The Tuesday Discussion – Are You Happy With the Yankees’ Moves?
This week we asked our writers:
If the offseason ended today, are you happy with the Yankees’ roster as it is currently assembled?
Here are their responses:
Lincoln Mitchell – As of today, I am satisfied with the Yankees postseason assuming they are open to making a big move or two midway through the season. The best thing the Yankees did was get DJ LeMahieu back on a very team friendly contract. I was concerned they would overpay and get stuck with a team unfriendly contract, but that did not happen. The Yankees also avoided making any big mistakes. So far they do not seem to have traded away any top prospects for questionable veterans or overpay for any free agents. This puts them in position to be in contention in 2021. However, they also did not meaningfully improve the team. So, my sense is that the Yankees did not do anything during the offseason, thus far, to get to the next level, but if they are able to make that big trade at the deadline, they just might be able to do that.
Mike Whiteman – I’m content with the Yankees as presently constituted. I suspect during the 2021 season they will need some additions, like the bullpen, perhaps another starter and depth at catching. In a perfect world, they could pick up some lefthanded power as well, but it’s not required.
There are currently many talented options at all of the positions mentioned, and I’m content to let the early season play out and see who rises to the challenge. The team has plenty of trade chips to fortify as needed.
Tamar Chalker – There is always room for improvement, but I think they have a formidable roster for the upcoming year. Will they win the World Series? I don’t know, but I think they could contend with this roster.
Paul Semendinger – I am a lot happier now than I was a few weeks ago. I think the Yankees did a pretty good job, but they haven’t really improved the team from last year or addressed some of their big weaknesses. They Yankees have pretty much stayed the same. Now they’re just a year older.
There is no speed in the lineup. There is no lefty power. The starting staff after Gerrit Cole is a series of question marks. I like the Taillon and Kluber signings, but are they, at this point, better bets than Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton (or J.A. Happ) were last year?
The Yankees have a talented roster, but it’s not a roster without questions and the weaknesses weren’t addressed. A lot of great talent was moved throughout baseball this winter, sometimes for bargain basement prices and in underwhelming deals. This was a winter of lost opportunities for the Yankees. Will they contend in 2021? Probably. Most likely in fact. They might even be World Champs, but…
But, could this have been the winter that the Yankees cemented themselves as the best team? Yes. They passed on that chance. They remained too inactive for too long as they focused exclusively on D.J. LeMahieu. The Yankees have to hope that the 2019-20 D.J. LeMahieu is the one that plays in 2021 and 2022. As I have written, LeMahieu is a very very good player and he’s been a great Yankee. I have my doubts that he’ll remain elite as he progresses into and through his mid-30’s. I think the Yankees sole focus on him this winter will prove, in the end, to have been a critical mistake.
I see this as the off-season of lost opportunities so while I think the Yankees are talented and might even be big winners, overall I am not happy with their moves because they left too many question marks and let too many opportunities pass them by.
Patrick Gunn – As of today, I am cautiously happy with the Yankees’ roster. People have a negative slant towards the Bombers, but they have a very talented roster with the best lineup in the majors and a rotation with a high ceiling. Of course, the Yankees have two starters with a history of injuries and a thinner bullpen than in year’s past, but I legitimately believe this Yankees roster can compete for a World Series.
Derek McAdam – I believe the Yankees have a solid roster that can win them a lot of games during the regular season. There is also a lot of depth and opportunity for many young players, particularly for young pitchers. With the recent reports that several Yankees have changed their off-season work out plans, I believe that those players will be much more fit for the long haul of a 162-game season. Overall, I give Brian Cashman a positive rating for his off-season transactions and look forward to the 2021 season!
Chris O’Connor – In my opinion the Yankees are the favorites to represent the American League in the World Series, so it is hard to complain too much about the roster. However, I would like to see them try to add more infield depth, another reliever, and possibly another starting pitcher. Their bullpen depth takes a hit after the big three of Green, Britton, and Chapman, and many of the guys they are relying on as key relievers or depth pieces in the rotation are young and unproven (albeit talented). Kluber and Taillon are undeniably talented but come with significant injury concerns, making it tough to rely on them to provide big innings. It’s hard for me to say that they got much better after last season, but holding steady might be enough with other AL contenders like the Rays, Indians, Astros, and Athletics losing key pieces. I still think there is work to be done, but I do think the Yankees as currently constructed are the favorites in the A.L.
Ethan Semendinger – After waiting (albeit not so patiently) for the Yankees to make some moves this offseason, they have brought in and brought back good talent while losing little talent on the back end. Especially with the contract he got, bringing back DJ LeMahieu seems to be a great move, although it technically did not move the needle from 2020. Bringing in Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon- both starting pitchers easily capable of being the #2 on the team- are good moves, but they have a massive amount of risk associated with them. Swapping out Adam Ottavino for Darren O’Day is likely also a wash, but has risk of its own.
I think the Yankees lack a lot when it comes to great defense, great speed, and great depth. However, this should be a competitive team that makes the playoffs in 2021 from which anything can happen. The problem for me is that I see the Yankees in that 2nd tier behind the Dodgers (who just got Bauer), the Padres (who got Darvish and Snell), and honestly the Mets (who got Lindor and Carrasco). Facing any of those 3 teams in the World Series would be an uphill battle immediately.
Andy Singer – I wrote about this in greater depth this past weekend, but the short answer is yes, I’m very happy about the Yankees’ offseason, and it pretty closely resembles what I believed a successful Yankee offseason would look like. I know that a lot of people are upset that the Yankees didn’t make a big splash this offseason, but there really wasn’t much available that I thought would actually improve the Yankees roster in pursuit of a World Series championship this season.
On the Free Agent market, I really only thought 4 high-profile players could make any sense for the Yankees as currently constructed: DJ LeMahieu, JT Realmuto, Masahiro Tanaka, and Trevor Bauer. The Yankees grabbed LeMahieu, but I think there is sound reasoning for not signing the other 3. Love him or hate him, the Yankees were not going to get rid of Sanchez at his lowest point for no return value, so Realmuto wasn’t realistic; there are real signs that Tanaka’s trademark consistency may falter any season now with the MLB ball; and I’m not convinced that Bauer projects as an ace moving forward, though he’ll be paid more than Gerrit Cole, and we’re not even talking about the fact that Bauer has worn out his welcome in almost every clubhouse he’s been in.
On the trade market, I really only saw two trades that would have improved this roster in light of what the Yankees have done: Lindor/Carrasco and Arenado. On the Lindor front, the Yankees really didn’t have an equivalent package to what the Mets provided, and though I think Lindor/Carrasco would have been good for the Yankees in the long-run, I’m not sure that Lindor/Carrasco projects to be better than LeMahieu/Kluber/Taillon. In that case, why trade prospect capital if it doesn’t advance the 2021 goal of a more probable championship? Arenado is the one place I think the Yankees made a huge mistake. Arenado is a generational talent who would improve the lineup both offensively and defensively (impressive, considering how good I think Urshela is at the hot corner), and the Cards gave up relatively little to acquire Arenado’s services, and received a chunk of money from the Rockies to offset his salary. That was a Yankee move if I ever saw one, and I wonder if the Yankees even considered going for it.
Despite that, I think this team projects to be one of the 3 best in baseball right now. I know most of us want more rotation certainty, but I see a lot of depth and likely progression from the young arms (namely Monty, Garcia, and Schmidt). I think this rotation is going to surprise the skeptics. If the pitching staff holds up, the offense will continue to be one of the best in baseball, and can compete with anyone in October (including the Dodgers).