Perspectives: Yankees Moves and More
by Paul Semendinger
November 3, 2023
Well, the Yankees made some moves yesterday. A collection of players were placed on waivers: Domingo German, Matt Bowman, Franchy Cordero, Jimmy Cordero, Billy McKinney, and Ryan Weber. As we know, both German and Cordero have faced suspensions for violating baseball's domestic violence policy. It is good the Yankees are moving on from them. I do hope they get their personal situations in order, but they don't need to take care of all they need to do while being New York Yankees. Franchy Cordero and Billy McKinney were among the many who the Yankees tried out in the outfield in 2023. The fact that they're being released says, yet again, that that experiment didn't work. I hope the Yankees do a much better job addressing the shortcomings in the outfield for 2024.
There is talk that this winter the Yankees might spend like they used to, or, at least, in a similar fashion. That would be great. In short, they need to. The only way that the many holes in the lineup will get filled is with the Yankees spending heavily. The way I see it, the Yankees have holes at third base, left field, and centerfield. I also believe the bullpen, as currently constituted needs arms - though I will concede that the Yankees always seem to figure out the bullpen. That being said, the starting rotation consists of Gerrit Cole and a collection of question marks. If the Yankees don't spend big, how will they fill all those holes? I don't believe that the Yankees have enough minor league talent to fill all of those holes through trades. I also don't believe that the Yankees have enough minor league talent to simply put those players into some of those positions. Last season a bunch of prospects that we have heard a lot about saw playing time and the general sense was that they were not very good.
I have written before of the hyped Yankees prospects over the years - going back to my earliest days as a fan. The Yankees do a great job hyping their young talent. They don't do a great job actually getting Major League production out of the prospects.
It's important for the Yankees to decide who they are and who they wish to be in 2023. If they see themselves as a contender (which would be admitting that they need to spend big to get there), they need to keep Gleyber Torres because he won't easily be replaced. Torres' typical year as a Yankee has him with an OPS+ of 115. His 162 game average production is .267/27/83. Yes, he is erratic in the field and his base running is not always good, but the Yankees desperately need his production in the lineup. But, if the Yankees are not going to play big and go for it in 2024, Torres has value in a trade. He's a very good hitter, he's young, and he is inexpensive. He'll be a free agent after the 2024 season. If the Yankees don't go big, Torres should be traded. If the Yankees go big, he'll be a key piece to a hopeful pennant run.
My fear is that the Yankees are going to have their plan for 2024 centering around players rebounding. I can see them believing that Giancarlo Stanton is due to turn it around, that Anthony Rizzo will be fully healed from the concussion, and that Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon will all be healthy. If those players all come back, and if Anthony Volpe takes a step forward (a big step), the Yankees will be a lot better, of course. But, let's be honest, expecting all of that, or even most of that, is wishful thinking. If that's the plan, the Yankees could be a last place team.
So many people assume that Anthony Volpe will progress in 2024. That's the hope, but what if he has the sophomore slump and bats even worse in 2024? If that happens, the Yankees will be in deep trouble.
I know there are some that believe Shohei Ohtani should be the player for the Yankees to get this winter. I just don't see it. In 2024, he'll be a designated hitter - exclusively. How do he and Giancarlo Stanton coexist on the same team? But, even more than that, how do he and Jasson Dominguez, coming off Tommy John Surgery of his own, co-exist? They both can't play designated hitter, if or when Dominguez comes back. I believe it would be foolish, to say the least, to expect either of them to be recovered from TJ surgery enough the play the outfield in 2024. Ohtani's presence would take away any chance Dominguez has to play in the big leagues in 2024. Since the Yankees seem committed to Dominguez, having Ohtani in 2024 just won't work.
My friend, author Rob Skead, has a new middle-grade fictional book coming out focused on Johnny Vander Meer and his back-to-back no-hitters. We'll have an excerpt from the book coming soon.
I am a huge fan of the Beatles. They just released their "last song," I don't love it. It's okay, not great. Milquetoast. One thing it's not, is the Beatles. Sure, it's fun they did it, I guess, but 53 years after they broke-up, and with two of the four members now passed on, it just feels forced, to me. If this song was one of Paul McCartney's newer albums, it would probably fit, that's sort of the sound it has to me. It's nice enough. It's not great. Sometimes, it's better to leave well enough alone.
There was something great about the following being the Beatles last true song: The End.
While I'm being cranky about the Beatles, I might add that I think the original recordings are superior to the new re-issues that keep coming out every year or so. Those are fun enough. They're nice to listen to listen to, once, but I will always reach for the originals when I want to play a Beatles album or song.
All that being said, I LOVED the rooftop concert as captured in the Get Back documentary from a year or two ago. That was simply awesome. They did a great job with producing that.
It's still difficult for me to believe that the Rangers have been to three World Series, winning one, since the Yankees have been to any. Let's hop that all changes in 2024.