With the MLB Winter Meetings just a few days away, Yankees fans should be getting ready for a flurry of action from the Bronx Bombers.
The 2018 MLB Winter Meetings are just a few days away and the Yankees still have quite a bit of work to do. While the Yankees top targets aren’t necessarily crystal clear, Yankees GM Brian Cashman hasn’t exactly hidden the main objectives of this offseason as a whole.
“We’re excited about adding to our rotation, it’s going to be a focal point for us. There’s going to be a lot of competition regardless of the available players out there, but we need to continue to reinforce the rotation’’ Cashman told Mike Francesa on WFAN radio.
Along with the clear priority of shoring up the starting rotation with at least two new arms. Cashman has noted multiple times that the Yankees also plan to either replace or re-sign Zach Britton & David Robertson in the bullpen, plug the middle infield at either shortstop or second base with Didi Gregorius out until at least June with Tommy John, and perhaps most certain; trade Sonny Gray.
As for their quest for starting pitching, the Yankees were able to reel in high-end lefty James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners early on. With that, they still hope to acquire one more high-end starter. Patrick Corbin was viewed as an essential lock to become a Yankee dating back as far as last offseason. Corbin’s fandom of the Yankees and desire to be closer to home is well documented.
Unfortunately, Corbin is no longer an option as he turned down an opportunity to pitch for his childhood team to sign a hefty six-year, $140 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals.
So with Corbin off the board, the Yankees have a list of several options they could turn to. That list includes trade options Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, & Robbie Ray, amongst others — and free agent options J.A Happ, Dallas Keuchal, Charlie Morton, and Japanese import Yusei Kikuchi. The aspiration is to have this resolved prior to the meetings, but perhaps one will be acquired while in Vegas.
In the case of the bullpen, the feel of the baseball insiders is that the Yankees will lose both Zach Britton and David Robertson. They have been extensively linked to New York native Adam Ottavino as one option. Britton has expressed interest in reuniting with the Bombers, but his price tag might be a bit too heavy for the team. With the rotation hopefully being filled out, the bullpen will likely be a focal point of the meetings.
The Winter Meetings are taking place in Las Vegas. Bryce Harper is from Las Vegas. Will Harper’s flair for the dramatic induce him to steal the show next week and sign at the meetings? What about the Machado-derby? Will we see the most controversial free agent of this year find a new home Next week? All to be determined.
The Yankees interest in both players is unclear as of now, but the Yankees are historically known to make a splash from out of nowhere. Manny Machado would be an upgrade both defensively and offensively for the club, filling the hole at shortstop left by Didi, or moving to third base, slotting Andujar over to a new position or DH.
Harper’s fit, contrary to the odd views of baseball insiders, would be more obvious as he would cement the Yankee outfield, playing left field and batting between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, becoming the power lefty bat they Yankees lack. The Yankees may or may not be involved in this big name guys, but watch out for some developments on both during the winter meetings.
Signing Manny Machado would resolve the middle infield issue, but should the Yankees shy away from the 26-year-old, there are various options could explore next week and throughout the offseason. They could acquire the likes of a Jason Kipnis or Jurickson Profar via trade, or they could plug in a free agent such as Marwin Gonzalez or Daniel Murphy, among others.
The Yankees could also look to get creative and solve two problems at once. Sonny Grade’s trade value is likely higher than most expect and with rumors of the Reds being among the bidders for his services, perhaps a package centered around Gray for Scooter Gennett or Jose Peraza would make sense.
All things considered, while the Yankees missed out on Patrick Corbin, and seem to be showing the same restraint as past seasons that saw them miss out on some big names due to budget control to get under the dreaded luxury tax mixed with a bit of prospect hugging, it is still early. The Yankees have already added a top of the line starter in James Paxton.
Yes, the Boston Red Sox won the world series and don’t appear to be going anywhere, but the Yankees still have an entire offseason to close a gap that isn’t necessarily that big. Brian Cashman will find another good starting pitcher to fill out the rotation. He will find a plug in the middle infield and retain as much value as possible for Sonny Gray.
Where they stand on Harper and Machado will be seen, but let’s not write the Yankees offseason off as a failure yet just because of Corbin. There’s a lot of winter left, and it begins with the Winter Meetings.