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The Viking Voice

The Viking Voice

Yankees Offseason Update
Yankees Offseason Update
February 8, 2024
February Pet of the Month
February Pet of the Month
February 8, 2024
In A Flash
In A Flash
February 8, 2024

Yankees Offseason Plan

Yankees+Offseason+Plan

For those of you that follow baseball, and especially the Yankees, you know what happened last season. 

82-80.

Unacceptable.

After season after season of mediocrity beginning in 2020 following the heart-wrenching walk-off loss to the Houston Astros, the Yankees’ season ended in:

The Division Series.

The Wild Card game.

The ALCS, in which they were swept by those very same Astros.

And now, they finished short of the postseason.

Something has to change.

I believe that the following changes MUST be enacted to resume the status of serious contention for the Commissioner’s Trophy. 

 

  • Acquire LF Juan Soto

Juan Soto is a superstar.  

He is exactly what the Yankees need to reignite their fanbase.

The Yankees need to get younger, more left-handed, and more contact-oriented while still producing big hits in big moments. Soto fits that bill, while also playing left field, a position of dire need. Imagine this outfield: Soto in left, Dominguez (eventually, when he returns from Tommy John surgery) in center, and Judge in right. Soto’s ability to draw walks is unmatched, and his offensive prowess is top-notch. He has plate discipline AND is a power hitter.

That is “championship-caliber”.

But, he comes at a price. Not only is his arbitration salary expected to be around $33 million, but he would cost some promising prospects. Perhaps the Yankees’ no. 1, Spencer Jones, another left-handed outfielder, or maybe Chase Hampton, the Yankees’ highest-ranked pitching prospect. Or maybe Drew Thorpe, who just won MiLB Pitcher of the Year. The Padres also need major-league-ready pitching, apparently, and perhaps would covet Michael King, who shined as a starter in September after 2 years of stellar relief. This would be a hefty cost, especially since Soto is a free agent after the 2024 season, so the thought that they could extend or definitely re-sign him would be required. Still, once again, he is exactly what they need to get back on top for the first time in 14 years. 

 

  • Sign RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto

A Japanese stud, Yamamoto would be the perfect Number 2 to Gerrit Cole, and, if Carlos Rodon can get back to his original form, the threesome would be world-class. He has won THREE-STRAIGHT Triple Crowns (Wins, ERA, strikeouts) in the NPB, the Japanese baseball league, and has a career sub-2.00 ERA. With Yankees GM Brian Cashman in attendance, he pitched a no-hitter, which bodes well for their pursuit of him. He finished up the season with a complete game in the Japan Series (NPB’s version of the World Series), delivering over 130 pitches, a feat unheard of in today’s game. He is durable and electric and is said to be one of the best pitching talents ever to come out of Japan. He will also come at a price, however. And this one is in dollars. His projected record-breaking contract is said to probably be over $200 million, and, with so many suitors, including the Mets, his price could be driven up. Yamamoto is only 25, another influx of youth potentially, and has many years left in his prime. The biggest concern is his height, as he is listed at 5’-10”, but Marcus Stroman, a very good pitcher, is at least 2 inches shorter than Yamamoto. He will cost them, but, if they want to be able to win multiple big games, they at LEAST need to have a starter besides Cole to have an ERA+ of over 101 (1% better than the average player’s ERA). 

 

  • Acquire UTL Brendan Donovan 

Now, you may not be familiar with this name, but he is an under-the-radar upgrade for the Yankees. A left-handed Cardinals utility player, he is 26 years old, and, though his season was cut short for elbow surgery (he’ll be ready for Spring Training, though), he has shown the ability to consistently hit in the .280 range, something that no one on the 2023 Yankees could say. And did I mention he was one of the first Utility Gold Glove Award winners? I am also not very familiar with Donovan, but I would assume that he would require a good group of prospects to land him. His four years of team control left, taking him through his best years without having to give him a large contract. So, this would take some prospects. But, seeing as he would fill up the infield once again, I would trade Gleyber Torres to get some of the players needed to make this deal. Torres would not be a liability if kept but is another streaky right-hander with “questionable” defense and hustle at times.

 

  • Sign OF/1B Cody Bellinger 

Now, if the Yankees were to make this deal AND the Yamamoto deal, they would certainly be all-in for next season, as it would decimate their farm system, and put them over the last luxury tax threshold, which has penalties, especially in draft picks. But, they would definitely be in contention IMMEDIATELY. 

But, as we are speculating, let’s say Hal Steinbrenner turned into his father and got almost every high-profile player available. 

So, Cody Bellinger. After two disastrous seasons, he was non-tendered by the Dodgers and signed a one-year deal with the Cubs to get back on track and remake his value. A 28-year-old left-hander and former MVP, his down years were attributed to a mishandled shoulder injury. He made a complete resurgence, batting over .300 and winning a Silver Slugger while also being a former winner of the Gold Glove Award. It doesn’t hurt that his father, Clay, played for the Yankees, and he grew up in the stadium playrooms. It could be a risk, however, in case this success is not repeatable, as his underlying hard-hit numbers don’t jump off the page. I would tend to think he is back, however, and that they should try to get him IN ADDITION to the other moves. Bellinger would play center field until Dominguez comes back, and then transition to first base, where he has played in the past. Anthony Rizzo, unfortunately, may have to be included in a package to leave New York. This keeps DJ LeMahieu able to play third and get back in rhythm, as, though he is aging, still has high-average potential. 

 

  • Sign LHP Josh Hader

This is a stretch, especially with the other signings, but Hader, a lights-out closer, would seal the deal for contention for me and I think the team. Hader had a sub-2.00 ERA (!!) and a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.10. Elite. He is seeking a record-breaking deal, so that would add much more to the payroll once again, but a championship team should have a closer where one can say, “The game’s over” when they’re the leading after 8 innings. Hader can make that happen. Another option is to trade for the electric Devin Williams from the Brewers, but after the Soto and Donovan trades, the Yankees would not have enough, most likely, to complete a deal for a player on the level of Williams. Thus, Hader, who is 29, would be the option, as he is on that level, and only costs money. He may not want to come, though, as his trademark is his long hair, which he would have to cut if he were to come to the Yanks.

 

  • Team Free Agents: Stay or Go?

On another note, here are the Yankees’ notable free agents this winter and whether I think the team should try to retain them, or let them sign elsewhere:

RHP Luis Severino: Go. On and off of IL. 6.65 ERA. 

RHP Frankie Montas: A hard decision, as he was once solid, and came back at the end of the season from his surgery, but I think I would say go. No one knows how he would really perform over a full season, especially with the injury history, and would somewhat clog up the starting rotation, making it difficult for others to be added and the better ones to stay. 

UTL Isiah Kiner-Falefa: Go. Valuable as a utility player, but shaky on offense, and others can provide that value.

LHP Wandy Peralta: Stay. Under-the-radar very good lefty reliever. (.190 batting average against!) He is valuable out of the ‘pen, especially against left-handed hitters. 

 

What This Team Would Look Like:

Here is what this Yankee team would look like if all of my changes came to be:

The Starting Rotation:

  1. RHP Gerrit Cole
  2. RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto
  3. LHP Carlos Rodon
  4. RHP Michael King (or perhaps RHP Clarke Schmidt or current prospects if King is traded)
  5. LHP Nestor Cortes

Set-up: RHP Clay Holmes

High leverage: RHP Jonathan Loaisiga

High leverage: LHP Wandy Peralta

Closer: LHP Josh Hader

 

The Starting Lineup (Midseason):

  1. LF Juan Soto (L)
  2. RF Aaron Judge (R)
  3. CF Jasson Dominguez (S)
  4. 1B Cody Bellinger (L)
  5. 2B Brendan Donovan (L)
  6. SS Anthony Volpe (R)
  7. 3B DJ LeMahieu (R)
  8. C Austin Wells (L)
  9. DH Giancarlo Stanton (R)

 

See you in October.

 

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  • M

    Marcus FortugnoNov 17, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    What Do you think they should do about the Catcher situation

    Reply
  • M

    Marcus FortugnoNov 17, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Nice Article

    Reply