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Will The Yankees Open Their Wallets To Compete? Three Quick Answers for 2021.

by Paul Semendinger

September 7, 2020

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The Yankees promised their fans that this would be the next golden age. It hasn’t been.

The 2020 season might be lost. They need some quick fixes to get themselves on track in 2021. The way to do this will be through free agency.

Below I target three areas of weakness and ways to quickly improve those areas by signing players who will make a difference. The following three players represent upgrades that will cost them noting but money, which, with their wealth, is the way to go. In order to improve the teams (and the franchise), the Yankees should save their prospects.and spend from their strength – their deep pockets.

Also of note, a ton of money is coming off the books this off-season as the contracts of Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton are all up at season’s end. I also don’t see the Yankees bringing back Brett Gardner at this point. The money is there for the Yankees to spend.

Catcher:

The Problem: Gary Sanchez had his chances. It didn’t work out. He’s not the first player with great talent to not fulfill his promise. He won’t be the last. The Yankees would be foolish to think that next year will be different for Sanchez who continues to go backward.

The Solution: J.T. Realmuto

Let’s compare the two players since the start of 2018:

Games: Realmuto 304 vs Sanchez 227

Batting Avg: Realmuto .274 vs Sanchez .201

On Base Pct:: Realmuto .334 vs Sanchez .297

Slugging Pct: Realmuto .491 vs Sanchez .457

This is a no-brainer.

The Yankees can keep Sanchez as the back-up. Maybe he can figure it out in that role by watching a high quality catcher day-in-and-day-out.

Shortstop

The problem: The Yankees don’t have a shortstop. Their shortstop, Gleyber Torres has proven that his defensive skills play better at second base. The Yankees need a shortstop who can field well and hit a bit.

The solution: Andrelton Simmons

Simmons is a premier defensive shortstop. He immediately upgrades the position. He lets Torres move to second base. Simmons also is a solid hitter who, every now and then has a better than average season with the bat. He never’s an easy out. Simmons is in his early-30’s, but the Yankees should be able to get a few solid years out of him. Maybe the best part about signing him it is that it would allow Torres to move to second base.

I do not think the Yankees will bring D.J. LeMahieu back so moving Torres to second seems to make more and more sense. If LeMahieu does come back, he could play the role of super-sub that he was originally signed to do.

An infield of Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Andrelton Simmons, Gio Urshela, and D.J. LeMahieu sure seems formidable. I like it!

Starting Pitching

The Problem: After Gerrit Cole, the 2021 Yankees will have only question marks. They need a #2 starter. (They need a #3 starter as well.) It is not wise to expect Luis Severino to pitch as he did to begin the 2018 season after he basically missed two years. The other starting pitching candidates in the Yankees’ system are also all question marks.

The Solution: Trevor Bauer

Controversial, opinionated, different… no doubt. But, the man pitches. And pitches well. He is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now. He is a student of pitching. He is the type of pitcher who should continue to get better and better with age and experience. He also supposedly only wants one year contracts so if this one doesn’t work out, the Yankees won’t be on the hook for long. But, you know what? I think he’ll thrive in New York. Bauer wouldn’t be the first (nor would he be the last) controversial player to play for New York team. He’s also the best available pitcher – by a long-shot. Put Bauer on the top of the rotation and the Yankees would have a solid #1 and #2 to headline their rotation Luis Severino can then slot in at #3 to take much of the pressure off of him in his comeback.

Conclusion:

If the Yankees open their wallets for these players, they just might find themselves right back in the thick of things.

None of these players should cost a fortune in years or dollars either. These would be smart immediate fixes for the Yankees.

It is time for the Yankees to all in as the way to try to secure a championship. Without addressing these weaknesses, the Yankees could be looking at a down period that comes all too suddenly. Since the Yankees do not have the prospects to trade for big time players (Francisco Lindor), free agency will be the way to go.

These three moves do not solve the biggest problem – the fact that their big stars can’t stay on the field, but these three deals would be a start. A big start in the right direction.



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