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The Off-Season: Tick tock, Clarice

The Off-Season: Tick tock, Clarice

By Tim Kabel

December 27, 2021

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The Major League Baseball lockout began on December 2nd. It is about to hit the one-month mark. There is no end in sight. We will most likely enter 2022 in the midst of this stalemate. Eventually, it will end; it has to. Hopefully, it will not delay the opening of the season. In addition, we also have the resurgence of COVID to worry about as a possible impediment to a normal season. Let’s stick with one crisis at a time. The longer the lockout lasts, the less time there will be for teams to make moves and add players through free agency or trades. Some teams have less to do than others. Some teams made several moves right before the lockout. The Yankees were not one of those teams.

if the season began today, the Yankees’ roster would have more holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese. Unlike Swiss cheese, this roster might leave a bad taste in your mouth. Using only the players currently under contract, this would be the team the Yankees would field:

Gary Sanchez- catcher

Luke Voit- first base

Gleyber Torres- second base

Gio Urshela- shortstop

DJ LeMahieu- third base

Joey Gallo- left field

Aaron Hicks- center field

Aaron Judge – right field

Giancarlo Stanton- designated hitter

The starting rotation would consist of Gerrit Cole, presumably, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Nestor Cortes, Jr., and then it could be Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt, Domingo German, or someone else. Jamison Taillon is recovering from surgery and is not expected to be ready at the beginning of the season.

The bullpen is pretty set with Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Clay Holmes, Michael King, Wandy Peralta, and Lucas Luetge.

Overall, this is not an inspiring group. The team is worse than it was at the end of last season. The starting lineup in particular, is full of question marks. Now, it is highly unlikely that this will be the roster that opens the season. It’s just that with the lockout in effect, no moves can be made. Once it finally ends and the new CBA is in place, Brian Cashman and his assistants can begin making moves. They may already know what they are going to do; they just haven’t done it yet. The only concern is that the longer the lockout drags on, the less time there will be to make those moves. Sometimes that can lead to the wrong moves being made. If you wait until Christmas Eve to do all your shopping, you might not get your top choices. Uncle Albert might not receive that fancy sweater he wanted. Perhaps, he will get a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey instead, because that’s all you could find. I’m not predicting that the Yankees will wind up with players they don’t really want but, time will be of the essence.

Time will actually be of the essence in two regards. One, the lockout itself needs to end as quickly as possible so the new CBA can be in place and life can go on. Second, after that happens, the Yankees must address their needs at first base, shortstop, center field, and possibly at catcher. There may be a ripple effect from those moves as well. In other words, will Gleyber Torres be the second baseman next year? Will he even be on the team, or will he be traded to acquire someone else? If so, DJ LeMahieu would move to second base. If, and more likely when, the Yankees acquire a new shortstop, will third base be manned by Gio Urshela or DJ LeMahieu? Will the Yankees entrust Aaron Hicks with centerfield again? Will he be the fourth outfielder instead, or not even part of the team? Who will play first base?

All of these questions, and others, will be answered in time. Unfortunately, time is slipping away from us. 2021 is almost over. Baby new year is about to burst onto the scene. There does not seem to be any progress toward ending the lockout. That will not happen overnight. It will take time to negotiate an agreement and then to have it ratified. No moves can be made until those things are done. The Yankees can ill afford for the lockout to drag on and on. well into the new year. If it does, they will have to rush to make their moves. This could work against them, as free agents and prospective trade partners will know the Yankees have to get things done quickly. That desperation might cost them more in the long run. I’m not saying they did the wrong thing by not making moves before the lockout began because, it may turn out to be the prudent move. It is simply that time is beginning to work against them. So, I say again to both Major League Baseball and Brian Cashman, tick tock, Clarice.

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