The Off-Season: All Is Not Lost
The Off-Season: All Is Not Lost
by Tim Kabel
December 2, 2021
There was a frenzy of activity this past week in the MLB. The Mets signed Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Max Scherzer. The Texas Rangers signed Marcus Semien, Kole Calhoun, John Gray, and Corey Seager. The Seattle Mariners signed Robbie Ray and traded for Adam Frazier. The Yankees would certainly not be outdone. Remember, Yankees always get the players they want. The Yankees have owned free agency since the days of Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson. We know the Yankees made a huge move. Here it is:
“Hold on to your hat, Suzyn.”
“I’m not wearing a hat, John.”
The Yankees signed Jose Peraza, a 27-year-old backup infielder to a minor league contract. That’s it. Let the rejoicing begin!
The Yankees have needs at shortstop, first base, center field, and potentially, catcher. In addition, they could use another starting pitcher. Brian Cashman stated repeatedly he wants the Yankees to get younger, more athletic and to have more contact hitters. He promised he would address the team’s needs. He said they would get a new shortstop. He indicated very strongly there would not be severe limits on his spending. So far, he signed Jose Peraza. Cashman has been about as successful as Mickey on Ray Donovan.
The Yankees are reportedly looking at Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Andreton Simmons as potential answers for the shortstop position, instead of Carlos Correa and Trevor Story. Let me put this in perspective. That would be like going to a comedy show expecting to see Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, or Robin Williams. Instead, you wind up with Marty Allen or Charles Nelson Reilly. It’s like thinking you have a date with Sofia Vergara but instead, you’re going out with Charo (the current version- and she left her guitar at home). For the ladies who are reading, it would be comparable to being told you were going out with Marlon Brando. Instead of getting the Streetcar Named Desire version, you wind up with the one from The Freshman. Yankees’ fans feel like Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when Willy Wonka says, “You get nothing; you lose. Good day, Sir.”
While it appears the Yankees have done nothing so far this off-season, that is not entirely true. They tendered contracts to Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, and Gary Sanchez, the poor man’s Cliff Johnson. The natural reaction of most Yankee fans would be to curse Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner and lament the fact that the Boss is no longer here. However, there is another way to look at it.
I will assume the role of the voice of reason. Being the voice of reason is not fun. It’s more fun to get worked up and agitated and wave my arms around and make preposterous statements. However, somebody has to do it. We have entered a lockout period which will freeze all the rosters. No one has any idea how long it will last. The point is that once the rosters are frozen, everybody who Is still a free agent remains one until the lockout is over. It’s as if Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, and Carlos Rodon will be locked in giant blocks of ice. So, while it’s true the Yankees haven’t signed anybody or done anything, that does not mean that this lack of activity will continue. Once the lockout ends and there is a new collective bargaining agreement, the Yankees will be in a position to address their needs while simultaneously knowing the exact lay of the land, financially. There are numerous extremely talented free agents still available. Once the lockout ends, the Yankees could make trades for a centerfielder and or a first baseman. They could sign Carlos Rodon, or even Clayton Kershaw. They could sign Carlos Correa or Freddie Freeman.
Right now, we are going into hibernation like a grizzly bear into a cave. We will remain there until the lockout ends. Now, if the lockout ends and the Yankees continue to do nothing, it will be a different story. If they bring Fred, “Chicken” Stanley back to play shortstop, I will be at the front of the line, stirring the tar and sorting the feathers as we prepare to run Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner out of town.
Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant and the chef tells you to put away the menus because he will be preparing something special for you. You wait for what seems to be forever while other patrons, who came in after you, are being served. It would be natural to be frustrated but if at the end, your patience is rewarded as the chef brings you an endless parade of delicacies, you would be happy. Yankees ‘ fans can still be happy this off-season. Cashman can still fulfill his promise to address the team’s needs, including shortstop. Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are still available. The possibility of a trade for Matt Olson continues to exist. Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman remain free agents. The young outfielders who have been mentioned as possible center field inhabitants are still available. There are pitchers who could be acquired in trades and Carlos Rodon from the White Sox continues to be a free agent.
I advise you to be patient.
At this point, you don’t have any other option.