ace, even if he’s been injured again and again, the Yankees should be all-in.
The Yankees shouldn’t just focus on players who might be great. The Yankees shouldn’t just focus on reclamation projects. The Yankees also shouldn’t just focus on the great stars. They should be on all these players.
I am glad they went in on Taillon. He has elite skills. He could be an ace. The only thing holding him back is his health.
I’ll go out on a limb right here. I’m predicting no fewer than 30-wins combined from Taillon and Corey Kluber in 2021. I think (i hope) they’ll both be healthy and stabilize the rotation.
But, if I were the Yankees, I still would feel that my team needs a solid no-doubt-about-it #2 starter. Taillon gives depth. Kluber gives depth. Severino, when he comes back, gives depth. That’s all well and good.
Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Jordan Montgomery all give hope. That’s all well and good.
But the Yankees still need a solid, “Yeah, this is the man” #2 starter.
And they made their move to that end by clearing more than eight million dollars of salary…
Adam Ottavino – I liked Ottavino. I rooted for him. I liked that he was #0. That’s fun. I loved his Wiffleball curve. He was terrific for most of 2019. He wasn’t that great in 2020. His contract weighed down the team because of the team’s seeming determination to say under the luxury cap.
I don’t think Adam Ottavino will be a lock-down relief pitcher going forward. The Yankees saw the best he had to offer. It is rare, indeed, that the Yankees let great talent go. If they were willing to trade him, they didn’t see the upside. I trust the Yankees in their player evaluations. Always.
I liked having Ottavino on the team, but it was time for him to go.
Now that he’s been traded and there are more monies available, the Yankees could get that #2 starter they need. Absolutely.
There just might be a big trade coming…
The trade of Adam Ottavino makes that possibility seem more likely.
The 2021 Yankees train took a while to get rolling, but rolling it is, and for the first time in a long time, I am starting to believe that a big deal is on the horizon.
Can you imagine a post season starting staff of Cole, the #2 guy they’ll get, Kluber, Severino, and Taillon? Yeah baby. The Yankees don’t need to address the bullpen. The young guys who will be out there will do fine – great, in fact. I have no worries. The Yankees have a ton of young arms with tremendous upside. 2021 should be the year they acclimate to the big leagues. The best place to do that is in the bullpen. Soon some dominant arms will emerge from that group to be the later innings guys to go along with Chad Green, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman.
The Yankees need the big starter, and when they get him (and I am not thinking Tanaka – as much as I like him, he’s not the answer), the Yankees will have six starters to put out there in a short series… meaning because a team most often only uses three or four starters in a playoff series, that they’ll have tremendous depth in the bullpen when it matters most.
The trade of Ottavino makes this all a possibility.
Sit back because I think the biggest deal is yet to come!