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  • Cary Greene

What the Yankees Offseason Plan Should Have Been 

What the Yankees Offseason Plan Should Have Been 

     …Late February Thoughts by Cary Greene 

February 23, 2024

*** 

Every offseason, I crunch the CBT numbers for all of the teams I follow (the Yankees, the Pirates and the A’s) and I also look at many other teams who are viewed as contenders. This gives me a glimpse into what each ball club’s offseason plans might look like. When I zero in on the Yankees, I form my own plan each offseason, based on the moves I think the Yankees should make. Going into the offseason, I felt that any players the Yankees added needed to have projectable durability. If Cashman could manage to add players who didn’t have significant injury histories or concerns, if each new player had a clean bill of health, then this might serve to right the Yankees ship and change the franchise’s fortunes.  

 

It seems like Cashman has added a nice group of durable players with clean bills of health. He added a legitimate 4th outfielder in Trent Grisham, who is an absolute ball hawk defensively. He also added a durable left fielder in Alex Verdugo and a durable right fielder to boost the middle of the lineup’s production in Juan Soto. Of course, Cashman gave up a ton of pitching depth to accomplish all this, most notably parting with Mike King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez, Drew Thorpe and Kyle Higashoika. Understanding that a GM has give in order to get, most Yankees fans were okay with these goings on.  

 

Looking to boost the Yankees rotation, Cashman also signed Marcus Stroman to help bolster the rotation and he made some under the radar moves as he usually does, signing some extra pitching depth in Cody Poteet and Luke Weaver.  

 

Cashman actually stayed quite active this offseason, making a series of lesser moves and though he didn’t make any major splashes, he did a fair amount of shuffling the Yankees deck of cards. He acquired Jorbit Vivas and lefty reliever Victor Gonzalez from the Dodgers, while giving up the Yankees 2021 First Round Draft Pick Trey Sweeney in the process. He also claimed Jordan Groshans off waivers from the Marlins while DFA-ing lefty reliever Matt Krook, to provide some depth.  

 

In all, the Yankees have invited 66 players to Spring Training this year. 11 of these players were signed to Minor-League contracts, three are non-roster invitees (fan favorite Greg Allen and lefties Anthony Misiewicz and Tanner Tully) and another ten are currently in the Yankees system (C Josh Breaux, infielders T.J. Rumfield, Caleb Durbin and Jeter Downs, catchers Ben Rice and Josh Breaux, outfielders Spencer Jones, Oscar Gonzalez and Brandon Lockridge and righties Chase Hampton and Will Warren. Two other righties, Joey Gerber and Art Warren, were signed to multi-year Minor League contracts and were invited to Spring Training.  

 

An excellent press release from the Yankees which goes in depth on all of the Yankees 2024 Spring Training Invitees can be found here, on the Yes Network site. 

 

Lopping off a ton of mostly dead wood this offseason, Cashman was quite the lumberjack this winter as he parted ways with a number of players the Yankees had counted heavily on over the past few seasons. Gone is former Yankees ace Luis Severino, who was often injured and struggling badly to perform. Also vamoosed are Josh Donaldson, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, Wandy Peralta, the aforementioned Kyle Higashioka, Domingo German, Billy McKinney, Franchy Cordero and Jake Bauers.  

 

Cashman’s roster was also pillaged, as the Yankees lost three valuable pitching prospects in the 2024 Rule 5 Draft, The Yankees were rocked by the A’s, who selected Mitch Spence with the first pick and were also submarined by the Royals, who nabbed Matt Sauer. The Rangers also swooped in to take Carson Coleman with the 23rd pick. 

 

We’re now at that juncture in the offseason where we, as Yankees fans, try to evaluate the moves Cashman made and we often wonder, “Did he do enough?” That’s a very open ended statement of course. Some fans are content making the playoffs, while others like me expect championships and want to see the Yankees become a dynasty again. In any event, one thing is certain to me as I’ve sat by the fire, trying to stay warm this winter.  

 

Most of the moves Cashman made were ones that I could have never predicted or imagined, not even in my wildest imagination. A lot more has happened this offseason than many casual Yankees fans might realize. Cashman has yet to punctuate his offseason moves by making one last major signing, but he certainly can’t be accused of being too inactive this winter! Even though there are several star players still available, most of them are holding out for contracts that seem to be, so far anyways, a bit too big for whatever (if any) budget Cashman has remaining.  

 

One also can’t accuse Hal Steinbrenner of not spending this offseason either. According to Sportac, the Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball for this season - $290,541,666 - with Hal Steinbrenner set to foot a $42.8 million dollar luxury tax bill on top of the $290.5 million and change he’ll be doling out to field a team he hopes will make the postseason this year.  

 

If we look at the major acquisitions only - Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, Trent Grisham and Marcus Stroman - the lion’s share of the money spent this season ($64.2 million) was allocated to these four players. That makes this group a very significant one and that’s why the media has well scrutinized that addition of each player. Cashman has coverage at each position on the diamond and he has some depth to provide backup in case of injuries. Cashman also has a starting rotation in place, one he believes will be successful.  

 

Personally, I don’t hate Cashman’s plan, in fact, I rather like it - so I’ll kick start our discussion today by asking these questions of our readers: Did Brian Cashman do enough? –and– Do you like the moves he made? 

 

I’ll lead off with my answers. I’ve already admitted I like the moves Cashman made. I think the Yankees could be very good this season and as many of you know, I’m all about pitching, so I think this team can go as far as their rotation will take them. If Nestor Cortes can come back strong and if Carlos Rodon can return to form, the Yankees are every bit a playoffs team. However, I don’t think Cashman did enough. I don’t think the Yankees, as currently constructed, are the kind of team that, against elite pitching, can eke out runs in the postseason.  

 

At least Cashman has built a well balanced lineup this offseason, with his focus on getting more left-handed. I think Cashman has overlooked the leadoff spot in the lineup and I believe if he would have gotten more creative, he might have either been able to provide a better answer than Trent Grisham in center field or, perhaps he would have been able to move Gleyber Torres as part of a larger deal. Cashman should have targeted an elite or plus-plus leadoff hitter, someone capable of starting for the Yankees. This would be easier said than done, I’m quite sure, but if Cashman would have put a focus on accomplishing this, he would have created a very dangerous lineup.  

 

Ideally, a healthy DJ LeMahieu should bat second in a lineup capable of making the World Series. His greatest skill is his batsmanship. A good base runner he isn’t, but if Cashman put a good base runner in front of LeMaheiu, with Soto and Judge to follow and with Rizzo and Torres protecting the big boppers, the Yankees would be a very different team and the lineup would be lengthened significantly. 

 

As things stand though, I do think that if Jasson Dominguez can return at some point in the second half of the season and if Anthony Volpe can take a step forward offensively, the Yankees are possibly going to become a dangerous team if they make the playoffs. A healthy Dominguez changes the entire complexion of the Yankees lineup, so if he’s able to return, Aaron Boone could bat him in the leadoff spot. I can’t even imagine how a switch-hitting speedster, with power, would transform the Yankees lineup but I do know one thing - it might be otherworldly!  

 

Over the first half of the season, it would be great for the Yankees if both Volpe and Austin Wells could also each improve on their rookie seasons. If this were to happen - watch out! The Yankees lineup would become amazing.  

 

One thing I don’t like at all about the team Cashman has built  is that Juan Soto, who will be a costar in this year’s Aaron Judge movie, is only a one-year rental player. He’s one of the best hitters in the game and I think Yankees fans are going to like him a lot. But his impending free agency is going to become a serious distraction for this team as the season goes along. I also think that if Hal Steinbrenner really wanted to go all in and try to win a World Series, that he should consider opening his checkbook for another quality starter like Blake Snell - assuming Jordan Montgomery isn’t an option.  

 

Nonetheless, with a focus on the season in front of the Yankees, I like the direction the team is headed in, I’m feeling jazzed up for spring training! I’m okay with the plucky Marcus Stroman in the rotation (he induces a lot of ground balls by the way) and I’m so glad that baseball is in the air again and we’re getting close to the start of the season! 

 

 

Thanks for reading everyone and don’t forget to share YOUR thoughts in the comments section below! 

 

35 comments

35 Comments


Luigi La Pietra
Luigi La Pietra
Feb 24

Bottom line is this team as currently constructed, is nowhere near a championship caliber team. Starting rotation is a mess after Cole. They will need to score runs in bunches but beyond Judge, Soto and Gleyber, the lineup is not very impressive. I think it’s going to be a long season. Then Soto goes to the Mets in 2025 (Hal will NEVER pay what he’ll ask). Hopefully it’ll get Cashman fired but I doubt it.

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Feb 24
Replying to

There are some really key "If's" with this team. Rodon, Stanton, Cortes, Rizzo and even LeMahieu all need to step it up. Not to mention, a number of Yankees younger sophomores like Volpe and Peraza need to show progress. It would a lot to go right for this roster to outperform expectations and win big in the postseason. However, age related decline and injuries are still portential pitfalls for the Yankees this season.

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Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Feb 23

Another thing about the Alex Verdugo pickup. He is CLUTCH! He has had MANY "walkoff" hits during his years in Boston, including multiple "walkoff homers". And Verdugo OWNS Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano. He has beaten Romano with walkoffs and homers SO many times! So if the Yankees are playing the Blue Jays in a tight game in the late innings and the Blue Jays bring on their top closer (Romano), and Verdugo is due up, prepare to get excited!

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jeff
Feb 25
Replying to

Having Soto as a teammate now, maybe he will learn from him. Soto said that he will not let the short porch at Yankee Stadium change his approach or his swing. And wait until Verdugo faces Toronto closer Jordan Romano at Yankee Stadium! Verdugo was a thorn in his side at Fenway, wait until he gets to do damage to him with the more hitter friendly (especially to a left handed hitter like him) stadium dimensions. And the key, more than anything else, is that he is clutch.

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cpogo0502
Feb 23

I am ambivalent. While Cashman has brought in some good help there are two landmines. (1) There is no guarantee Soto will be anything more than a one-year rental, and (2) I'm still shocked at how much young pitching Cashman has allowed to leave through the trades and the Rule 5 draft. I suppose the pressure to win now has caused them to lose sight of what can happen a few years down the road when the lack of young pitching depth becomes a nightmare. It will look even worse if some of these young pitchers become solid major leaguers. Winter may be coming.

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Feb 25
Replying to

Great insights cpogo and well stated. Your post exposes a massive topic/issue.

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Melfman1
Melfman1
Feb 23

As Chris pointed out, hindsight is 20/20 and I must admit that I like the majority of the Yankee moves this offseason. The price for Soto was steep, but one year in the Bronx could be enough for him to decide he wants to stay (especially if they go all the way). Despite previous animosity with the Yanks/Cashman, I was also a fan of the Stroman signing. He brings with him a tenacity that has been missing in recent years. Grisham is a great defensive OF, but his bat doesn’t exactly wow me. The small trades/waiver pickups for guys like Poteet, Ferguson, Gonzalez, Morris, Moore are low risk and potentially high reward. However, there are two moves that I…


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fuster
Feb 24
Replying to

as soon as Cashman made the trade for Grisham and Soto, signing Bellinger became rather remote

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Feb 23

My first comments, towards the end of the season, and just after the season, and continuing all throughout , and due to your column today, once again today, CASHMAN DID NOT DUE ENOUGH, plus a lot of his smaller moves were garbage. Cashman kept a 3B Coach in place who really is bad at determining when to send a runner. He left in place Dillon Lawson's allowed personal pick for AHC, plus, not one person off that medical team or even analytics lost their job due to the Anthony Rizzo mess. I don't understand the Sweeney deal at all, for several reasons. Personally, I can see Victor Gonzalez as David Carpenter 2.0. - Gone before the ASB. Too many vetera…


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Alan B.
Alan B.
Feb 24
Replying to

I watched him a lot. It's tough to find a real old fashion leadoff type. He is that. Pretty good defensively too. But look at how they talk about any of the other kids who have amazing AFL seasons. Tyler Hardman's year with his power bat did not surprise me after what he did in the AFL on 2022. I just think that this guy, Durbin, is being severely overlooked.

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