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What the Yankees Should Do Before Opening Day:

What the Yankees Should Do Before Opening Day:

By Patrick Gunn

March 24, 2022

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The Yankees have had an odd offseason, to say the least. New York still has enough time to make moves and add to this team before opening day. Here are a few things the Yankees can do to help the team and put them in a better position to win the World Series.

MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS VACCINATED (EVEN WITH THE POTENTIALLY CHANGING MANDATE):

This may change because of today’s news. Mayor Eric Adams potentially lifting the vaccine mandate for athletes would make the Yankees business here less complicated. With that said, COVID will never go away and there could be another spike. Not to mention they also cannot play in Toronto, which is significant for the Yankees because they’re a division rival. So, the Yankees would lose unvaccinated players for nine crucial rivalry games.

Aaron Judge evaded directly answering the question when asked last week. Anthony Rizzo said he was not vaccinated last year. They are two significant cogs in the Yankees’ lineup and they may not be the only unvaccinated players. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has said repeatedly he will not curb the vaccine mandate for athletes.

There are odd intricacies of the vaccine mandate, but there is a simple solution: ensure every player on your team is vaccinated. Notice how the Knicks have rarely been pressed on this issue and the Nets must talk about it seemingly every day. The players have a choice to make, but their decision sends the wrong message to fans during a global pandemic, puts their teammates at risk, and will hurt their team against a rival. The Yankees cannot leave this up to changing mandates, make sure the players are vaccinated against COVID.

HAVE A PLAN FOR JUDGE:

The vaccine question is important, but another major issue with Judge has sprouted this spring: arbitration. The right fielder and the Yankees are reportedly off by four million in their contract discussions. They can still discuss contracts or go to arbitration after opening day. Not to mention the fact that Judge is a free agent after this season and has said to want to be a Yankee “for life.”

New York has not gone to arbitration with a player since 2017 with Dellin Betances. Let’s just say that the Yankees should not make the same mistakes they made during that case again. His COVID vaccination status should be taken into consideration, but Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, and company need to decide their slugger’s future with the team soon just to have some clarity.

FINISH A DEAL WITH OAKLAND:

The Oakland Athletics are having a sale, every major player must go. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are already gone, and two top starters may be next. Sean Manea and Frankie Montas are both linked to New York.

Both pitchers have issues, but Manea and/or Montas would add needed depth to the Yankees’ already stout rotation. Manea is slightly older (30) and has had injury issues, but the southpaw is coming off the first 30 start season of his career. Montas offers an extra year of control and more upside.

The A’s also have a great catcher in Sean Murphy. He’s not a free agent until 2026, so Murphy may command more of an offer. With that said, the Yankees have a hole at the position with Gary Sánchez traded, so maybe the Yankees break the bank and ask for Murphy, too? That may be a reach considering the Yankees’ recent strategy, but he would fit. Regardless, the Yankees need to stay on Oakland before they may change their minds.

PUT TORRES IN THE BEST POSITION TO SUCCEED:

Torres has had a rough couple of years at shortstop. His defense has plummeted and his power has become nonexistent at points. Now, the Yankees still have him around after saying goodbye to significant core players in Gio Urshela, Gary Sánchez, and Luke Voit. Barring an amazing circumstance, Torres will stay in New York and play second base.

To his credit, Torres hit .289/.338/.456 in the second half after an atrocious start. Part of that came in September when Boone switched him off shortstop. Maybe moving back to second will help Torres find his 2019 form, but the Bombers still need to find the best place to succeed.

ENSURE THE LOCKER ROOM IS IN ORDER (PARTICULARLY, DONALDSON AND COLE):

It appears Gerrit Cole and Josh Donaldson have ironed some things out already. Those two staying on decent terms is important, but the Yankees clubhouse presence has lacked the energy needed to win games over the last two seasons. Injuries have not helped the team in any regard, but still this team needs to prove they can stay competitive and survive tough stretches.

#AaronJudge

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