What Now? The Aftermath of the Gerrit Cole Signing
After pulling off their major priority this off-season in signing Gerrit Cole, the Yankees find themselves at another crossroads.. what is next?
By securing Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract (with an opt-out after the fifth season), the Yankees have established one of the best starting rotations in baseball with the likes of Cole, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and either Jordan Montgomery, J.A. Happ, or Domingo German filling in the fifth spot. Even with that, Brian Cashman may not be done.
There are still several spots that the Yankees may look to fill in or improve. Center field is still up for grabs with Brett Gardner still a free agent and Aaron Hicks most likely out for most of the season recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Does Cashman believe that Mike Tauchman can handle the everyday job, or does he look somewhere else to fill in the role? I could see Tauchman starting the season in center if Gardner is not signed, but Yankees fans could very well see someone such as Estevan Florial.
Infield depth will be another issue surrounding Cashman, especially the middle infield. Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu are set to be the everyday shortstop and second baseman, respectively. Does Cashman stick with Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada as the backups? This is very likely to be the case.
The backup catcher is yet another position that has yet to be confirmed. Chances are high that Kyle Higashioka will take on the role of being the full-time backup catcher to Gary Sanchez. Could we still see the Yankees try to re-sign Austin Romine? To me, it does not seem likely.
The final question is what will happen to players such as Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar? Could they be included in a trade package for a top reliever or even for someone like Francisco Lindor? It is tough to say.
If the Yankees decide that Giancarlo Stanton will mostly be a DH, then Frazier will probably take on the everyday left field spot if Tauchman is in center. That being said, I believe Frazier will stay if the Yankees do not re-sign Gardner.
Andujar, on the other hand, is a much more interesting story. The Yankees have plenty of infield depth and LeMahieu can be a backup third baseman if needed, as well as Wade. First base will more than likely be secured with Luke Voit, Mike Ford and LeMahieu, if needed. Andujar will definitely have suitors, as he is still young with several years of team control and has shown great skills at the plate. I believe that Andujar will be shipped out of the Bronx before Spring Training begins, either for an everyday starter in centerfield, or another piece to add to the bullpen.
Many Yankees fans will agree that they have already succeeded this off-season with the signing of Cole. Brian Cashman may not even be close to finalizing his 2020 squad, and there are still a couple months left before Spring Training even begins. Cashman might still have some more moves coming. We will just have to wait and see.