Questions the Yankees Need to Answer in the Offseason
by Owen Hetherington
Another disappointment. Another gut-wrenching elimination from the postseason. Yankees fans will now have another off-season full of disappointment as they miss out on the Fall Classic for their 11th straight season.
There will be many questions as the Bombers head into the offseason. Has Aaron Boone’s performance as a manager in the postseason put him on the hot seat? Do the Yankees need another ace? Has the organization brainwashed itself on analytics that makes decisions flawed? These are all fair questions the organization will have to address before the Spring rolls back around.
Here’s an early breakdown of what the front office will be taking a look at this offseason:
Signing a Starter/Trevor Bauer
It was apparent that Gerrit Cole proved his worth in pinstripes during the shortened season. His leadership and competitive drive to win was everything the Yankees hoped for when signing Cole last offseason. He proved his worth in Game 5 against the Rays on only three days of rest when the Yankees needed their ace. Aside from Cole at the # 1, there are many questions are surrounding the Yankees rotation. Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton are both set to hit the free-agent market with qualifying offers available. I don’t think the Yankees will offer both guys the $18.9 million, but it is possible.
Kinda looks like the @yankees could use some more starting pitching. Interesting. — Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) October 8, 2020
Though it came in a loss, important to give @GerritCole45 props for that performance tonight. Anyone who is willing to come out on short rest to put his team on his back and try and win a must win playoff game has my respect. Great performance tonight. — Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) October 10, 2020
Trevor Bauer is coming off of a Cy-Young worthy season in Cincinnati and will be looking to sign a one-year contract this offseason, which could surpass $30 million. I think the Yankees need to sign a guy like Bauer to win the World Series. They are one ace away from winning it all. With a lot of bottom of the rotation guys like Deivi Garcia, Jordan Montgomery, Clarke Schmidt, Domingo German, and Mike King, the Yankees will have enough depth when 162 games return in 2021.
Extend DJ LeMahieu
This needs to be one of the first offseason moves made this winter. Since joining the team in 2019, LeMahieu leads the Bombers in average (.336). RBI (129), OBP (.386), SLG (.536), Runs (150), and Hits (268). He’s been the only thing consistent with this team over the past two seasons. I don’t think there’s a chance the Yankees walk away from DJ. There’s no reason to look at signing Francisco Lindor this offseason with Torres at short and Urshela at third Put your money towards a starter. Voit’s bat this season locked himself as the obvious choice at first. Second is open and the only option that makes sense is signing DJ.
Outfield and Brett Gardner’s Future
Gardner has a $10 million club option for the 2021 season that I think the Yankees will walk away from this offseason. I think that Clint Frazier has proved himself time and time again that he deserves to be the Yankees everyday left fielder. With Stanton in the primary DH spot, Mike Tauchman and Miguel Andujar will be bench replacements. I can see where the Yankees might bring back Gardy because of the Yankees’ outfield injury history and his veteran presence, but I think the Yankees need to give Clint the spot over Gardy as the everyday left fielder.
Aaron Boone’s Future
One of my first thoughts after the loss last weekend was that Aaron Boone has continued to in the postseason. Between his poor pitching decision in Game 2 that blew a starting pitcher and drained the bullpen, it isn’t that crazy to question whether or not he should be the manager moving forward. I think that the team has relied itself way too much on analytics which is screwing up decisions in big situations.
Aaron Boone takes issue with the idea of the season being a failure: “I hate that question every year” pic.twitter.com/uy6SHJxrM0 — Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) October 10, 2020
The game of baseball is changing, but at the end of the day, the mentality hasn’t produced a championship team in 11 straight seasons. I think the organization needs to rebuild the structure that’s used to make in-game decisions, that don’t just look at numbers. This is three postseasons in a row that the Yankees couldn’t get it done, and maybe a manager change will be considered this offseason.
At the end of the day, the Yankees’ World Series drought of 11 years is far too many. This team needs to ask themselves what it will take to win next year and execute it. The Yankees owe it to their fans to make the World Series again. I feel like a few big moves and changes in the organization can get the team where they need to be before next spring. I’m excited to see what will be in store because if one thing is for certain, big changes will happen.