With the Yankees just about solidifying their rotation for 2019, what’s next for them this offseason?
With the rotation solidified it’s time to fill the team’s remaining holes.
The Yankees left the winter meetings with one more starting pitcher than they had coming into them.
J.A. Happ inked a two-year deal with a third year vesting option to remain in Pinstripes. Happ pitched exceptionally well for New York during the stretch run of the 2018 season after being acquired from the Blue Jays in July.
Happ went a perfect 7-0 with an ERA of 2.69 in 11 starts following the trade.
The addition of Happ likely sets the Yankees rotation as the team traded for the Mariners’ James Paxton and resigned CC Sabathia earlier in the offseason to add to a rotation that also brings back Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and will get Jordan Montgomery in the second half.
Now the question is, what’s next?
The two biggest holes remaining to be filled are in the bullpen and middle infield.
New York’s bullpen has been one of baseball’s best the last few seasons. However, the bullpen could be in for a lot of trouble if the Yankees don’t make some moves this offseason.
Both David Robertson and Zach Britton are free agents leaving the Yankees bullpen without two of their late-inning arms.
The Yankees likely will look to bring one of those back and let the other walk. However, they could still bring in two relievers as the team has been linked to Colorado’s Adam Ottavino who is a New York native.
Other names that may make sense for the Bronx Bombers also include Kelvin Herrera, Adam Warren, and Joakim Soria.
The middle infield in perhaps the most intriguing hole. Didi Gregorius will miss a good portion of the 2019 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery leaving a need in the infield.
The question of course is will New York spend big money and land Manny Machado or go with a less expensive such as Josh Harrison or Freddy Galvis option to hold down the fort until Gregorius returns.
A Machado signing may just make the Yankees favorites in the American Leauge.
With Boston losing key pieces to their bullpen and Joe Kelly heading to the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel likely leaving via free agency and Houston likely to lose Dallas Keuchel, having lost Charlie Morton to Tampa and having Lance McCullers out for the season with an injury neither team is as scary as they were in 2018.
The Indians also seem to be reshuffling making it a three-team race with the Rays and A’s the only other teams that look ready to fight outside of the Yankees Red Sox and Astros.
Machado would make the Yankees pennant chances a whole lot higher, however, even if the Yankees don’t bring him in they can strike gold with a player like Harrison who once was an all-star in his own right.
It will be fascinating to see what the Yankees do next.