By Derek McAdam
October 15, 2021
The Yankees are entering another offseason full of questions regarding the roster next season. Some of the questions include do they give Anthony Rizzo another contract, does Gary Sanchez get cut or traded and what will the shortstop situation look like, just to name a few.
All are valid questions that will be answered in due time, but the three that were mentioned are just part of the potential problem the Yankees have.
Rizzo is going to command a nine-figure contract to close out his career. He can still provide solid defense at first base and was a good hitter with a great eye at the plate. But the Yankees currently have two contracts on their payroll, with Aaron Judge likely to be the third at some point before the end of next year.
While it is unlikely that the Yankees keep Rizzo, that means they have to decide who is going to be the primary first baseman next season. While Luke Voit seems to be the obvious choice, he was one of the few Yankees that struggled with injuries throughout the entire season.
The Yankees can play DJ LeMahieu at first for some of the season, but they most likely won’t see him as the everyday first baseman. That just might be the reality of the situation come March 2022.
Sanchez’s status on the 2022 team has been another question that the Yankees will have to answer this offseason. He has not been good behind the plate and has not been spectacular at the plate to make up for his defensive woes.
The problem with getting rid of Sanchez is that the Yankees’ first option in their organization to start every day would be Kyle Higashioka, who has been flashy at the plate. Although he is much better behind the plate than Sanchez, hitting a career .183 at the plate will not cut it for the Yankees.
The final issue being presented is what will the Yankees’ shortstop situation look like? It has been concluded that Gleyber Torres cannot be relied on at shortstop and seems to do much better at second base. Gio Urshela did a much better job filling in for Torres, but the Yankees want him back at third base.
So what are the options? There are big-name free agents such as Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Trevor Story and Marcus Semien who all have shortstop experience. But several of these players may get nine-figure contracts, which is what the Yankees don’t want to have more of.
What these problems indicate is that the Yankees are much further off from winning a World Series than it seems. The fact that they have yet to make it to a World Series since 2009 says it all.
The Yankees have more than one big roster move to make to get them to a World Series. And it isn’t two or even three. They have many decisions that they will have to make to get them to the big stage.