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The Tuesday Discussion: Just One...

October 10, 2023

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This week we presented the following to our writers:


Hal Steinbrenner made you the general manager. He is allowing you to make one acquisition this off-season, just one. Money is no object, but this move is the only acquisition that you're permitted to make. What are you going to do?


Here is what our writers said...

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Lincoln Mitchell - Shohei Ohtani. I am aware of all the questions about his arm injury, but he is the best player on the planet and has several good years left.

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Paul Semendinger - This is difficult because I think the Yankees are (many) more than one player away from competing. If I am going to acquire a player, I want someone who is young, durable, productive, and left-handed. I want a player who will be still be great when the Yankees are ready to compete again - and I think that's at least a year or two away. There seems to be only one young player that meets those criteria who might be available. That player is the active leader in all of baseball in On Base Percentage. In addition, in every full season he has played in at least 150 games (162 last year), has excellent power, has batted over .300 two times, and will be only 25-years-old next season. In other words, his prime is yet to come. He also bats left handed. If I can get any player, I don't want a player who has been hurt. I don't want a player over 30-years-old. I want a young player who fits, and who has a long and bright future so he can be a player the team builds around and can be a Yankee star for a long long time. I'd trade for Juan Soto and sign him to a nice long extension.

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Tim Kabel - If I were the general manager, I would trade for Juan Soto. He is young, established, and a left-handed hitter with tremendous power potential. He could play leftfield very easily and slot into DH when needed. I would only make this trade, if the Yankees could have a window to sign him to a long-term contract. If that did not happen, I would not make the deal. Instead, I would pivot and sign Cody Bellinger as a free agent.

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Mike Whiteman - If I'm the GM with the golden ticket for one move, it's to sign Shohei Ohtani. I get that he can only hit in 2024. I get that he can only play DH, which makes Giancarlo Stanton a full time (as long as he lasts) outfielder. It's time for the Yankees to go big, bring the buzz back to Yankee Stadium and watching Ohtani and Judge provide offensive fireworks next year may provide a bit of a salve to the raw frustration of 2023.

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Ethan Semendinger - I'm imagining this scenario happening in one crazy fever dream where I was entered into a contest to be the "General Manager for a Day" (as they used to do in Elementary School with the "Principal for a Day"). However, instead of just being a talking head for good PR for the front office, I wait for Brian Cashman to go to the bathroom and get one desperate call to create, debate, and finalize a move before he gets back.


My call would be to the Orix Buffaloes to be the first to make an official offer for Yoshinobu Yamamoto. So what if I'm breaking protocol when it comes to signing an international free agent? I'd tell the Orix Buffaloes that the Yankees are prepped and ready to make an 8-Year/$200 Million offer for their star pitcher and ask for them to open up the posting period as soon as possible.


The Yankees are already set to lose over $20 Million in pitching contracts from this season by letting the likes of Frankie Montas, Luis Severino, and Domingo German (via non-tendering him a contract) go, which opens up the budget to get a true contemporary to Gerrit Cole.


It's the smartest move to make this offseason.


(Alternatively, if the Orix Buffaloes didn't pick up the phone because I'd likely be calling in the middle of the night, I'd call the MLB front offices and tell them that effectively immediately the Yankees were going to release Giancarlo Stanton. Call it addition by subtraction.)

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Cary Greene - I’d honestly resign my position in part on the grounds that the Yankees are beyond broken and I don’t believe one star player can fix the train wreck and also because I’m not a loser. I’m a winner. I don’t join losing organizations that aren’t willing to do what is necessary to win. However, I’ll answer the question to avoid being fired as a writer. LOL


Agreeing to accept the job would however involve one caveat that I’d want Steinbrenner to agree to. I’d ask him to petition MLB for permission to move the short porch in right field back at least 150 to 200 feet - on the grounds that the team I’ve inherited is predominantly right-handed on both sides of the ball.


If Steinbrenner agreed, then I’d get to work by adding a right handed pitcher. I’d roll the dice and sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto.


In all candor, I believe that the Yankees need to turn over about 23% of the positional roster while also reshaping the rotation and the bullpen. In my opinion, the Yankees are miles away from where they need to be, not mere feet. The Yankees need at least two more left handed bats and one more right handed one, but they also need a starting rotation and bullpen that turns Yankee stadium back into a place that actually gives the home team an advantage. In 2023, opposing teams turned the tables on the Yankees, using the short porch in right field to their advantage.


Yamamoto will turn 26 in August next season and he’s done nothing short of demonstrating total dominance in the Japanese Western League. Keith Law of the Athletic is touting Yamamoto as a potential number one starter and I’m very much on board with that. If Kodai Senga could post a 142 ERA+ this year for the Mets, there’s no telling what kind of havoc

Yamamoto could cause if released in a redesigned Yankee stadium <chuckling.>


It seems that every year lately, the Yankees stay away from Pacific Rim players for primarily financial reasons. Besides letting the Mets have Senga, who anchored their rotation this past season, they let the Red Sox have Masataka Yoshida last season and they let the Cubs have Seiya Suzuki the year before that. I would make it my mission to change that narrative.

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Andy Singer - To be clear, I believe that the Yankees are more than one free agent signing away from being a consistent threat to win a World Series (though I also believe that they are closer than many people believe). The Yankees obviously need bats above all else, preferably bats that balance the lineup in more ways than one. However, Gerrit Cole also isn't getting any younger, and while I think he will continue to be a very good arm into his late-30s like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, his peak is right now. I actually think the quickest route to competitive baseball for the Yankees is through the rotation, given the fact that it will be a multi-year effort to rebuild the offense, so Juan Soto wouldn't be my one move (though I certainly wouldn't be unhappy with it). Shohei Ohtani checks almost every box, but I really worry about his long-term viability as a pitcher with multiple UCL-related surgeries on his elbow.


If I have one roster addition I can make this off-season, I am outbidding the rest of the league for the soon-to-be posted Yoshinobu Yamamoto. In the coming weeks, I have a much more in-depth scouting report coming on Yamamoto, but unlike my thoughts about Kodai Senga (who pitched decently this year, but who has real concerns about control and command moving forward) last off-season, I think Yamamoto is the best pitcher to come out of Japan since Shohei Ohtani. I will even go out on a limb and say that he is one of the 15-best pitchers on the planet right now.


Yamamoto is a 25-year old starter with multiple plus pitches that he can command. Unlike many pitchers who are a one-trick pony with their fastballs, Yamamoto shows the ability to work his mid-high 90s fastball both up in the zone for strikeouts, and down in the zone for groundballs and tough strikes at the paint when down in the count. I also believe that his curveball and change-up will translate beautifully to MLB, as he throws them from very similar arm slots with plus movement profiles and ideal velocity ranges relative to his fastball velocity, even showing an ability to mix speeds with those pitches. Most critically, his arm works freely and easily with a very controlled, repeatable, and balanced delivery. In fact, his delivery almost borders on looking lackadaisical before the ball explodes out of his hand.


Pitcher is a Greek word for "breaks frequently and often irrevocably," but Yamamoto is as good a bet as any pitcher I've evaluated in recent years to be successful for years to come. I'd start there and be ready to rebuild player development at the MLB level to fix the offense.

17 commentaires


yankeesblog
10 oct. 2023

Yamomoto or Soto is the first choice for me and I think the Yankees need both.

J'aime

fuster
10 oct. 2023

the Yankees need a premier left-handed hitter and another first-rate pitcher.


if they could acquire only one player

J'aime
yankeesblog
11 oct. 2023
En réponse à

IKF was terrible in the OF.Cabrera can't hit his weight. Posada and Murcer (learn how to spell his name please) were young players and had played positions before unlike Ohtani who is in his late 20s and has not played any position professionally except P and DH. I don't give a rats rear end about Ohtani's "commercial value" which doesn't help with the CBT that Hal is obsessed over.I only care about his baseball value which is considerable but he didn't make the Angels a winner even with Trout as his wing man and I don't think he can, by himself, make the Yankees a winner even with Judge and Cole as wing men. As long as Stanton is …

J'aime

Andy Polizzi
Andy Polizzi
10 oct. 2023

Do I have a way-back machine too? Then I would get Joe DiMaggio. From 1929-1935 the Yankees won exactly one World Championship and only because Ruth had one final great season in '32. After Joe arrived (along with a few astute trades), boom, four straight World Championships. The point is, are the Yankees one superstar away? I think we know the answer. Not to mention the Yankees spent a ton of Depression dollars to bring Joe to New York. Steinbrenner won't do that. It's torture to think what the next five years will bring as the LeMahieus, Rizzos, Stantons stumble through the end of their contracts. If you remember the sadness of watching Mickey Mantle trying to play through…

J'aime

etbkarate
10 oct. 2023

Yamamoto a huge risk. None of us have seen him pitch. He could be the next Irabu or Igawa, etc. We dont know. Soto, he has already turned down 15 years and $440 mill. No thx. 2nd half of that massive contract will be a disaster, like stanton is now. Id spend on infrastructure and a new GM. Id find out what it would cost to lure Alex Anthopoulos to NY, then I'd resign as GM and let him build like he has already done in Atlanta.

J'aime
yankeesblog
11 oct. 2023
En réponse à

Well I don't see any concrete proposals from you about building that foundation other than some strained analogies about building a house. The Yankees can afford to release Stanton - he's a sunk cost and they're going to pay one way or another. Its too soon to give up on Rodon and surely one of the richest if not the richest franchise can afford to add to their payroll. Yes, I would like 20 -year old superstars that only get the minimum salary but they're very, very rare. What you're proposing is essentially giving up until the under-performing assets are no longer on the books and that's a long time away. The Yankees don't need to do that.

J'aime

yankeerudy
10 oct. 2023

I'd have to also go with Yamamoto. We need hitters more than pitchers, but he seems like someone we could build around.

J'aime
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