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The Off-Season:  Dancing In The Streets 

The Off-Season: Dancing In The Streets

By Tim Kabel

March 12, 2022

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Maybe it ain’t over until it’s over but, it’s over. The lockout has ended. Today is March 12th. The season begins on April 7th. The Yankees play their first spring training game on March 18th. That’s less than a week away. The ban on transactions has been lifted and teams are already making moves. Just, not our team. Other teams, yes. Our team, well, no.

As I write this, the Yankees roster is not what it should be. At this point, Luke Voit would be the de facto starting first baseman and Gio Urshela would be the shortstop. Aaron Hicks and his visiting nurse would be manning centerfield. I would expect a flurry of activity. I do not mean just by the Yankees but, by other teams as well. However, the Yankees need to make moves almost immediately because there is very little time before Opening Day. They need to have the team that they want in place and working together. They don’t want to be signing people on April 6th.

As I stated before the lockout began, they need to make upgrades at shortstop, first base, centerfield, the starting rotation, and potentially, catcher. That’s a lot to do in very little time. I am expecting that by the end of this weekend, they will have done something.

So far today, possible Yankees target Carlos Rodon signed with the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs, a team that was portrayed as a rival to the Yankees for the services of Carlos Correa, signed Andrelton Simmons, who was also a potential Yankees’ target. I attended Fairfield University, and one of the benefits of a Jesuit education is that they teach you logic. So, with almost all the other shortstop options gone, and teams who needed shortstops having addressed those needs, the likelihood of Carlos Correa becoming a Yankee is becoming greater. It’s not definite. However, it is entirely possible that by early next week, he will be a Yankee. It is also possible that Freddie Freeman could be a Yankee. Is it possible that they both could be Yankees? Hold on to your hats; yes, it is. Remember, prior to the 2009 season they signed CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and AJ Burnett.

Carlos Rodon and Clayton Kershaw have been signed, reducing the free agent pitching options. Perhaps the Yankees really did not have a lot of interest in any of the free agent pitchers. If they sign position players, they may use their trade chips to acquire a pitcher. I think that is the most likely scenario. At this point, the starting rotation would be some combination of Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon (when he returns from his injury), Nestor Cortes Jr., and Domingo German. They also have Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt, and Deivi Garcia, as well as some other minor league options. The Yankees may feel comfortable with this group. However, I suspect if they had the ability to upgrade via a trade, they would do so.

There is less than a month until Opening Day. By the time you are reading this, the Yankees may have already made a move. Perhaps even two. There is a buzz of anticipation around. I do not think the Yankees will simply stand pat and do nothing. Brian Cashman made a statement that he was going to upgrade at shortstop. He also mentioned first base and centerfield. I would anticipate that some of the players who are on the team now will not be within a week or two. Think about this, if they sign Carlos Correa to play shortstop (at least for now), that will leave three players for two positions: DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, and Gleyber Torres. Someone will need to go.

My advice to you as you read this, is to fasten your seat belts, stay close to your cell phones so you can get news updates, keep reading SSTN, drink plenty of water, do a push-up, and brace yourself. It’s going to be a very active few weeks. I suspect most of the action will be front loaded in the first week or so. I would be willing to bet that when I write my next article on Monday, I will be addressing some transaction the Yankees made. I hope it’s a good one.

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