Why the Yankees Need to Be Aggressive Once Lockout Ends
By Derek McAdam
December 24, 2021
There is no doubt that the Yankees are in desperate need of several positions in the field in addition to starting pitchers. It has been made clear by Brian Cashman that these needed positions will be targeted this off-season, whether it’s by trade or free agency.
It is not just that the Yankees would like to end the 12-year World Series drought, but they will also be fighting for a spot in the playoffs in a tough AL East. Let’s look at the situation.
The Tampa Bay Rays are the defending AL East champs and are going to continue to be a threat in the division, even though they lost big names such as Joey Wendle and Nelson Cruz. They signed Corey Kluber in free agency and will look to win their third consecutive AL East title this upcoming season.
The Boston Red Sox are one of baseball’s biggest surprises of 2021, finishing the season with a 92-70 record and making it to the ALCS, where they lost in six games to the Houston Astros. While they did lose Eduardo Rodriguez and Hunter Renfroe, Alex Cora seems to be the defining factor. If Cora is there, the team will be tough to beat.
Toronto has been on a spending spree over the past three off-seasons. This year, they signed Kevin Gausman and extended Jose Berrios, both of whom received $100+ million contracts. It came down to Game 162 to decide whether it was the Yankees or Blue Jays that would make the postseason, and that may not be the case this season.
The AL East is most likely the best division in baseball in terms of overall talent. Very rarely do four teams in the same division post 90+ wins in the same season, but that did happen last season. But this is exactly why the Yankees need to come out swinging once the lockout ends.
New York may not have gotten much worse, but they surely have not improved. The team needs to find a way to upgrade at four or five different positions, which will most likely not happen. It is too much to do in too little time.
There are two or three positions that the team will most likely upgrade at include shortstop, first base and starting pitching. The most likely scenarios are signing a shortstop to a one-year deal, a first baseman to a multi-year deal and a starter to a one-year deal as well.
Once the lockout ends, many players may take one-year deals just to have a chance to work for the 2022 season instead of trying to negotiate a long-term contract. This is the perfect scenario for the Yankees, who seem skeptical of committing for longer than a couple of seasons.
This is not just a matter of making a run at the World Series, but the Yankees have to upgrade just to be able to have a shot at the post-season.